In Florida, flooding can be a big problem. The fact that swamps make up a huge portion of the land certainly contributes to this, as do the many lakes, streams, and other bodies of water. On top of that, much of Florida is sandy, meaning flooding can do a lot more damage than it might in another area. Of course, hurricanes don’t help matters.
All this means that Floridian homeowners should carefully consider their decisions when it comes to flood insurance. In the case of high-risk areas (and sometimes even in low-mid risk areas), this insurance will be necessary for a person to take out a mortgage. However, other times, the decision to take advantage of flood insurance is completely up to the homeowner. This means that there are areas that see up to 25% of the state’s flooding, but have no regulations requiring flood insurance.
Clearly, you don’t want to be one of the many Florida residents who is completely unaware — and therefore unprepared for — the flooding that happens in their area. Therefore, it’s a good idea to do a bit of research of your own, whether or not you’re required to have insurance.
Luckily, every county has a set of flood maps giving data on which areas are most prone to flooding. These are actually made to be used by insurance brokers and housing lenders to determine the risk of flooding, insurance requirements, and insurance rates. However, they can also be useful to an individual property owner.
By looking at one of these maps, you can get a feel for whether or not your property is at risk for flooding. Since the average flood insurance policy in Florida is a mere $545 per year, it’s a good idea to invest in insurance, even if the risk of flooding on your property is fairly low.
Of course, since these maps are updated on occasion, it is also a good idea to stay in the know so you’re aware if your situation has changed. In most cases, you will be made aware of any updates through changing insurance premiums or a piece of mail. That said, it’s still a good idea to pay attention to any word that change may be coming.
Currently, Alachua County is considering some proposed updates to the flood map that could potentially affect a number of residents. These changes would officially declare some current “low risk” areas as “high risk”. Not only could this alter the way a homeowner views things and makes preparations, it could also mean changes to insurance requirements and premiums.
While this is information you’ll want to be aware of, it isn’t bad news. In fact, considering the fact that this map hasn’t been updated for over a decade, these changes are long past due and will help keep the citizens of Alachua County that much safer.
What You Should Do
Wondering what to do next? Well, sitting tight and waiting is a perfectly valid option. If changes are made, they won’t take effect until Summer 2019, meaning your insurance requirements and payments should remain the same.
It should be mentioned, however, that those who wish to make an appeal or comment on the matter can do so. We are currently in a 90 appeals period that ends October 10. 2018. For information on how to appeal and make comments on the maps, contact Alachua County Public Works at 352-374-5245 Ext. 1303.