Who is FEMA?
FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It is FEMA’s job to carry out the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). FEMA is essentially a consumer protection agency. They identify and map areas that are at risk of flooding to citizens. Then, they promote guidelines to the cities and counties for development in areas of high flood probability for the public safety of the citizens.
FEMA is the backer of the National Flood Insurance Program and the entity that ultimately pays all the claims. Everyone has a policy through various carriers, but unless the policy is called a “private market flood insurance policy,” it is most likely a National Flood Insurance policy backed by FEMA. So even though a company like American Bankers or Progressive might be on the declarations page for an individual’s flood policy, it is a FEMA-backed policy. The claim check will come from the carrier, but the carrier gets the money from FEMA to pay the claim.
What is the 50/50 rule?
FEMA has an important tool in advising citizens on flood risk. It’s called Flood Insurance rate Maps (FIRM). These maps change and update periodically. Homes built before the flood maps came into existence or were built under a previous (now outdated) flood map are non-conforming. Owners of non-conforming structures have been able to get insurance under the NFIP. However, there is a caveat. At a certain point of remodeling or destruction, you must rebuild under current laws. FEMA places the enforcement of these rules on the cities and counties. Often, cities and counties vary in how they govern the law. They are mandated to comply or risk not being able to offer insurance through the NFIP, making it expensive to own. Non-compliance insurance is available but at extremely high rates. “No thanks,” consumers say, as they work with this rule.
You cannot improve more than 50% of the “building value.” The building value is defined as “the total property value minus the land value.”
Where can someone find their property building value?
The Lee County Property appraiser has it. It’s highlighted in yellow and called the “Tax Roll Value Letter.”
1. Go to http://www.leepa.org/
2. In the database search, enter a name or address… click on parcel details, then get this.
Can I dispute my improvement number?
Yes, get a certified appraisal for the improvement value. This should cost under $1,000. Ask one of our agents for a list of appraisers.
Can a property with substantial damage be repaired?
There is a bunch written on this. Best is: Answers to questions about substantially improved/ substantially damaged buildings by FEMA 213 August 2018.
If a house has been flooded and the owner is remediating damage…that’s one thing. If the house is built to the current Nov 2022 flood maps, yes. If the property is destroyed, partially or totally, it will have to be rebuilt under current (FIRM) regulations to be eligible for insurance and a building permit. The numbers for re-construction must be confirmed. Some repair items get a certain charge from a manual. Even if you have people helping and not charging you for repairs, it doesn’t matter—FEMA still calculates using a standard cost worksheet. If you go over the allotted 50%, you could be asked to put the structure in compliance or face legal action from the local municipality.
What is the value of my home
This is an interesting question. It cannot be answered by any computer model. It takes knowledge. This is what our Realtors have and can share with you. Each case is different. We look at a combination of:
What is the lot worth?
What was the value before the fast appreciation of the COVID years (2019)?
What was the value before Ian struck our area?
What are the current supply and demand market trends? (More info to follow)
We look at all these factors and triangulate…
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