New Orleans Flood Insurance Costs and Requirements

New Orleans Flood Insurance Costs and Requirements fluctuate depending on where your property is located and how far above (or below) the Flood Zone you lie.  New Orleans elevation levels transcend neighborhoods and can even be different for two of the exact same style properties located on the same block.  There are two major Flood Zones- A and X.  Flood Zone “A” and variations of “A” means that properties in these area are in the Flood Zone and insurance is generally going to be more expensive.  For this map that is the pinker color.  Flood Zone “X” (formerly Flood Zones “B” and “C”) means that properties in these areas are not in a Flood Zone and insurance is not necessarily required.    Here is FEMAs map of what lies above (purple) and below (green) the Flood Line.

Flood Insurance can be a deal breaker for some home buyers, particularly for Real Estate Investors trying to reach positive cash flow numbers.  If flood insurance is a major concern for you, here are a few ways to avoid a hefty Flood Insurance Policy:

  1. Buy a home in an area that lies above the flood line: The easiest way to ensure your home won’t flood (and thus not have to fool with flood insurance) is to stick to the areas of the above maps that aren’t at risk for flooding.  Some good quality neighborhoods for First Time Home Buyers that encompass these areas include:
  • Leonidas, East Carrolton, and Freret Neighborhoods Uptown. More commonly referred to by locals as Oak Street/Maple Street/Freret Street Neighborhoods, these neighborhoods are home to many young professionals and college students but also some of the best restaurants and shopping the city has to offer.  These neighborhoods would be great for First Time Home Buyers and Investors looking for rental income due to the proximity of the Universities.
  • East Riverside and West Riverside, Irish Channel Neighborhoods Uptown: These neighborhoods are also in a favorable flood zone and home to some of the best shopping and restaurants the city has to offer.  These neighborhoods host less Multi-Family homes than the aforementioned other Uptown Neighborhoods but rather Single Family Homes ideal for a family.
  • City Park/Fairgrounds Neighborhood: These two MidCity Neighborhoods have the distinct advantage of being close to two of the finest facilities New Orleans has to offer, City Park and the Fairgrounds (the namesake of reach respective neighborhoods), are conveniently located to Highways 610 and I-10, and, for the most part, lie above the Flood Zone line.
  • French Quarter, Marigny, and Bywater Neighborhoods: Brian Williams made headlines for fabricating a story where he came under fire during war (or something), but New Orleanians knew he was full of it well before it made national headlines. How?  Brian Williams went on record years ago saying he saw a body floating by from his hotel room in the French Quarter during Hurricane Katrina… but locals new that the French Quarter didn’t flood because this neighborhood lies above the Flood Line!
  1. Buy an Elevated Home or Raise Your Home: There are many great neighborhoods that belong in Flood Zone A, and odds are you’re going to find and fall in love with a place where flood insurance is going to hurt.  You can bite the bullet and pay the flood insurance, you can raise your home, or sometimes in these areas are already raised.    Take this listing of mine for example.  This is technically in the flood zone but the house is raised four feet off the ground using Pressure Treated Wood (so the wood doesn’t warp from water) and flood insurance for my client is dirt cheap whereas if it were on the ground, flood insurance would be costly.
  1. Buy in Cash: Flood Insurance in New Orleans is only mandatory if you are using a mortgage to secure your property.  If you’re a risk taker buying a property in a flood zone that lies below the flood line, if you’re paying all cash then you are not required to purchase flood insurance.

As mentioned before, flood zones don’t vary per neighborhood necessarily rather can change on the same block of the same street.   The owner of one of my prior listings own’s their home outright and are literally feet away from being in Flood Zone X as opposed to Flood Zone A, so they opt not to have it.

If you are buying a home all cash, I’ve got a great Realtor to refer you to!