Pictured: Kings Flats by Lennar
If you’re shopping for a new home in Charleston County
, a real estate term that you might have run across is the “hundred year flood line” or “flood zone.” You might also have heard discussion of how the type of flood zone that a home is in could potentially require costly flood insurance. Since the “Lowcountry” is just that, meaning it has a low sea level, much of the coastal area is subject to potential floods both from the Atlantic Ocean, as well as inland rivers and tributaries, with the additional threat of flooding from heavy rains, storm surge and extreme tides. In early 2017 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began the process of revising the Charleston County maps that dictate the flood line, impacting where builders will be able to build and what homeowner’s flood insurance will cost determined by the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) of their home. Advanced new technology was implemented in the redrawing of the flood maps and information regarding recent construction was incorporated into them.
How does the flood line impact homebuyers? By law, any properties with a mortgage that are located in an area at a high risk for flooding are required to have flood insurance. In the Lowcountry this isn’t limited to just a coastal address but can be the case in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. As the Charleston County flood lines are redrawn, it is likely that some home owners currently considered to be in the flood zone will no longer be, meaning they will no longer be required to carry flood insurance on their homes and vice versa; that new property will be included in the area of the flood zone, necessitating that homeowners add flood insurance to their policy. These new maps won’t be officially implemented until early in 2019. Here is the most recent information
for residents in the City of Charleston and residents in any county can check the FEMA
maps for free.
What is a hundred year flood line? In a nutshell, it is the statistical probability (in this case determined by FEMA) that there is a one-in-one hundred chance of a flood occurring any given year, i.e., that area will flood once every 100 years. This measurement is used by insurance companies to determine the type of flood coverage that your home will require. Be sure to inquire when you’re shopping for homeowner’s insurance for your new home if you’ll need flood insurance and if so, how much that will cost on a monthly basis. The rates vary greatly in association with the degree of potential flood risk. You can also take preventative steps before potential flooding situations to ensure the best outcome for your new home such as making sure that drainage channels and pipes are open and free of debris and that your flood insurance is up to date.
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