Today we're going to be talking about crawlspace foundations. What is a crawlspace foundation? what is FEMA is definition of a crawlspace foundation? and what is the rule of five and how can it impact your flood insurance? How could it possibly impact your flood insurance claims? Those are things we're going to briefly discuss today in the podcast.

Remember if you've got questions about flood insurance, flood zone changes, maybe even flood claims you've had, you can always visit our website, Flood Insurance Guru for resources on these subjects. So let's talk about today, crawlspace foundations and the rule of 5.

First of all, you know what is a crawl space foundation? Well, according to FEMA, crawlspace foundation is that area below the main part of the house that is either used for parking, access or storage. Now where does the rule five come into play? Well, in order for it to be a crawlspace, can only have a foundation level up to 5 feet. So 5 feet and below with crawlspace foundation, you're fine.


Once you get past the 5 feet on the foundation though, then the foundation could change to an elevated building on a solid foundation. The reason for that is it's five feet, one inch and up is when it's going to convert to that. So that's important to remember when you're looking at your flood insurance options because if it's five feet, one inch, and the house was built before 1974 which is a pre-firm structure. Remember pre firm structures and post firm structures. So we're going to have different ratings pre from structures or structures that were built before the first flood map. Post-firm structures or structures that were built after the first flood map.



So if you have a property that's in a flood zone A or flood zone  AE and it's post-firm, it's always gonna generally require an elevation certificate according to FEMA. If it's before then it's not going to require one. These rates can be completely different with crawlspace between pre firm and post firm structures, a lot  has to do with subsidized rates and guidelines on new construction, substantial improved properties, and things like that. So that's kind of the difference there.

Red 3D Digit 5 Isolated on White Background.

Where does the rule of 5 possibly have an impact on you if you have a flood insurance claim? Well, let's say that your property is actually more than five feet above the ground and the foundation is five feet one itch. Well it could be that your flood insurance claim gets delayed or is not paid out until that back premium is paid.


It could be just a remaining year that FEMA requires you to pay or It could be several years. So this just something you want to be cautious about when you're  looking at your flood insurance options, you're talking with an insurance agent, or you're talking with someone at FEMA. It's always recommended though, even if it's not required to measure it. So if a flood insurance claim does occur, you know that your claim will be paid out properly. So this is what the rule of 5 is and how it has to do with crawlspace foundations. 

Remember when it comes to crawlspace foundations they can create a great opportunity for minimizing flood damage and minimizing flood premiums for a few reasons

  • Built above grade many times
  • Built with flood vents many times

 

 

non engineered

 

So when you install flood vents, which are a form of wet flood-proofing  water can continue to flow through under the building and flow out through these flood vents. What happens is many times this crawlspace does not have to be counted as the lowest rated floor because of this, which can minimize the flood insurance premiums. You know, just recently we had a customer that was looking at a $2,500 flood rate with FEMA, but because of the type of crawl space that it was, the rate was actually $600 a year. So these can be big differences. So this is how crawlspace foundations work, the rule of 5 impact on flood insurance claims, and even flood insurance premiums. 

Maybe you want to look at putting flood vents in and you want to see if you fall within this rule of 5 with your foundation, and your cost? Please reach out to us Flood Insurance Guru you can always check out our YouTube and our Facebook channels, The Flood Insurance Guru where we do daily flood education videos. You can also check out our open Facebook group, Flood Education and  Insurance Awareness. 

 

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Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com