Flood Risk Information: Learn how flooding could impact your home

Floods are one of the most expensive natural disasters, and the number of properties at risk of flooding increases each year. Not only can the excess water damage the structure of your house, but it can also destroy your belongings. Many people think of flooding as a consequence of a weather-related event like a hurricane or a breached dam. However, your house can flood from severe storms, surging bodies of water, over-saturated ground, thawing snow, or overflowing rivers, lakes, ponds, and oceans. Even 1-2 inches of water entering your home can cause $25,000 in damage or more, making it a wise move to protect your home with flood insurance .

Using information gathered from First Street Foundation to show the current and future flood risk, so homebuyers and homeowners have all the flooding information they need.

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Flood Risk Frequently Asked Questions

1) What is flood risk?

Flood risk estimates the likelihood that a flooding event will occur combined with the financial consequences if it does. The risk of flood damage to your home can change over time due to land development in the area, weather patterns, and soil erosion. Learn more about the flood risk methodology used on Redfin.
2) Is my house in a flood zone?
There are 18 different flood zones in the U.S. Your community should have a flood map that indicates local flood zones, with descriptions of flood risk for each zone. Flood zone information determines what type of flood insurance you’ll need. If you’re not sure if your house is in a flood zone, check the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA)’s Flood Map.
3) Is flood insurance required?
Your lender will determine if you require flood insurance and the amount you’ll need. If you have a federally-backed loan, you’ll be required to have flood insurance. However, even if it’s not a requirement of your loan, flood insurance could be a lifesaver to help you put your life back together after a flood.
4) How much does flood insurance cost?
The cost of flood insurance varies depending on the flood risk in your area and the specific location of your property. If you obtain a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the average premium is $734 per year. Those premiums can range from $1,500 on the higher end to $592 on the lower end.
5) How much flood insurance do I need?
If you have a federally-backed loan, you’ll be required to have flood insurance that covers the outstanding principal balance of the mortgage. If you don’t qualify for that amount of insurance, you’re required to hold the maximum amount available to you. A wise rule of thumb is to have enough coverage to pay for a complete rebuild of your house and replace your personal belongings. Learn more about what flood insurance covers.
6) How to get flood insurance?
Your local insurance agent can sell you a flood insurance policy. You can also go directly to the NFIP to determine which insurers in your area sell and service flood insurance policies.
7) Does my homeowner’s insurance cover damage from flooding?
Unfortunately, standard homeowners’ policies do not cover any flood damage, no matter the water source, as flood insurance is issued as a separate policy. Flood insurance can cover property, contents in the property, or both, so evaluate your potential needs to ensure you get the correct type of coverage. Learn more about what flood insurance co

vers and does not cover.
8) Does renter’s insurance cover flood damage?
A typical renter’s insurance policy does not cover flood damage. However, if you rent in a flood risk area, flood insurance is a wise investment. For example, renter’s insurance may help with sudden or accidental damage to property from a burst pipe or an air conditioner that leaks, but not damage from an actual flood.
9) How to find out if a property has flooded before?

Unfortunately, many states don’t require sellers to disclose flood damage to prospective home buyers. This lack of information can make your decision to purchase a house in a flood-risk area more difficult. As a homebuyer, you can hire a home inspector to look for potential flood damage, like stains on the baseboards, ceilings, or in the basement, or any indications that repairs have been made to correct such damage.

Another alternative is to ask your insurance agent to run a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Evaluation (CLUE) report to look for any past flood claims on the property. This report helps you if the homeowner processed a flood claim but did not have any unreported flood damage. It’s the most straightforward – and inexpensive – way to learn if the home has flooded in the past.

A flood can occur during any weather event that causes excessive rain, even if the property isn’t near a river, lake, or ocean. Therefore, it’s best to take every precaution you can to prepare for a flood, especially if you live in a high flood risk area.

10) How to prepare for a possible flood

If you live in a floodplain, you can take a few basic steps to protect your home. Wherever possible, elevate your furnace and water heater, and reinforce them with study barriers to make damage less likely. Seal basement walls with waterproofing compounds, relocate furniture to higher grounds, and install check valves in plumbing to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.

Follow weather alerts on the radio or TV news to see if your community is offering free sandbags. These are just some of the precautions you can take to prepare for a flood.


The Top 10 U.S. Cities With the Most Risk of Substantial Flooding

Rank City Percentage of properties at Risk Today Percentage of properties at Risk in 2050
1 Cape Coral, FL 69% (90K Properties) 84% (108K Properties)
2 Tampa, FL 32% (43K Properties) 39% (52K Properties)
3 New Orleans, LA 32% (48K Properties) 98% (147.8K Properties)
4 Lehigh Acres, FL 21% (26K Properties) 23% (28K Properties)
5 Corpus Christi, TX 21% (22.8K Properties) 23% (25K Properties)
6 Fresno, CA 19% (26.9K Properties) 22% (30K Properties)
7 Chicago, IL 13% (77K Properties) 14% (84K Properties)
8 Houston, TX 13% (75K Properties) 15% (87.9K Properties)
9 Pittsburgh, PA 12% (17K Properties) 13% (18K Properties)
10 Los Angeles, CA 12% (80K Properties) 12% (82K Properties)


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This data comes from the First Street Foundation’s national overview of the top cities with the greatest proportion of properties at substantial risk of flooding.

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