Do I Need Flood Insurance?


I wrote an offer this past week for a home located in a flood zone and it got me thinking how important flood insurance is when purchasing a home.  Although it can save you thousands in the long run, flood insurance adds an additional cost.  It’s important to recognize that homeowner’s insurance does NOT include a flood policy.  A flood insurance policy covers damage from natural flooding whereas a homeowner’s policy covers items such as an overflowing washer.

So what is a flood?  There are different types and causes.  Coastal flooding is caused by large storms driving the water onton land through tidal waves.  River flooding occurs when rivers overfill their banks and cover the floodplain.  Flash flooding is very strong movements of water caused by excessive rainfall or dam failure, sometimes triggering catastrophic mudslides.

Flood zones come in distinct categories.  High-risk areas or Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) mean there is at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.  On flood maps these areas are designated by letters A or V.  These areas are federally required to have flood insurance coverage.  Moderate-to-low risk areas or Non-Special Flood Hazard Areas (NSFA) are labeled on flood maps with the letters B, C, or X.  Flood insurance in these areas is not federally required but recommended.

According to FEMA, a home in a flood-prone area has a 26 percent chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9 percent chance of fire.  Flood insurance premiums are calculated by a number of factors including but not limited to:

  • Age of home
  • Building occupancy
  • Number of floors
  • Location of the lowest floor
  • The deductible you choose and the coverage

Coverage can be purchased at any time, but many lenders will require insurance to be bought before purchasing the home.  There is a standard 30-day waiting period from the time a policy is purchased until coverage applies, so be sure to factor that in your plans as well!

To find out if your home or potential home requires flood insurance, log on to to view the current flood maps.  Or, to find out more about flooding and insurance policies, check out

Hampton Roads Realestatement is written by Alyssa Godwin, a Realtor with Liz Moore and Associates.  For questions regarding buying or selling contact Alyssa at 757-329-6161 or  You can also find Alyssa on Facebook or on the web at