Flood control officials noted that the region’s relatively flat terrain and impermeable clay soils make flooding a risk residents face when a tropical storm or hurricane targets the Gulf Coast. While securing your family’s safety is the top priority in preparedness efforts, also important is understanding the potentially high cost of repairing flood-damaged structures without flood insurance.
According to the National Flood Insurance Program’s official website, just one inch of water inside a 2,000-square-foot home could result in approximately $21,000 in damages. Six inches inside the same home could cost approximately $40,000. Those costs continue to rise with the size of the structure affected and the depth of flooding.
Many people do not realize until too late that flooding is not covered by their standard homeowner’s policies. When weighing the decision to purchase flood insurance, consider the fact that repaying a $50,000 flood-related loan (at a 4 percent interest rate) from the Small Business Administration costs about $240 a month for 30 years. The average flood insurance policy usually costs $400 annually.
Know Your Flooding Risks
All residents of Harris County are vulnerable to flooding to varying degrees. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps, also known as FIRMs or floodplain maps, help determine areas at risk for flooding from bayous, streams and their tributaries overflowing. However, FIRMs do not show:
• Risks for flooding when roadside ditches and storm sewers exceed their capacity, or from sheet flow, which is stormwater traveling over land to reach the bayous.
• Risks for flooding from bayous and streams that have not been studied for floodplain identification and delineation. Of the more than 2,500 miles of bayous and creeks in Harris County, only about half have been studied.
• Risks for flooding events that exceed the magnitude of a 0.2 percent (500-year) flood, such as Tropical Storm Allison, which dropped 28.5 inches of rain in 12 hours in some areas of Harris County in 2001. Sixty-five percent of the area that flooded during Allison was not in a mapped floodplain.
Also note that if you are in the process of purchasing a new home, insurance companies will not write policies when there are named storms in waters. Please bind your insurance once you have made it out of your option period. You would not want to be caught off guard on closing day without insurance and no chance of getting any. It is mandatory to have a policy in place on closing day. If you are selling your home, it does not hurt for your listing agent to give a “gentle reminder” to the buyers agent to stay on top of the insurance requirements for the buyer.
If you have any questions or would like to see any of the real estate in the Katy/Houston Area, please feel free to contact me, Angela Kraushaar, at 713-253-5678 or at Angela@AngelaKhomes.com.