Full disclosure: we initially planned to time this post to correspond with the start of hurricane season (June 1) to help Florida homeowners understand their flood risk at a time when it was particularly relevant.
But the tool we’re about to share with you was (ahem) flooded with popularity after being featured on a local media outlet. As of now, though, it’s up and running again, so we’re excited to spread the word.
What’s a flood analysis memo (FAM)?
A flood analysis memo (FAM) is the report you get when you submit a request to No Flood Florida , a group founded by two water resources engineers who were struck by the devastation caused by hurricane-related flooding and decided to do something about it.
No Flood Florida combines data from FEMA and local sources to compile reports that give homeowners a concrete snapshot of their flood risk exposure. The group’s goal in providing these reports is to empower Florida homeowners to make informed decisions about their houses, finances, and futures.
Who should get a FAM?
Today, anyone who’s interested in learning about a vacant property or a single-family home can request a FAM. Below is the list of Florida counties where the service is available:
- Indian River
- Miami Dade
- Palm Beach
- St. John
- St. Lucie
If you’re thinking of building, buying, or selling property in one of these areas, requesting a FAM may be wise. Knowing your flood risk will allow you to make a better-informed decision about how to proceed with your plans. It will also give you a sense of what to expect during major weather events.
You should probably get a flood risk analysis, even if you don’t think your home’s in a high-risk flood zone. While flood insurance is only required by properties in Florida that are mortgaged, it’s a product that everyone in Florida should consider, as recent hurricane seasons have shown.
Another good reason to look into your flood risk? Homeowners insurance in Florida almost never covers flood damage.
What’s the benefit a flood risk analysis?
One of the major benefits of applying for a FAM is that the information it contains will likely be more thorough than relying on any single rating factor (like your flood zone designation set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency).
Practically speaking, having a FAM on hand could give you a concrete idea of what might happen to your home or property when the next big hurricane hits. That’s important in part because flooding from hurricanes is not covered by traditional homeowners insurance.
You’re not alone. A lot of people mistakenly think their homeowners insurance covers hurricane damage. But here’s the deal: homeowners insurance only covers wind damage associated with hurricanes (this is what you might hear referred to as “hurricane insurance”). So if a hurricane blows your roof off, your homeowners policy will likely pay for a replacement roof. That coverage may be subject to a hurricane deductible that’s separate from your policy’s normal deductible.
But if that same hurricane causes a nearby river to rise so high that it floods your living room, your homeowners policy won’t pay for repairs. For that type of coverage, you’ll need a flood insurance policy.
And to know how much coverage you’ll need on that flood policy… well, that’s where the FAM can come in handy.
How to request your flood analysis memo
If you’re ready to receive a detailed flood risk breakdown, you can request one through No Flood Florida’s “Contact” page. After submitting your information, you will receive the report via email.
Other precautions to take to prevent flooding
If you live in Florida, you know that hurricane season is in full swing. If you haven’t already assessed your home’s risk of flood, there are several steps you can take to shore up its defenses, such as:
- Securing your windows.
- Moving any electronics above ground level.
- Securing outdoor furniture before a storm hits.
For longer-term protection, consider upgrading your roof according to Florida’s wind mitigation guidelines. Essentially, these outline how to maximize the strength of your roof to minimize the likelihood that it will be damaged in high winds. In many cases, upgrading your roof may decrease your homeowners insurance premiums.
Finally, if you live in a flood-prone area, carry flood insurance. A Kin agent can help you find an affordable policy.