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Law Talk

Changes to Flood Insurance

Flood InsuranceThe Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) established the National Flood Insurance Act in 1968.  A few years later, FEMA mandated mortgage lenders to require mortgagees to purchase flood insurance if a property was located in a designated flood zone area.  Due to the everglades, Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico many counties, cities and neighborhoods in Florida were determined to be in flood zones hence, real estate transactions cannot be completed without the purchase of flood insurance in these areas.

Every 20 years FEMA is required to do a new survey and based on the results of the 2012 survey, new flood zone maps have been developed in both Broward and Palm Beach counties based on drainage improvements and higher elevations.  These new flood maps will be used by insurance and mortgage companies to determine which of their customers will be required to continue with or purchase flood insurance.  The changes in Broward County will be effective August 18, 2014.  View the new flood map for Broward County here.  In addition, contact your local municipality for specific information data on that city.

Palm Beach County is still awaiting the new Flood Zone Maps which are anticipated to be released in July or August.  Visit Palm Beach County’s website for more information on flood zone maps.  According to the FEMA New Flood Map Zone schedule, the new maps for Palm Beach County are expected to be effective in September 2015.

Changes to the flood zone maps are significant to developers, builders and those who are making improvements to existing construction.  All projects must follow city and county codes.

While flood insurance many not be required for your existing or future home, mother nature is not predictable and floods can occur anywhere.  FEMA suggests purchasing a Preferred Risk Policy which is low in cost but still provides flood coverage.

Real estate purchases are huge investments and a buyer should have all the facts prior to purchase.  A real estate attorney is a great source to ensure all t’s are crossed and I’s are dotted.  Ronald A. Luzim has practiced real estate law in Florida since 1974.  Contact his Coral Springs, FL office for all of your real estate needs.