What To Know Before Building In A Flood Zone

When you find the perfect location to build a home, you might be utterly shocked when you find out it’s in a flood zone. After all, is building a house in a flood zone wise?

One estimate revealed that 41 million people live in flood zones. That’s a lot of people, so living in a flood zone is common. 

But there are some vital things to know when building in a flood zone, and learning these is vital before buying and building.

Here is a guide to help you know what you must know before starting your project. 

Understand The Different Levels Of Flood Zones

Before building a house in a flood zone, it might be wise to learn the different levels of flood zones. Here are the four zones:

V Zone

The highest risk zone is V. Anyone living in this zone has the highest risk of flooding of anyone. Most properties in the V zone are near oceans or other major bodies of water. 

A Zone

Building in an A zone has less risk than in a V zone. However, there is still a hefty amount of risk in this zone. Properties near smaller bodies of water generally fall into the A zone. 

X Zone

If you discover that your property is in the X zone, you have very little risk of flooding. Of course, the property might flood, but the chances are slim.

D Zone

The D zone refers to areas with uncertainty. The exact risk in this category has yet to be determined.

You can experience flood damage in any zone. But as you see, the risk levels are different.

Thus, it’s smart to find out your property’s zone before building.

Authorities determine these zones by analyzing the base flood elevation (BFE). The BFE is a record of water levels, rain, and floods. 

You can find out the zone by researching the property deed. 

Get the Necessary Permits

Next, you’ll need to acquire the necessary permits to build.

Every city, state, and county has building requirements, including the appropriate permits. However, there are additional building requirements when building in a flood zone.

First, you’ll need a planning permit. You can get a planning permit by visiting your local courthouse or planning commission.

They’ll explain what they need to issue the permit, and this permit lets you use the property for a house.

Next, you’ll need a building permit. A building permit varies from a planning permit, as this permit lets you build a house.

The planning commissioner will look up the property to see where it is. When they look it up, they’ll see that it’s in a flood zone. They can also reveal the zone type and other details about the property. 

The zoning and property details will generally dictate what type of septic system you must install. It might also dictate other local regulations and rules. 

Buy Flood Insurance

Building a house in a flood zone increases your risk of property damage from floods. As a result, you should protect yourself when building in a flood zone.

The primary way to do this is by purchasing flood insurance. However, you can look at this local flood insurance solution to learn more before buying a policy. 

Flood insurance isn’t always mandatory when building in a flood zone. It depends on the property’s flood zone. 

If you’re building in zones V or A, you must buy flood insurance. After all, it’s mandatory for properties in these zones. 

Flood insurance isn’t mandatory in zone X, but it might be in zone D. It depends on the local rules. 

Flood insurance is different from homeowner’s insurance in the following ways.

Homeowner’s Insurance 

Homeowner’s insurance protects your house from perils, such as fires or storms.

Your policy will state what perils it covers, and you can choose the amount of coverage.

Your policy will cover your home’s structure against the listed perils. In addition, it protects your personal belongings. 

Therefore, buying homeowner’s insurance is also necessary. However, home insurance isn’t enough coverage if you live in a flood zone. 

Flood Insurance 

Flood insurance won’t cover the other perils that your home insurance plan covers. Instead, it only covers damages caused by flooding.

Thus, you can file a claim against your flood insurance policy if your home suffers flood damage.

Consider Designing The House Accordingly

Living in a flood zone requires proper home and property design planning.

Thus, you should do a few extra things if you build in a flood zone. Here are some ideas:

Elevate The Home

A severe flood can leave a property covered with deep water. Thus, your home has a higher chance of getting damaged if you place the house on the ground. Instead, you can elevate a home.

Elevating a home means building the house higher than it would normally. Elevating it decreases the chances of water entering it during a flood. 

Build Up The Property

Secondly, you can talk to the planning commission about building up the property with soil.

This option requires adding more soil to make the property higher before building.

Thus, this option also helps you elevate your home. 

Extra Waterproofing Efforts

Finally, talk to your contractor about adding extra waterproofing steps to seal the house.

Sealing a house is always vital, even if the house isn’t in a flood zone.

However, sealing a house in a flood zone is even more essential, as it helps you keep the water out.

Consider These Things When Building in a Flood Zone

As you see, building in a flood zone is common. However, you must take a few extra steps when building in a flood zone.

You can learn more about flood zones by speaking with an insurance agent or building contractor.

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