You are required by a lenders/mortgage comps to buy flood insurance when you are buying a home in a flood zone.
Flood zone tables are maintained and updated bgy several companies, and the flood zone report for a given area is purchased by the lender when reviewing your application for a loan. Just like a credit report is used to evaluate the loan approval, so is a flood zone report. They are part of the docs a lender uses to evaluate you.
So, here is an example house in a flood zone. Twenty years ago, it wasn’t in a flood zone. Since rivers move and shoreline erosion is actually variable and can be startingly sudden, a house that was not in a flood zone suddenly is. It might be prone to flooding every 1,000 years (as of 1985), but here in 2004 the environment has changed such (including development of the area) that it is prone to flooding every 50 years.
So, now we find that the buyer can’t find insurance - flood insurance. Why? Because the insurers calculate the risks and realize the risk is too high.
So, let’s mandate that flood insurance be available…Ok, Mr Insurer, you MUST offer insurance in area X. Well, Mr Insurer asks for 3,000 bucks a year, and this disqualifies the applicant, or makes the house virtually un-sellable.
Well, come full circle and see how the Feds back the insureres from catostrophic losses and the insurers can offer more reasonable rate.
Now…I am not saying that all homes built weren’t in flood zones originally, BUT you should be able to see how developers/buyers/insurers and lenders take advantage of the whole process and develop areas that are just begging for a disaster.
If there was a way to help people who suddenly found themselves in a flood zone, but not have others take advantage, then the free market might control itself.
A builder…a lender, etc might not build in prone areas if insurance weren’t available…but then you have local interests…tourism issues and politicians screaming because of a host of issues…