When you live in or near a flood zone, there is a lot of terminology that you need to know in order to understand the risks of living there. There are different flood zone types, as well as a base flood elevation. Hearing so many different terms can feel overwhelming and confusing when you are just moving, but our agents here at Sound Choice Insurance are ready to help clear up any confusion you may have about base flood elevation. Keep reading to learn more!
Base Flood Elevation Definition
Base flood elevation, or BFE, is the level to which floodwaters are expected to rise to during a base flood. The base flood is the flood that has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. BFE regulations vary depending on where you live, but in general, if your property is located in a flood zone, you may be required to purchase flood insurance.
This base flood elevation line is determined by historical weather data and available science. Since it is not a guarantee of how often this area will flood, it is important to have insurance to be prepared for it. FEMA even has a portal where you can look up any address and see the corresponding flood map.
Insurance Companies and Base Flood Elevation
As previously mentioned, if your home is located in a flood zone, you likely need to have flood insurance coverage on your property. When an insurance company is determining your coverage, they will see where the lowest floor of your property is. They look at this in level in relation to the base flood elevation. Using this, they will determine how high of risk this area is to experience flood damage. The farther above the base flood elevation, the cheaper the insurance coverage will be.
Ideally, you should have all levels of your home as well as your HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems above the base flood elevation. This is not just to retain the lowest insurance cost, but also solely for the safety of your property.
Risks of Property Below the BFE
There are several risks associated with having property that goes below the base flood elevation. Floodwaters can damage or destroy buildings and other structures, contaminate water supplies, and create health hazards. In addition, flooding can disrupt transportation and communication systems and cause widespread power outages. If you live in an area at risk for flooding, it’s important to be aware of the base flood elevation and take steps to protect your property.
Preparing for a Flood
If you live in a flood zone or even just a flood prone area, it is important to have a plan in place for when a flood occurs. In addition to having flood insurance, you will want to take an inventory of everything that is in your home – including furniture, clothes, and appliances. This way, if you need to submit an insurance claim, you know exactly what to include. You will also want to make sure to store important documents (birth certificates, passports, medical records, etc.) in a space that will be away from any flooding. These should also be easily accessible in order to grab them and go, if necessary.
There are other ways to protect your home in preparation for future flooding. In addition to elevating all of your plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems, you will also want to try to waterproof your basement as much as possible. There are water alarms that are available for purchase, and you can have a sump pump installed as well. Keeping your gutters and downspouts clear of debris helps prevent water from accumulating as quickly.
During inclement weather, you will want to have your vehicle ready to go, as well as any emergency supplies. Have a plan if you need to evacuate, and know what to do if you cannot take your vehicle. Know the difference between a flash flood watch and warning, as these are two very different instances. Being prepared for a flood is the best thing you can do while living in a flood zone.
Contact Sound Choice Insurance Today
The base flood elevation is the level to which floodwaters are expected to rise during a base flood. BFE regulations vary depending on where you live, but in general, if your property is located in a flood zone, you may be required to purchase flood insurance. There are several risks associated with having property that goes below the base flood elevation, so it’s important to be aware of the BFE and take steps to protect your property.
Are you purchasing a home that is within a flood zone and needs flood insurance? Contact Sound Choice Insurance on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina! Being so close to the water, we completely understand the risks and implications of living in a flood zone. Our expert agents are able to help you get exactly the coverage you need to keep your home and belongings protected if there is a flood. Contact us today and we can help you get started on acquiring flood insurance!