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Q & A: Do I need to elevate my home?

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BATON ROUGE- The unnamed storm that swept through our area last month will go down as the fourth most expensive flood in the National Flood Insurance Program's history, according to Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. A group of lawmakers gathered at the Capitol today to discuss flood recovery and response.

Here are some helpful questions you may need answered if your home flooded.

Will I need to elevate my home?
Answer: It depends. If your home is in a flood zone, and you are built below the base flood elevation (see local flood zone maps) and received damage exceeding 50% of the home's market value, yes.

How high will I need to elevate it?
Answer: Your home must be brought into compliance according to National Flood Insurance Program guidelines. That means, it has to be brought up to the base flood elevation in accordance with today's flood maps.

If I built my home decades ago in accordance with maps at the time, do the new maps apply to me?
Answer: Yes, you must get in compliance with today's maps.

How do I see if my home is in a flood zone?
Answer: Click HERE to visit floodmaps.lsuagcenter.com

What if my home flooded more than 50% of the fair market value, but I lived in "Flood Zone X?"
Answer: You will not be required to elevate your home.

What if my home flooded more than 50% of the fair market value, but my slab is at the base flood elevation?
Answer: You will not be required to elevate your home.

If I own my home, but it's below the base flood elevation can I repair it on my own?
Answer: You MUST get permission from your municipality's permits division. Each municipality has the authority to issue a cease and desist order if you are repairing your home, but have not brought it into compliance with the base flood elevation. You can also face stiff fines.

After Katrina, federal programs were in place to help people elevate their homes. Do those programs exist now?
Answer: Right now, there is no such federal or state program in place to help homeowners elevate their homes.

Currently damage estimates are still being tallied. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon estimates 65,000 vehicles were totaled from the flooding. About 28,000 people have filed claims with the National Flood Insurance Program since last month.

It is not clear, yet, how many people would be required to elevate their homes.  Experts predict it could cost up to $65 per square foot to elevate a house. 


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