Florida homeowners may be surprised to learn that there is no state law that requires disclosure of whether a house has a history of flooding. This is in stark contrast to Texas, which has the strictest laws in the nation on such matters. However, Florida is the state with the highest flood risk.
In 2015, one woman in Boynton Beach was told by both the seller and realtor that her new home did not have a history of severe flooding. After Hurricane Irma flooded her home in 2017, she filed an insurance claim and received $100,000, more than half her home’s value. However, the insurance company then sent a follow-up letter informing her that since it was the fourth flood that incurred more than $5,000 in damages to the house, it was in a “severe repetitive loss” category and she had to elevate the home, sell the land or tear the home down and rebuild.
In Texas, sellers must disclose a great deal of information, including whether the home is in a 500-year floodplain. This helps address one problem, which is that the flood maps created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency are badly out of date. Pew Charitable Trust is lobbying for a federal law that will make flood disclosure mandatory.
Even a flood insurance policyholder who does know the history of flooding in regard to their home may have trouble collecting compensation after filing a hurricane damage claim. An agency may delay payment, offer too little in compensation or refuse to pay compensation altogether. Someone who is preparing a claim or needs to appeal a denial may want to consult an attorney. The attorney could assist in pursuing the compensation.