Sarasota County Flood Zones & Resources
Which Flood Zone Are You In?
If you live in Sarasota County, you’re probably wondering about the updated flood maps that FEMA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency, has been working on since 2003. The new maps are scheduled to go into effect in the early part of 2016.
We Live in Florida – The Good News & The Bad News
Like just about anything in life, there’s Pros and Cons. The good news is that we live in Florida and are surrounded by water and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Not to mention that we are at the beach building sandcastles in the middle of winter while our friends in the North are shoveling snow. On the flip side, the bad news is that we are surrounded by water and there’s a good chance that our beautiful Suncoast home is sitting in a flood zone.
An Elevation Certificate
Before you panic, just know that there are a number of flood zones and some are higher risk zones than others. If you have a mortgage on your beautiful Suncoast home, your lender will probably require that you carry flood insurance if your property is in a high risk flood zone. High risk zones starting with the letters A or V are broken down into several categories. FIRM (Flood Insurance Rate Map) maps will help you determine your flood zone. Knowing what the elevation of your property is can make a difference in your flood insurance premium. If you don’t have an elevation certificate, you will likely want to get one in order to prove the elevation of your home. If you are in a high risk flood zone, but your home is built up, having an elevation certificate showing how high it is built up, may lower your premium. Not sure where to get an elevation certificate? Any surveyor should be able to provide one for you. I recently priced them and the price range for the surveyors that I contacted ran between $175 – $275 at the time of this blog post. You can check with your real estate agent about who they recommend. If you’re not working with a real estate agent, you can contact me and I’ll be glad to give you the names of a few surveyors.
Please note that having a property not located in a high risk flood zone does not mean that it won’t ever flood. It just means that flood insurance is not mandatory. Having a flood insurance policy may still be a good idea.
The video below put out by FEMA may help you to better understand Base Flood Elevation
High Risk Flood Zones
The Sarasota County High Risk Flood Zone interactive mapping application (click on the button below) allows all interested parties to search for County parcels by address and determine if the parcel is intersected by a PRELIMINARY FEMA-designated High Risk Flood Zone.
Contact Your Insurance Agent for More Information & Flood Insurance Premium Rates
Because of FEMA’s “remapping” process, your best bet in obtaining accurate flood zone information and flood insurance rates is going to be your property & casualty insurance agent. They have access to the latest maps and insurance rates. Be sure to ask them if an elevation certificate is recommended. If you’re purchasing a home, don’t rely on the current owner’s information as to whether or not the property is in a flood zone or what they pay for flood insurance. Again, check with your insurance agent as they can get you the best information.