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Rising risk of flooding: Advice from a Jacksonville insurance agent turned city councilperson

3 things to ask yourself: Do you need flood insurance? How much can you expect to pay? Why is flooding worsening?

It's been four years since Hurricane Irma and some parts of the First Coast are still recovering. Insurance loss estimates hit nearly $10 billion.
It's been four years since Hurricane Irma and some parts of the First Coast are still recovering. Insurance loss estimates hit nearly $10 billion.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Four years since Hurricane Irma and some parts of the First Coast are still recovering. For example, homes from San Marco to Clay County were flooded

Insurance loss estimates hit nearly $10 billion. San Jose is one area that flooded that FEMA does not consider a flood zone.

Some analysts say FEMA’s maps are outdated. City councilman and insurance agent Matt Carlucci said despite those maps if you live in Florida, you technically live in a flood zone.

Whether flood insurance is required and how much you pay depends on the risk in your area.

Federal law requires FEMA to renew flood maps at least every five years and update them if needed.

“Flooding is very unpredictable and you never know where it’s going to happen,” Carlucci said. “But in the high-risk areas, you have to carry flood insurance by mortgage company requirements.”

Carlucci said not every flood zone in Florida requires a homeowner to have flood insurance. However, it is a good idea to have it no matter where you live.

For example, if you live in a zone labeled “X,” that means you are in an area that has a “low” or “moderate” risk of flooding and are not required to have insurance.

However, Carlucci said up to 30% of insurance claims recently came from zones like t

An area such as “AE” is considered a “high-risk” flood zone and flood insurance are required.

Living in a high-risk flood zone means there is a 1% or greater chance of flooding every year.

These kinds of areas have a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.

Many flood maps are changing over the years because of the way the climate is changing, and strong storms continuously hitting the same areas.

“Sea level rise is affecting flood zones in the maps will have to be updated continually,” Carlucci said. “But the other problem is the more non-permeable areas. As our communities continue to be developed, the more development the less permeable areas for the water to be absorbed in the event of a flood or a bad rainstorm. That can lend itself to flooding conditions.”

When it comes to how much flood insurance will cost you, FEMA considers the building’s distance to a water source, the types and frequency of flooding, and characteristics of the structure, like the cost to rebuild.

Carlucci also said there are a few things you need to remember about flood insurance.

  • If you do not have any but plan to invest in it, your new policy takes 30 days to become effective.
  • The only difference to that is if you are buying a house and flood insurance is required.
  • Your policy will become effective on the date of the closing.

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Weekend morning reporter and multi-media journalist.