Outdated flood maps shouldn’t determine your flood insurance investment

Huge apartment complexes that are popping up across Southwest Florida are completely changing the landscape, specifically they are changing flooding patterns.

Experts agree, saying everyone in Florida is in a flood zone.

But some flood maps haven’t been updated in years.

“After Irma went through, everyone who did not have flood insurance didn’t realize they needed it, and now they’re wishing they had it,” said Kathleen Marchese.

She was prepared with flood insurance for Hurricane Irma but many of her North Fort Myers neighbors were not.

“Unfortunately some of the people in our neighborhood did have to relocate because they just couldn’t afford to make the repairs on their homes,” she said.

Although FEMA is constantly updating flood maps throughout the country, some areas of Southwest Florida have not had updates in years.

And expert Donald Duke says people should get flood insurance regardless of lines on the map.

“Those lines were never intended to be a firm and fast delineation of here is flooding here is not,” he said.

Duke says one of the main reasons for more flooding is the changing landscape.

“If we have one development after another, after another, after another, that change…it can really add up.”

Marchese has witnessed that change herself.

“I think it’s necessary that the maps are updated because the landscape of the area has changed dramatically over the last even 10 years,” she said.

But other homeowners like Robin Williams are not convinced insurance is the way to go.

“I’ll probably just save my own money and whenever I have an issue I’ll deal with it.”

Duke says that 25 percent of floods occur outside of FEMA’s designated flood lines.

Reporter:Morgan Rynor