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MY BANK SAYS I DON’T NEED FLOOD INSURANCE!

From time to time, our Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will map out new flood zone areas. A quick review of the flood zones: if you are in flood zones AE, AH or AO, your bank or lender will require you to purchase flood insurance. If you are in flood zone B, C or X, you are not required by your bank or lender to buy flood insurance, but you should consider purchasing it, as the reality of Florida is that it can and will flood almost everywhere when there is a severe rain storm.

Recently, FEMA re-drew the maps in Palm Beach County and Broward County. Some homes that were in the AE, AH or AO zones were moved into zones B, C or X. These homeowners then received a letter from their banks or lenders stating that, because they are no longer in flood zones AE, AH or AO, they no longer are required to carry flood insurance.

Many homeowners took this as a Hip, Hip, Hooray moment! But the reality is that pretty much anywhere you live in Florida you have a chance of being flooded out. When we first moved to Florida in 1992, I remember living in West Palm Beach and experiencing a rain storm that dropped 11 inches of rain in like 2 hours! My parents’ pool was overflowing, and water was coming in under the sliding glass doors, which was raised a good 3 inches above the patio surface. Because of that storm, we buy flood insurance even though we are not in the AE, AH or AO zones.

The other thought to consider is that the bank’s or lender’s letter doesn’t say you don’t need flood insurance. The letter says you are not required, by their rules, to buy flood insurance. Think about it. Your house didn’t move from its current location nor did the elevation increase. The only change is that FEMA re-drew their flood zone maps. So if you were buying flood insurance before, why aren’t you still purchasing flood coverage now? Remember that flood is not covered by your typical homeowners insurance policy. For a few hundred dollars, is it really worth giving up that Peace of Mind that you are protected against flood loss, especially during hurricane season?

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