Putting a House Out of Reach of Flood, Insurance Hikes

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derossett house lifted above floodplain
WBAL/AOL On
Instead of letting the threat of another Hurricane Sandy-type flood get him down, a homeowner in suburban Baltimore is building up. Derek Derossett of Middle River, Md., has joined many other American homeowners by literally lifting his house out of the flood plain -- in this case by raising it more than 17 feet high. But as TV station WBAL reports in the above video, it wasn't a quick fix. Derossett's 86-year-old house had to be lifted from the existing foundation by a foot at a time, over a period of eight hours.

And the job is far from over. The next steps, Derossett told the Baltimore station, involve building a new foundation in place of the present one, then building a new floor beneath the raised house. Along with reducing the risk of flood damage, the homeowner should see lower insurance costs which could eventually recoup his investment.

Though the cost of lifting a house can, says The Associated Press, exceed more than $100,000, many homeowners are seeing annual flood insurance costs skyrocket by as much as 800 percent. So the cost of lifting a house above the flood line might bring returns in a decade -- not to mention eliminate the additional expenses and frustrations that can result from storm tides inundating your home. (Among the many horror stories that followed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy were complaints about insurers being slow to honor policies, and offering far less in payouts than homeowners expected or needed to rebuild.)

It might come as no surprise then that, according to the National Flood Insurance Program, lifting a house above the flood plain is the most common way in the U.S. to reduce flood risk.


THOSE SUBJECT TO FLOOD INSURANCE HIKES:
4 PHOTOS
Properties at Risk of Insurance Rate Hikes
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Putting a House Out of Reach of Flood, Insurance Hikes

Homes that suffer flood damage exceeding their "fair market value."

Pictured: A hurricane-damaged home in Scituate, Mass.

Homes that repeatedly suffer severe losses ("four or more claims payments of over $5,000 or two claims that exceed the value of the property").

Pictured: Hurricane Rita floodwaters pass under a damaged house built on stilts in Orange, Texas, in 2005 -- four weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.

Properties in which the cost of repairing damages or of recent improvements exceeds "30 percent of the fair market value of the property."

Pictured: This house in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward, which was hard-hit by Hurricane Katrina, was rebuilt and elevated according to new flood rules.

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Previous posts about flood insurance:
New Laws Set to Hit Home in 2014
Move to Delay Flood-Insurance Changes Falters in Congress
Storm of Protest Over Rising Flood Insurance Rates

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