FEMA and Flood Zones
Properties across Florida may be at risk of occasional flooding, but some sites are more at risk than others. That is as true in Gainesville as it is in other communities.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, commonly known as FEMA, many of the commercial, industrial and even residential properties around Gainesville are located in “flood zones.” If a home is in a flood zone, it means that the property is vulnerable to water damage during a storm event.
It is critical for home buyers to realize that floods can happen nearly anywhere and in any season. Moreover, torrential rains aren’t the only cause of flooding. Poor water diversion in a nearby new construction project or a clogged storm drain can be just as disastrous.
In 2017, FEMA created revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps that indicated that certain parcels of land in Gainesville are located within Special Flood Hazard Areas, which the agency also calls SFHA. Buying a home that is within the bounds of an SFHA may come with certain risks of which it is wise for purchasers to be aware.
Does this mean that you shouldn’t buy a home in Gainesville? That is not the case. Gainesville is a lovely place to live, and most of the region is at low- to moderate-risk of flooding. Nonetheless, it makes sense to be informed with regard to whether or not a home that you are considering is within a flood zone and how much flood insurance will cost.
Defining Flood Zones
Certain portions of Florida, including those in and around Gainesville, have been reviewed by FEMA and found to be potentially at risk for flooding. This does not mean that homeowners must be concerned about flooding on an annual basis. In many cases, flooding will not occur for many years, and some homeowners may never experience a flood even though they live in a home that’s located in a flood zone.
FEMA considers properties to be at high-risk of flooding if there is a one percent or greater chance that the property will flood in any given year. Properties are considered to be at low- to moderate-risk of flooding if the yearly outlook for a flood event is assessed at 0.2 percent or less.
How Do You Know If a Property Is on a Flood Plain?
If you are purchasing a home in Florida, Realtors are required by law to inform you whether or not the property is located in a flood plain. Potential buyers who are browsing online for real estate also may visit the FEMA website’s Flood Map Service Center. Enter any GPS coordinates or address in the provided search bar to discover whether or not the property that you are considering is in a flood plain. Remember that homes that are located on flood plains still can be excellent options.
Gainesville and Alachua County Flood Zone Map Links
Tips for Considering Flood Zone Properties
Properties that are located within flood zones can be wonderful places to live, and simply being within a flood plain does not mean that you will necessarily experience water damage to your property on a regular basis. Nonetheless, it is smart to protect yourself if you are considering buying a home in a flood zone in Gainesville.
Buying Real Estate in High-Risk Flood Zones
Any parcels that are designated with an “A” or a “V” on FEMA maps are considered to be particularly vulnerable to flooding. These designations are most frequently seen on properties that are adjacent to the ocean, a bay or a river. Gainesville does have a few properties that are labeled as such, which means that these homes are in Special Flood Hazard Areas.
People who purchase homes in Special Flood Hazard Areas are required by law to have flood insurance. Be aware that normal homeowner insurance policies generally do not cover flood damage, so an additional policy is needed. It’s a layer of extra protection that makes sense as properties in these areas are at a 25-percent risk level of flooding within a three-decade period.
Other precautionary measures may make sense. For instance, installing a backup battery to power the home’s sump pump ensures that you are prepared should the flood of the century arise.
Living in Low- to Moderate-Risk Flood Zones
As you look at the FEMA map, you may see properties that are designated with a “B,” a “C” or an “X.” Properties at moderate risk are given a B while properties at the C or X level are considered to be at low or virtually no risk of flooding. Homeowners in these areas are not required to hold flood insurance. Still, it is worth considering the purchase of a flood insurance policy in these areas as the National Flood Insurance Program estimates that approximately 25-percent of all claims originate from homes in zones designated with a B.
The Price of Flood Insurance
The City of Gainesville is part of the NFIP Community Rating System, which is a voluntary incentive program. The Community Rating System is used to highlight cities, like Gainesville, which engage in activities over and above the minimum requirements to manage their floodplain. People living within these areas are entitled to discounts on their flood insurance based on these management activities.
Gainesville’s class rating is seven, which provides homeowners living within the city’s limits with a 15-percent discount on flood insurance if their home is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area. Those owning homes in an X zone are entitled to a five-percent discount on flood insurance policies.
Get More Tips from Florida’s Choice Realty
Gainesville is a lovely and vibrant community that features many attractive homes for sale. When you work with a seasoned Realtor from Florida’s Choice Realty, you can rest assured that you’ll be informed about everything you need to know about your new dream home. That includes a disclosure regarding whether or not your new home could be at high risk of flooding as well as how much of a discount you may receive on a flood insurance policy.
Learn more by contacting Florida’s Choice Realty about flood zones in Gainesville.