We recently wrote a post to help New Jersey homeowners better understand the recent changes to FEMA’s flood hazard maps and zoning classification. In the months since the changes took effect, thousands of homeowners have been left searching for ways to minimize their property’s risk exposure to flood water damage in the event of another severe storm of hurricane. For many, especially those repairing or rebuilding homes that were damaged in Hurricane Sandy, the idea of lifting their homes has become a frequent debate.
The question of when a home should be raised is particularly baffling to homeowners and not entirely clear to authorities either. Raising a home is a costly and time consuming process, yet thousands of New Jersey homeowners are choosing to undertake the process in hopes of preventing future damage to their houses. Homeowners in flood zones have been advised that not taking action could face serious financial consequences. Homes which are located in flood plains and high-risk areas face significant increases in flood-insurance premiums and banks will likely withhold new financing due to the greater potential for loss. While lifting your home is not mandatory, FEMA does recommend making certain adjustments in order to decrease your home’s risk exposures in the event of a severe storm.
For those interested in lifting their home, the FEMA flood maps also tell homeowners what kind of foundation. According to experts, zoning and soil conditions dictate the type of foundation that homeowners will need to (literally) weather a storm. There are two zone designations which will impact how a home can be lifted, “A” and “V”. Professionals suggest that homes in an “A” zone don’t necessarily require a deep foundation and can be lowered onto footings spread underneath the house. “V” zone homes require a deep foundation and pilings for more support. Before lifting can begin, a home must be inspected by two different engineers, one issuing an elevation certificate indicating how high a home must be raised in order to conform to FEMA recommendations and the other testing the soil.
Raising homes is a pricey endeavor, costing on average anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 or more depending on foundation work, labor and resources, but can ultimately help better prepare New Jersey homeowners for storms and flooding. Doing so may also significantly lower flood insurance rates.
At Tri-State Insurance Agency, we can help you assess your home’s exposures and craft a risk management strategy that will keep your property safe now and in the years to come. Our NJ homeowners insurance policies can be expanded to cover all your personal assets. We also offer both standard New Jersey Flood Insurance and Sussex County Excess Flood Insurance policies to ensure that your property is secure no matter what risk level you face. Contact our NJ homeowners insurance specialists today at (888) 990-0526 for more information about our risk management solutions.