It’s no secret that hurricanes devastate many coastal cities all across the U.S. every year, but what does this devastation truly mean for those who call the coast home? Hurricane Dorian has been ravaging the Bahamas and has thankfully avoided Florida. However, hurricanes and severe tropical storms have devastated Florida in the past and will surely do the same in the future.
Florida is a state where more than 21.3 million people live and most of the population of Florida is concentrated in the coastal cities. This is largely because of the economy and the abundance of jobs located near the coast but also because of the beaches and nightlife that make Florida coastal living so enticing.
Even though living on the coast near the beaches comes with many perks, it also has some serious drawbacks. Tropical storms are not to be taken lightly. They cause serious flood damage every year to Florida properties. However, the tropical storms aren’t the worst of it. Hurricanes can cause fierce weather and the damage that follows is savage and heartbreaking.
Hurricanes and the Devastation
Hurricanes do more than just cause fear, they cause massive amounts of destruction. In fact, hurricanes cause so much destruction they are considered the most destructive of any other type of natural disaster, and for good reason.
The storms caused by hurricanes have winds that can rip trees out of the ground, flip cars, and can tear homes apart. They do more than just that though. The amount of flooding they can cause is astronomical and sometimes seems hard to believe.
Seeing pictures and videos of homes being completely flooded to the rooftops shows what kind of damage you can expect after a hurricane depending on how close to the coast you are and the category of the storm.
Hurricanes, Substantial Damage, & Flood Insurance
The Congressional Budget Office considers that serious or “substantial damage” is defined as any damages that exceed 5% of the average income. Many homes and other properties in Florida can easily exceed that amount after a hurricane similar to one like Dorian.
Often after storms such as hurricanes, the economy will drop, jobs will be lost, and all of the United States are affected. What’s even more shocking is that on average only about 33% of the homes in Florida that are at risk for serious damages actually have flood insurance.
Flood damages aren’t something that is usually covered by your homeowners’ insurance. So if you don’t have a separate flood insurance policy, you could be looking at footing the bill for those repairs yourself. Even as little as a single inch of water has the ability to cost tens of thousands of dollars in damages.
Substantial Damages and Substantial Improvements Rule (aka the 50% Rule)
Just to help complicate things a little more during difficult times is the Substantial Damages and Substantial Improvements Rule (aka the 50% Rule). This is a rule that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has come up with to regulate repairing and renovating homes in known flood zones.
This rule states that if you live in a flood zone and your home is below the 100-year flood elevation level the cost of repairs or renovations must remain under 50% of what the home is currently worth.
If the cost of repairs or renovations will exceed 50% of what the home is currently worth then the home must be brought into compliance with the BFE (Base Flood Elevation). In simple terms, your home will need to be completely elevated above the base flood elevation line.
This can cost a substantial amount of money and it doesn’t matter if you’re just looking to update some things around your home or if your home was damaged due to a natural disaster. The 50% rule remains the same even if the owner has lost everything due to flooding from a hurricane. This is why flood insurance is crucial to have when you are living in these areas.
An appraisal will be needed before you decide to start repairs on the home. If your home is appraised at being worth $400,000 then any repairs you make will need to remain under $200,000. The concept behind the Substantial Damages and Substantial Improvements Rule is quite simple when explained in simple terms.
RE Appraisals Associates of SWFL, INC. will be more than happy to help you with an accurate appraisal for your home and we will get the job done quickly. After having your life turned upside down, we want to help you get back on your feet again as quickly as we can. So if your home has suffered from water or other damages and you are in need of an appraisal before you can start your renovations, give us a call today at (941) 743-3700.