Home Buyers Beware of Flood History in Florida
It should not be a surprise to anyone in South Florida that some homes might have sustained flood damage. Tropical storms, hurricanes, and other storm surges can easily cause flooding in certain coastal regions. When you are considering the purchase of a new home in parts of Florida, you should always be aware of the home’s flood history, as it could cause costly problems for you down the road.
Lack of Disclosure Requirements
Each state has its own rules and requirements when it comes to disclosing problems with a property, such as a history of flooding. Some states have strict requirements, some are more lenient, and many states have no disclosure requirements at all. Consider the following as reported by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):
- Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi are considered to have the best flood disclosure laws in the United States
- 21 states have no flood disclosure laws, including Florida, Georgia, and Alabama
- The rest of the states have varying laws rated as either “adequate” or “inadequate”
Texas recently strengthened its flood laws substantially, requiring homeowners to report whether a home had ever flooded, whether it is located on a 500-years floodplain, or whether it is close to a reservoir or flood pool. Florida, on the other hand, has none of these requirements despite serious flooding issues in many regions.
The Risks of Repetitive Flooding
When a house floods, it can cause serious damage, including harmful mold growth, a weakened foundation, and more. Past flooding is also a sign that the home is at risk of future floods, which can be costly for homeowners, even with flood insurance. If a certain home is the subject of four flood-related insurance claims worth $5,000, insurance companies can categorize the property as “severe repetitive loss,” which can drive up premiums considerably or make the home uninsurable for flood damage. Often, in order to continue with flood insurance in this situation, an owner has to elevate the home, which can cost nearly as much as the home itself.
After a Flood
Many people only learn of the flood risks of a home after the sale is complete. Some homeowners might assume they do not need flood insurance if there were no disclosures, and they are outside the FEMA flood zones. When a hurricane or a tropical storm strikes, the flooding can be devastating, and homeowners insurance will not cover flood damage. Even with flood insurance, it can be difficult to obtain the full amount you deserve to make costly repairs and replacements and to ensure that your home is safe for you and your family.
Contact a Panama City Flood Claims and Disaster Relief Attorney
If you are having any type of flood-related issues with your home, contact a flood claims attorney at Ged Lawyers, LLP. We are ready to assist home and business owners in Florida in a variety of ways, so please contact us online or call 850-684-4000 for a free consultation.