Purchasing a home can be an exciting, yet overwhelming, process for first-time and seasoned homebuyers alike. This is especially true when it comes to flood risk and flood insurance.
While consulting with your REALTOR® and your lender about your particular circumstances is best, here are some flood insurance basics to get you started:
Do You Need Flood Insurance? Flooding can happen anywhere and at any time with little to no warning. Here are some items to consider:
- Identify your flood risk. You can look up your address on Maryland’s flood tool at net to see if your property is in a floodplain. Flood risks can change over time and that even small streams can pose a risk to their property.
- Start early. Get a quote for flood insurance early in your homebuying process.
- Understand flood insurance coverage. Most standard homeowners’ insurance policies do not include flood damage. Unfortunately, many homeowners learn they are not covered when it’s too late. Before a flood occurs, talk with an insurance agent about flood insurance coverage.
What if your property is outside the floodplain? Should you consider flood insurance? The answer is yes. In fact, 40% of flood insurance claims come from outside of high-risk flood zones.
What Other Ways Can You Mitigate Your Flood Risk?
If you have or could suffer flood damage, you can minimize flooding risk and protect your property by taking the following actions:
- Elevate Utilities Above the Flood Height. Elevate or floodproof mechanical units, furnaces, water heaters, electrical systems, and other utilities on masonry, concrete, or pressure-treated lumber at least 12 inches above the base flood elevation (expected height of flood waters).
- Install Flood Vents. Install flood vents in foundation walls, garages, and other enclosed areas to allow water to flow through, drain out, and lower the risk of structural damage. Don’t use flood prone spaces as living areas in a home.
- Use Flood Resistant Materials. Tiles are more flood-resistant than carpet. Water-resistant wall materials are better than drywall. Using these materials makes cleaning easier and reduces mold.
- Store Valuables: Store valuables and important documents in waterproof or water-resistant containers on an upper floor. Make copies and store them online or offsite.
Learn More about Flood Awareness:
Maryland Insurance Administration: Flood Insurance