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Why am I in a high-risk flood zone when my home has never flooded before?

So, you’ve purchased your dream home, and your home insurance agent tells you that you may want to consider purchasing flood insurance, but there’s a problem — the area you’re moving into has never experienced a flood before. So, what’s the deal?

In this post, we look at how flood insurance zones are mapped, why you may be in a high-risk zone even if there’s never been a flood, and how you can protect your valuable investment should the unthinkable happen.

How Are Flood Zones Determined?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides maps and data regarding which areas of the country are considered flood hazards, and they post these maps online. There are 15 categories used to classify floodplain areas and gauge their flood potential. According to FEMA, the flood maps show how likely it is for a location to flood, and:

Any place with a 1% chance or higher chance of experiencing a flood each year is considered to have a high risk. Those areas have at least a one-in-four chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.

Flood Zone Classifications

FEMA breaks down its flood zones into multiple classifications to correspond to flood potential.

V-Zones - According to FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program, any building located in an A or V zone is considered a special hazard area. This means the area is below the base flood elevation. V zones are the most hazardous of all the areas and include beachfront properties, making flood insurance mandatory.

A-Zones are the next highest risk because they’re typically properties near lakes, rivers, or streams. Like V zones, you must purchase flood insurance if your property lies in an A zone.

C to X Zone—These zones are considered low risk for flooding and are areas typically located outside the 500-year floodplain and have a 1 to 2 percent chance of flooding.

D Zones—Finally, D zones are the areas that haven’t yet been studied, but are still considered areas where a flood is possible.

To determine the flood risk for each zone, FEMA looks at the history of flooding in a particular area and rates it on the probability that a flood will occur.

According to FEMA,

Special Flood Hazard Areas are defined as the area that will be inundated by the flood event having a 1-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. The 1-percent annual chance flood is also referred to as the base flood or 100-year flood.

As you can see, the risk of flooding is based primarily on probability. All flood zones are probabilities, which is why you may live in a home in an area that’s never flooded before, but still be designated in an A or V zone. Even a 1-percent chance of flooding is considered high, and your bank will likely require you to have flood insurance if you live in a high probability area.

Flood Insurance & The National Flood Insurance Program

The National Flood Insurance Program provides affordable insurance to property owners and is designed to provide an alternative for homeowners and communities residing in high risk flood zones. Besides providing funds for disaster remediation, the National Flood Insurance Program enforces floodplain management to reduce flood risk or minimize flooding’s effects.

One misconception many homeowners have is that their home insurance policy covers flood damages, but most only cover incidental flooding caused by plumbing or appliance failures. Furthermore, many people forego purchasing additional flood insurance thinking they can rely on federal disaster relief funds to bail them out; however, federal flood disaster assistance relies on a Presidential declaration of a major disaster before assistance is provided, and most forms of federal disaster relief come from loans that must be paid back with interest.

Superior Basement Flood Protection With EnduraFlood™

Whether you live in a low or high-risk flood zone, it’s prudent to take every precaution you can to protect your home from water damage. Floods don’t always occur because of extreme weather; sometimes it’s a failed water heater, burst pipe, or sewer main backup that fills your basement with water. Regardless of the cause, cleaning up after a flood is expensive and time-consuming.

The EnduraFlood Flood-Proof Wall Paneling System is a breakthrough in basement flood protection. EnduraFlood panels are designed to replace the portions of drywall that are prone to water damage, so there’s less mess and expense of removal and replacement after a flood. EnduraFlood panels are waterproof and withstand submersion for as long as it takes for you to pump out the water.

Moreover, patent-pending EnduraFlood wall panels are reusable, making them a cost-effective way to protect your basement long term. If the area behind the panels gets wet, you can remove them to allow drying, and replace them thanks to the easy-to-use snap-in fittings.

EnduraFlood panels are made from concrete and withstand scuffs, bumps, and bangs, making them ideal if you have kids.

And while EnduraFlood flood-proof panels are utilitarian, they’re stylish. Our panels are modeled after traditional wainscoting wall treatments, and will give your basement a unique, modern appearance while offering superior flood protection for years.

See for yourself why the EnduraFlood Flood-Proof Basement Wall System for basements, garages, and other rooms is the most practical, cost-effective, and best-looking wainscoting alternative by contacting us at (551) 497-5938.


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