FEMA Flood Zones, Flood Insurance And Cost Of Home Ownership

With one of the highest elevations in Florida, the Villages of Citrus Hills is safe from flooding.

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For many Florida residents, flood insurance is just another cost of owning a home. The state’s extensive coastline and risk of hurricanes and tropical storms is one factor, but the flat landscape and regular tropical downpours also cause flooding. Depending on where you decide to live in Florida and how you fund your home purchase, you could be required to buy flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. The Villages of Citrus Hills has an elevation that is among the highest points in all of Florida.

Standard homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, so in 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program to protect homeowners against the cost of flooding damage caused by hurricanes, heavy rains, tropical storms or other weather conditions. Properties located in areas at high risk of flooding are required by law to have flood insurance if the mortgage is held by a federally regulated or insured lender, which includes most banks.

The flood program has been in financial trouble since Hurricane Katrinahit New Orleans in 2005. In the aftermath, the flood insurance program paid more for claims filed during that storm than for all other prior flood events combined. The National Flood Insurance Program went into debt, forcing it to borrow nearly $18 billion from the U.S. Treasury.

In 2012, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act which mandated increased flood insurance rates to reflect a true flood risk and make the program more financially stable. The changes will have the greatest impact on properties located within a Special Flood Hazard Area that were built before the flood maps were drawn. These homes were previously “grandfathered” and had lower flood insurance rates, but under the new law, these special rates are going away. If you are considering a move to Florida, you should investigate whether your new home is located in a high-risk area and find out how much the insurance rates will be after your purchase.

A community’s flood risk is calculated by a Flood Insurance Study. Done by FEMA, the study includes information about storm tides, nearby river flow, rainfall and the rise and fall of the surrounding land. Floodplains and areas that are prone to coastal storm surge are shown as high-risk areas or Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). Some parts of floodplains may see flooding frequently while others are only affected by severe storms. Flood insurance premiums are based on:

Year of building construction
Building occupancy
Number of floors
The location of its contents
If it is in a high-risk flood area
For newer homes, the location of the lowest floor in relation to the elevation requirement on the flood map
The deductible you choose and the amount of building and contents coverage

The weather is one of Florida’s biggest draws, but it can also be a big risk to your home, depending on where you live. The Villages of Citrus Hills is unlike other areas of Florida. Our community sits about 260 feet above sea level, one of the highest points in all of Florida. It is also about 15 miles from the ocean, close enough to enjoy the beach and boating, but far enough away to avoid the coastal flooding that can hit homes in beach-front communities.

Not only does the elevation and location make for a more scenic landscape, but it means Citrus Hills is a less-risky location in terms of flooding than other popular vacation and retirement destinations in Florida. Lowering your risk and lowering your home ownership costs is one of many reasons why buying a home in the Villages of Citrus Hills is a smart choice.