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Non-compliant Properties Claim $1.4 Billion in Flood Damages


Over the past decade, flooding has caused more than $1.4 billion in damages to properties that are not compliant with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) elevation requirements, according to data from ValuePenguin.

FEMA requires properties in certain flood-prone areas to be built at or above the height of a potential flood, based on where regulators expect water to settle in a flood event.

Despite the requirement, the average home that generated a claim in one of these specified zones over the past decade sits 3.7 feet below its required elevation.

In the second half of 2020, more than 74,000 properties sitting below the required elevation have National Flood Insurance Policies (NFIP) set to expire.

The average claim on one of these homes over the past 10 years is $51,000. Overall, in nine of the past 10 years, noncompliant properties made tens of millions of dollars of claims.

The destruction from 2012’s Superstorm Sandy led to $580 million in NFIP claims from properties that are not in compliance with FEMA’s elevation guidelines. In fact, 2012 accounted for 40% of claims from non-compliant homes over the past 10 years.

The states with the most cases are the same states that have the most frequent natural disasters, this is not always the case.

Despite the fact that they do not typically have strong hurricanes, New Jersey and New York have accounted for a disproportionate share of claims and funds paid out to non-compliant properties over the past decade.

In Ocean and Monmouth counties in New Jersey, there were more than 5,000 NFIP claims amounting to $350 million over the past decade.

Ocean County, New Jersey, was home to the highest number of policy claims from non-compliant properties over the past 10 years, accounting for 17% of all such claims. It was followed by Harris County, Texas, which was home to 16% of all non-compliant claims, bolstered by the major damage from 2017’s Hurricane Harvey.

Seven of the top 10 counties ranked by claim amounts from non-compliant properties are in New Jersey and New York.

Despite its No. 1 ranking, an additional 46,000 policies have been taken out on non-compliant properties in Ocean County, New Jersey, over just the past five years.

“Just two storms were responsible for $750 million in damage to non-compliant homes in the last decade, and rising sea levels could put tens of thousands more properties in danger,” according to ValuePenguin.

About Author: Krista F. Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.

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