Floods are a common natural disaster, but other situations can also cause flooding. For example, if there are new developments near your home, your house may flood as a result of diversion. Even a clogged storm drain can cause flooding.

Some places are subject to greater flooding risk than others, which are called flood zones.

The proximity of flood zones to water, like a river or a lake, makes them attractive places to buy a home.

The Flood Hazard Bounty Map identifies flood zones based on their likelihood of flooding. Geographical areas are rated based on their flood risk.

Purchasing a home in a flood zone involves a few key considerations.

What Are the Zones?

There are several subcategories of flood zones, which determine what types of insurance might be required and how much it might cost.

“A” zones are considered high-risk and are usually located along rivers, streams, and ponds, while a zone marked "B" is considered medium-risk, and a zone marked "C" is considered low-risk for flooding. 

Special Flood Hazard Areas refer to a zone that starts with the letters A or V and has a one-in-four probability of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.

Flood Zones Can Change

Upon first viewing a home in Berks County, you might learn about the local flood zone, but keep in mind that flood zone designations can change due to environmental factors, new construction, or different weather patterns.

Can You Get a Mortgage?

In an A-designated zone, you will need flood insurance if you have a VA, USDA, Freddie Mac, FHA, or Fannie Mae loan.

You probably won't be required to get flood insurance if you get a mortgage from a private lender and you live in a non-SFHA zone, but your lender may recommend it.

There Are Benefits of Flood Zones

Flood zones have benefits for those who live there, which is why they continue to be popular choices. Again, some of the most beautiful places in Berks County are in flood zones.

There are a lot of benefits to buying a house in a flood zone, despite the potential risks and insurance costs. The homes are usually in high demand locations, so it isn't a problem if they are in a flood zone.

There Are Also Risks of Flood Zones

A flood zone does also have some risks. If you must buy flood insurance, it's expensive. Flood insurance doesn't always cover 100% of flood damage or construction costs.

A natural disaster might require you to evacuate, and if that happens, you might not be allowed to return to your home until local law enforcement gives the okay. Living in a flood zone can be stressful, so it's not for everyone.

Buying a second home may minimize your concern because you do not live there full-time, so you have a place to go if anything happens.

Homeowners Insurance Probably Won’t Cover a Flood

If you plan to buy in a flood zone, you should be aware that flooding is often not covered by your homeowners insurance policy. If you don't live in a flood zone, you should still buy separate flood insurance because the risks are significant.

Burst pipes, for example, can cause flooding in the low-risk zones, and unless you have an extra flood policy, you might be without insurance coverage.

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