4 Things Prospective Buyers Should Do Before Buying A Home In A Flood Plain

Flooding has wreaked havoc with thousands of homeowners over the past few years. In fact, one of the most recent examples is the flooding in the Midwest that decimated homes, farms, and businesses across the entire region. With pictures and video images of floodwater-ravaged homes on television and social media, prospective home buyers are sure to be paying extra attention to the physical location of any home they are interested in.

This is especially true if the home is located in an area that is already designated as a flood plain. If you are one of these prospective buyers, here are four things you should do before agreeing to buy a home that is located in a flood plain. 

Take time to research the specific location of the home

Learning as much as you can about the home's physical location as related to flooding is the first thing you must do to get a better understanding of the possible risk. This should involve determining which designated flood zone it is located in, as well as historical information about past floods in the area and how, or if, the home was affected by them. 

Determine whether flood insurance coverage is available and affordable

If multiple flooding instances have plagued a specific area, it may no longer be possible to purchase flood insurance coverage. Even if insurance is available, homes that have had past claims or those that are located in higher-risk areas may qualify for flood insurance rates that the average homeowner may be unable to afford. When considering any home in a flood plain, it is critical to make sure that you can both obtain and afford flood insurance coverage before making your offer. 

Understand that the purchase of flood insurance may be mandated

While federal laws typically do not require mandatory flood insurance if the home is located in an area that is not considered to be high-risk, it may do so in those that are high-risk or those in areas referred to as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). If the home you are interested in purchasing was constructed in one of these areas, make sure you get an estimate of the cost for flood insurance coverage. 

Coordinate flood insurance with your homeowners coverage

If you decide to purchase a home located in a flood plain, it is important that you understand the differences between what your home insurance would cover and what is provided in the flood insurance coverage. The best way to do this is by comparing them and having a discussion with a flood insurance agency in your area.