Are You in a Flood Prone Area?

It is that time of year, as we have already been reminded. Hurricanes are jumping off the coast of Africa and forming elsewhere, swirling into their path of destruction and perhaps taking dead aim at you and me. Hurricane season has us thinking about what we will do if we get that evacuation notice, but really we should be thinking about that WAY before the season is upon us.

I lived in the ‘slot’ on the coast of NC for many decades and went through my share of hurricanes. People wonder why we’d stay there, but you know, pretty much every area has its threat, whether it is fire, drought, tornado, earthquake…you pretty much have to pick your poison, so to speak. But as you do, there should be a little voice in the back of your mind, reminding you to ‘be prepared’. That means for safety, for evacuation plans, for how to slog through the insurance companies’ blockades. What WILL you do if your home sits for days with 6 feet of water, or more, inside? Sometimes coming home isn’t really coming home.

I never had to evacuate, but things weren’t that terrible when I went through my last set of hurricanes; they were survivable. It’s not like that now. Now, these monster storms become real killers. It’s not just the wind anymore; it is also serious flooding. You can shelter from wind sometimes but not from water. Let me tell you about a friend of mine as I digress. He put his doublewide manufactured home on 10 foot pilings. He was from NY, living in NC. So you KNOW what his friends and neighbors thought about that. Well, after hurricane Floyd, I believe it was, his was the only high and dry home for miles around. He could have said, but didn’t, “How do you like me now?”

Houses continue to sell at a fast clip, and because I’m in the real estate business and thinking of making a move myself, the very first thought I have is ‘flood zone’. I’m just not willing to take that particular risk. I attended a seminar about floods though, and they said this, “If it rains where you live, you are in a flood zone.” In other words, freak weather happens. So…what do we do? I’m wondering, “Where in the world can I go?” Not the desert, thank you.

I’d say, if you have never attended a free seminar about floods, GO. The information is GREAT, and it will at least give you a place to start with your plans. And best of all, it will inform you about what insurance companies will and will not cover. That, my friends, is information you need to have. Read that sentence again. If you think the contents of your home are covered because you have flood insurance, think again. That’s a separate policy and you might not have coverage. Better check it out.

My seminar folks said that if you go through three floods, THREE, then you are entitled to assistance (I think they said from the government) to raise the foundation of your house. Now, you need to investigate that because my brain started steaming when I heard that one. Why? Because of that THREE number. Who goes through THREE big flood events and STAYS THERE? Well, people do. Kid you not. They showed a slide of a home that had been raised up to a walk-in crawl space of 8 feet. And I thought, “Well that won’t work for seniors.” Again, being in the business instigates a different kind of thought process. Anyway, different people solve problems differently. Would I go through that to have an 8 foot crawl space? Oh heck no. I’m thinking with my luck if I raised my crawl space, the wind would blow the house off of the high foundation. But that’s MY luck.

The whole point I’m trying to make as I wonder around the point, is that you need to think about flood zones BEFORE you buy a home, and if you just have to live there (where else can we go anyway?), then be sure you are COVERED insurance-wise, for everything you need to cover, and that you have a plan for safe evacuation and a place to live while you rebuild, if…God forbid…you have to do that. And by the way, DON’T leave your pets behind! I could tell you horror stories about that. Take your pets WITH YOU.

While you think about water, also think about wind. There goes the roof! Better know what you insurance company thinks about THAT, too.

By the way, if you think, “Well I’ll just move to the mountains” to avoid flooding, guess what ladies and gentlemen, it floods there too. Just be prepared.