Did you know every home is in a flood zone? Read on to learn why that is, and what you can do to help homeowners understand why they should consider purchasing flood insurance, no matter where their home is located.
Every Home Is In A Flood Zone
When I was an agent selling flood insurance back in the day, I got a ton of questions from clients asking if they were in a flood zone or needed flood insurance. Here are a few of the questions they asked: ‘I live in the mountains; am I in a flood zone?’ ‘I live in the desert,’ or ‘I live thirty miles from the nearest body of water; am I in a flood zone?’ ‘How about if I live in LA, New York, Boston or Dallas?’
The answer is yes, yes, yes and yes! One of the most widespread and most tragic misconceptions homeowners have is thinking that because they don’t live next to a major river or ocean, they’re not in a flood zone.
Spoiler Alert! ALL homes are in a flood zone. While only homeowners in Special Flood Hazard Areas (any A or V zone) are required to purchase flood insurance if they have a federally backed home loan, literally all homes are in a flood zone. While A and V zones are riskier (a 1% chance of flooding in any given year), floods can and do occur in all zones, including lower risk B, C, and X zones. According to the Harris County Flood Control District in Houston, Texas, a whopping 68% of structural damage occurred in low-risk zones during 2017’s Hurricane Harvey.1
As an agent, I would cringe when I heard a fellow agent tell a client “you don’t need flood insurance, you’re not in a flood zone.”
Here’s why areas you think are not subject to flooding actually are: Deserts are susceptible to flooding, even with small amounts of rain, because they don’t have the vegetation to absorb runoff and so, flash flooding occurs. Urban areas are susceptible due to crumbling infrastructures or to cars hitting fire hydrants. 2
Mountain homes are susceptible to flooding because water doesn’t flow straight down; it accumulates and then rushes down, creating devastating mud and rock flow, especially after a wildfire.
People living in the thousands of valleys across the U.S. are especially exposed because valleys are nature’s flood plains before man-made lakes, culverts and drainage. One more spoiler alert: Mother Nature can knock down our most sophisticated flood control systems with a flick of her finger.
If you are an insurance agent, help your clients understand their flood risk. It was never a hard sell for me. I would simply say at the end of a homeowners
insurance presentation “By the way, this policy does not include flood insurance.” That was it. This simple statement not only started the flood conversation and made sure my clients were informed, it resulted in me leading the office in flood sales, thus homeowners and auto sales.
To sum up, EVERY home is in a flood zone, no matter the location, and for many different reasons. As an agent, it behooves you to educate your clients on the risk.