INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Indiana residents should take care when rebuilding flood-damaged homes or their flood-insurance premiums could increase considerably, caution local officials and representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Homes that sustained "substantial damage" in the recent floods must be rebuilt to certain specifications as outlined in local community floodplain ordinances ? or risk being in violation of those ordinances.
A home has substantial damage if the cost to repair it to pre-disaster conditions exceeds 50 percent of the home's market value. (Some local ordinances may define substantial damage as a smaller percentage.) In Indiana, such substantially damaged homes must be elevated two feet above the Base Flood Elevation when they are rebuilt in order to comply with the provisions of the local ordinances.
If substantially damaged homes are not elevated, they risk being in violation. Residents whose homes are in violation and who also have policies from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) could see their annual flood-insurance premiums jump significantly.
The Base Flood Elevation is the national standard used by the NFIP and all federal agencies for the purposes of requiring the purchase of flood insurance and regulating new development. Base Flood Elevations are typically shown on Flood Insurance Rate Maps.
Residents can determine the percentage of damage to their homes by comparing the estimated cost to repair the building to pre-damage conditions to the market value of the building.? If that percentage is more than 50 percent, then the building is substantially damaged and must be elevated when rebuilt in order to be compliant with local ordinances.
Up to $30,000 may be available to help flood insurance policyholders make their homes compliant. If policyholders live in noncompliant homes substantially damaged by flood and located within Special Flood Hazard Areas, a provision of flood insurance called Increased Cost of Compliance may provide funds to bring their homes into compliance with local ordinances by elevating, relocating or demolishing the structures.
If residents have flood-insurance questions, they are encouraged to call the NFIP at 1-800-CALL-FLOOD, ext. 314. They can also meet with FEMA mitigation specialists at a Disaster Recovery Center.
Currently there are two recovery centers operating in affected areas, both in Lake County. They are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday until Nov. 14. Locations are:
- Manuszczak Appliance Store, 9450 Calumet Ave., Munster 46321
- Ivy Tech Community College, 1440 E. 35th Ave., Gary 46409
For questions about how to rebuild in compliance with local floodplain ordinances, affected residents should contact local community planning or zoning departments.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.