How to buy a condo with confidence

Beware of lender-required flood insurance

A condo may be in a high-risk flood zone, and the bank can require owners to purchase flood insurance, says Ronald Jetmore, principal of Jetmore Insurance Group in Lusby, Md.

Even second-floor units may require coverage in some locations.

High-risk flood insurance can be expensive, and premiums can increase annually. You’ll have to pay the premiums every year for as long as you have a mortgage.

Rates among flood insurers can differ slightly, Jetmore says, but rates are almost identical, no matter which company you use, because the federal government regulates the rates.

Choosing the highest deductible and opting out of contents coverage will help you get the lowest premium and make it easier to qualify for your loan, he says.

Use the search tool at floodsmart.gov to see the flood risk for any address, and contact an agent for a quote on a particular unit.