New Jersey insurance expert John Craig delves into flood risk assessment when purchasing a new home.
When looking for a new home, it’s important to assess whether or not a property may be considered at a high risk of flooding. An insurance expert and agency owner from New Jersey, John Craig explains how to assess a potential new property’s flood risk.
“The reality is,” Allstate Corporation representative and insurance agency owner John Craig suggests, “that any home can, in fact, experience a flood.”
Craig says that, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, even homes in areas with a low or moderate flood risk are five times or more likely to experience a flood than they are to experience a fire.
Flood risk is determined by an area’s flood maps. “Factoring in base flood elevation and floodplain boundaries, these show a community’s flood zones,” explains Craig, “which, in turn, determines the so-called land flood risk level.”
When looking to purchase a new home, Craig is keen to stress that flood disclosure laws vary by state. “Not all states require that home sellers share a property’s flood history with potential buyers,” reveals the expert. As such, it’s important, he says, to do your own research.
“If you decide to purchase a property in an area identified as having a heightened risk of flooding, you’ll almost certainly be required to purchase flood insurance,” explains Craig. “A local insurance agent,” he continues, “will be able to more accurately determine if the risk is deemed high or low to moderate, and will advise you on how much flood insurance may be likely to cost.”
Where flood insurance is mandatory, proof that cover has been purchased will be required before a buyer can close on a home loan, according to John Craig.
Even if a property does not call for mandatory flood insurance, a buyer may still be well-advised to purchase cover owing to the possibility of flooding in any home, as reflected in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s suggestion that even homes in areas with a low flood risk are up to five times more likely to experience a flood than a fire. “It’s important to remember,” Craig notes, “that typical home insurance, while covering fire damage, often doesn’t cover flood damage.”
“You should, however,” he adds, wrapping up, “always be able to purchase a separate policy for flood insurance protection where warranted, deemed necessary, or otherwise desired.”