Nathan Colmer | The Van Dyk Group
C: 609.290.4293 | O: 609.492.1511
Flood insurance is one of the most important concepts for buyers and sellers to understanding in the LBI NJ real estate market. There is a real cost to flood insurance which may be significant in some cases. While most homes on Long Beach Island are at or above base flood elevation (making their insurance costs low), there are still many important elements to understand before entering into a transaction in the LBI real estate market.
Flood insurance rates are based on the property’s elevation above Base Flood Elevation or BFE. Generally speaking, the higher a property is above BFE, the lower the rate will be (up to 3 feet above BFE). On the other side of the coin, the lower below base flood elevation, the higher the flood insurance cost will be. Special conditions will apply when rating flood insurance costs on Long Beach Island such as:
Remember: The actual costs of flood insurance are nearly impossible to estimate exactly in the absence of a flood elevation certificate. This document, which can be obtained from a survey company, tells not only the ground elevation, but also any special conditions that will impact the flood premium on LBI.
The base flood elevation of a home is determined by combining the ground elevation with whatever foundation is present on a house. There are some areas of LBI which are located at higher natural elevations and this creates the need for flood zones. Flood zones were established by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help understand the risks associated with areas of the United States located in a flood zone. Surprisingly, according to FEMA, we ALL live in a flood zone. The delineation takes place when determining if we live in an area of low, moderate or high risk for flooding. Long Beach Island is grouped into two primary flood zones. They are an “A” flood zone and a “V” flood zone. Interestingly enough, there are even a few “X” zones on LBI which require little to no flood insurance!
FEMA defines an “A” and “AE” flood zone as having a 1% chance of an annual flood (it is partly from this definition that the term “100 year storm” comes from when speaking of Hurricane Sandy). Homeowners in an “A” or “AE” flood zone on Long Beach Island can expect the following:
Flood insurance in an “A” or “AE” flood zone is less expensive than a “V” zone due to FEMA’s interpretation that flooding, when it occurs, will be less destructive. In order for a property to be in a “V” zone on LBI, FEMA must ascertain that the subject property will sustain the direct impact of a 3 foot or higher wave. In the eyes of FEMA, properties on LBI in an “A” or “AE” flood zone do not share this risk. It is for this reason that homes in “A” and “AE” flood zones can be built on a solid block foundation with flood vents rather than the break away wall system required in a “V” zone.
The elevation certificate is the most crucial component in the understanding of flood insurance. Without an elevation certificate it is difficult and inaccurate to estimate the costs of insurance. Learn how to obtain an elevation certificate and why they are so important!
FIRM is an accompany for, "Flood Insurance Rate Map". Understanding FIRM dating and ratings is a key component to understanding flood insurance on Long Beach Island, especially if you are looking to buy an older home.
There are several distinct flood zones on Long Beach Island. Each zone has unique characteristics and these individual characteristics can have a significant impact on the cost of flood insurance.
Read the definitions of the most commonly used flood insurance terms in the LBI NJ real estate market.
House raising has become a big business in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Learn the pros and cons of the process to see if it makes sense for you.
The damage caused by flooding, some of which was only a few inches of water inside a house, showed very clearly the advantage of having a house raised on pilings or block foundations. House Raising on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, which prior to the storm was a rather obscure profession, suddenly was thrust into the forefront of many people’s minds. Let me begin by saying that not every house on Long Beach Island needs to be raised. This, above all else, is perhaps the biggest falsity concerning house raising on Long Beach Island. FEMA has established a Base Flood Elevation or “BFE” for all properties on Long Beach Island. This is the level above sea level to which FEMA recommends a new house be built to or a house be elevated to, should a major renovation take place. The BFE is computed by adding the natural elevation of the ground above sea level with the elevation of the structure. For example:
A house needs to be raised (by order of the town and FEMA) only if a new construction is taking place, or if the house was “substantially damaged”. A house is considered to be “substantially damaged” when the costs of repairs exceed 49% of the replacement value of the structure. There are in fact many locations on LBI where the ground elevation is already at Base Flood Elevation, and therefore, no additional elevation would be required to meet FEMA’s minimum standard. This deals only with the requirement minimum. There is an inherent advantage to a house that is raised, as it will be safer in future storms and flood insurance will be less expensive. Thus far, my goal is simply to point out that House Raising on Long Beach Island New Jersey is not a requirement to obtain flood insurance and is not a necessity for all homeowners on LBI.