Do we need to worry about flood zones and flood insurance in FL?

5 Replies

Do we need to worry about flood zones and flood insurance when buying rental properties in FL? Any good maps with the flood zones?

Are there certain cities that never have any hurricanes or floods in Florida? Which cities have the highest and lowest risk of hurricanes/flooding? 

Thank you.

@Bryan T. it literally comes down to if an area is in a flood zone or not.  And it doesn't need to be close to the ocean to be in a flood zone.  I have a property more inline than some others and it ended up being the one in a floodzone.

I believe the floodzone maps are on the FEMA website, they are the ones that designate it. There is also different grades of flood zone that impact ins cost.

It's interesting how many out of staters are still buying up FL.  I've started buying outside of FL as cash flowing opportunities are getting tougher and tougher to find here, then again my area is the hottest.  

Better opps upstate and to the west,

I’m in Gainesville which is north-central Florida - smack dab in the middle of the state (1.5 hours to either coast) and about 6 hours north of Miami, to give you a reference. Here we get some high winds (which often knocks out power), some heavy rain, and possibly flooding in low lying areas that takes maybe a few days or a week to go away.

There is an interactive flood map available on the flood insurance site, but I’ve seen others where you can overlay the flood zones with the regular map. I cannot now remember if those are just something I can access as a licensed agent, though. Bottom line is if you’re in a flood zone, anywhere in the US, you will likely need flood insurance. Flooding can happen anywhere, not just in places that get hurricanes. I know they had some rivers flooding in Illinois recently, for example.

A friend in the city of St. Augustine (not the beach part) told me before that anything east of I-95 has different building codes. That was about 12 years ago and I’m not sure what has changed since, but I imagine codes have only gotten more stringent.

Yes, we do get destruction when hurricanes come through, depending on where the hurricane hits and how long it stays and how strong the winds are. Most of the issue is spinoff tornadoes and a hurricane that stalls and drops a lot of water. But I wouldn’t let that keep me from investing. Proper insurance helps, and all Florida policies have a hurricane deductible which is a percentage of the replacement value of the home, if I recall.

All this coming from someone who lost it all as a kid in Hurricane Andrew (1992, Homestead).

FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) have all the information you need to make an informed decision. They have lists of insurance agents meeting their qualifications. Pick an insurance agent where you are thinking of investing. The worse the risk of flooding the higher the cost of insurance.

If you are in a flood zone and have a mortgage, the lender will MAKE YOU buy flood insurance.

100% you would need to. I live in Gainesville which is called “The Swamp”  for a reason the land here is so low and has so many different types of flood zones throughout the city. A lot of people think their home isn’t in a flood zone but EVERY home is in a flood zone. It just may not be in a high risk zone. Even then with a heavy rain or storm your home can still flood. 

I had a customer that was renting a 2 story home here in town and during a hurricane the flood waters kept rising and flooded the entire first floor. They were not in a flood zone but the storm water had no where to go. 

I would definitely get flood insurance if your in a high risk zone but look to see how close you are to a high risk flood zone. It may just save you thousands. 

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