For the most part, people tend to know if they live in a high-risk flood zone: The most obvious sign being that they have flooded before, or have seen parts of their neighborhood flood in the past. Another way of knowing is that you remember when you bought your home, the mortgage lender required you to have a flood insurance policy.
Although we’ve discussed in previous blogs that such a designation is prone to change, it’s also helpful to know of the resources that are available to those who do have a chance of someday experiencing one of these catastrophes.
So in the spirit of providing helpful information for Tampa Bay residents (since this is our home base), here are several helpful items:
We’re starting with the most obvious one. The City of Tampa participates in FEMA’s Community Rating System. This means that as long as Tampa encourages residents in community floodplain management, people who live within the city limits can get discounted rates for flood insurance purchased through FEMA. People who live in high-risk areas receive a 20% discount, while people who live in low-risk areas receive a 10% discount.
I know. These aren’t fun for anyone; but they exist for a reason. Don’t think that water views are reason enough to establish your home there and call it a day. Even if you’re buying an already existing property, you should contact the Hillsborough County Development Services to verify whether the home is compliant with all applicable regulations.
Know your evacuation zone:
Remember how during the 2017 hurricane season, Irma’s size eclipsed our state? Little by little, news sources would notify us of when government officials announced that Zone A had to evacuate their homes. Then Zone B. Maybe C? How many of you scrambled to try to figure out your own zone? Don’t wait until emotions and panic are at high levels. Visit Hillsborough County Homeowners and Neighborhoods, Pinellas County Flood Information, or the Pasco County website and find out now.
Plan for your pets:
If you’re a responsible person, you know that pets are family. This means that if you have to evacuate your home, you take them with you. Therefore, it makes sense to know which of the local shelters would allow you to stay with your pets. Be mindful that these places require proof that Fido or Fifi has all of his or her vaccinations, so keep those documents handy.
Riding out a storm isn’t fun; but if you take preventive measures now, you’ll have less to lament in case of an emergency. Protect your family and your property. One hundred percent of the time, you’ll be happy you did.