…a house is not a home until you love where you live…

What Does FEMA Have to Do with Development in Miami

No one can see into the future, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. 

In architecture, that means we don’t want to merely design a home to make sure it’s current, but we also want to anticipate how you’ll want to live in the home 10+ years from now.

While that mostly means we want to make sure you have room for growing kids and space for your in-laws to move in (or make sure there’s no room for them – we don’t judge) as they age. 

In South Florida, looking ahead also means knowing there’s a good chance your home will go through a hurricane. 

While we always make sure our clients’ homes are up to code and will do just fine hosting a ‘hurricane party,’ there have been some recent changes to federal laws that are important to consider when building your forever home here in South Florida. 

FEMA, Flood Insurance and Your Custom Home

If you’ve lived in Miami for a while, you’ve come to know the nuances of property insurance – specifically, wind policies are different than flood policies and if you don’t have both, you’re likely in for a fight with your insurer if you ever have to file a claim. 

To take a step back – we should probably share a brief history on flood insurance. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created back in 1968. There was a lack of private flood insurance available and the NFIP was key to making sure homeowners paid to protect their homes from flood damage, so that the federal government didn’t have regularly provide disaster assistance. 

FEMA has administered the program since and we all have gone about our lives, paying our annual premiums and (most of us) not really thinking about it much. 

Fast forward to October 2021 – FEMA’s method of determining insurance premiums is changing from using their flood insurance rate maps to a more current system (they’re calling it Risk Rating 2.0) that evaluates an individual property’s risk of flooding and what improvements have been done to the property to protect it from water damage.

What does this mean? In 2022, not much – everything should stay the same. But in 2023 (and 2024, and 2025 and so on) individual properties will start to see their annual flood insurance premiums rise – some up to 18% a year.

That’s where we come in. 

Protecting Your Home from Flood Insurance Hikes

There are many ways we can adjust your home’s redesign to incorporate details that will reduce your home’s flood insurance premiums in the years ahead – this can range from elevating utilities (such as electric panels, water heaters, HVAC systems etc) and inserting flood openings in the crawlspace underneath your home to jacking up the existing home or re-grading the property (if you’re going to undertake a new build) to add some elevation. 

The good news: all of this can be done in a way that will keep your home’s aesthetics front of mind, so you don’t have to sacrifice design for practical adjustments. 

If you have any questions about how to future-proof your home, contact us today.