One of the major concerns to homeowners and home shoppers is whether their property is or will be on a flood zone. Heavy rains and repeated floods have in the recent past been a nightmare for both municipal governments and homeowners. Every time floods occur, they wreak havoc to dwellers as they cause extensive damages whose repairs and clean-ups are often costly and intimidating.
Flooding in Chicago may be attributed to the fact that the Chicago area is topographically dominated by the Chicago plains. This is no reason for alarm, as Chicago is and will remain the desired American city. However, it’s important that before buying property, you consider checking to determine if your property is sitting in a floodplain. Below are 5 tips on how to check if your Chicago property is in a flood plain.
Check the Local Flood Zone Map
Before you get all comfy, ensure that you check with the local Chicago government agency for the flood zone maps. This will help identify your property on the Chicago map. Most of these maps are provided for by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). The map copies are updated as per the weather department policies.
Consider Your Property’s Location
There are a couple of location finder services and apps that can help determine if you are either in a high-risk zone or a low-risk zone. On the flood zone map boundaries, you’ll realize that some areas are marked out as potentially risky areas for flooding. The maps will give you enough details about the type and magnitude of floods to expect in a given area and potentially to your property.
Look It Up Online
The internet is always the nearest and perhaps the richest source of crucial information. There are various websites that can help you access your property’s risk exposure to flooding in Chicago. FEMA, for instance, runs a website that helps you pinpoint certain areas on the map of Chicago. Freeflood.net is another example that you can use. As for the latter, you only have to input your property’s address in the search box and you’ll be able to tell if your property sits in a flood plain in Chicago.
To know if your property is sitting on a floodplain, call your Chicago insurance agency and enquire the kind of insurance best suited for your needs and protection. If the insurance agency advises you to get a flood insurance cover, then your property could be sitting in a floodplain. While it’s never certain that the areas in the floodplains will experience flooding, it’s always important to consider the probability and get coverage. But then again, most home insurance policies do not cover the damages resulting from flooding. In fact, ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba, a disaster restoration company in Chicago, found that nearly half of homeowners do not know that home insurance does not cover flood damage.
Inquire from Neighbors and Learn the Area’s History
You may also get to know the area’s history at length. You probably have at least two or three friendly neighbors you can approach for a chat. Get to know them better and ask whether they’ve ever experienced flooding in the past and perhaps the measures they took when or before it happened. This can be helpful in determining whether or not your property is indeed sitting on a Chicago floodplain.
Prevention is always better than cure. If you own property in Chicago, IL, the above tips can help you determine if your property sits on a flooding-prone zone. This will allow you to take the necessary precautions measures, including getting the proper insurance and making your home flood-proof.