In today's blog we're going to be talking about over the pond and flood insurance.

If you've got questions about flood insurance, flood education or floods zone changes, then make sure to visit our website.

Today's topic on our blog actually comes from my good friend, Jason Cass over at Agency intelligence. He had a really great sales trainer on his podcast. He was from the UK and they were joking about over the pond, but it got me to start thinking about over the pond and something we see every day. It's something that we really want to address to help you understand flood risk.

If you live around a pond, if you live around a Lake, or maybe even live on a river, then you know flood insurance rates are different from one property to the next. This is what we want to discuss today.

So imagine this, you live on the Tennessee river in Florence, Alabama, or you live  on Smith Lake in Arley, Alabama, Jasper, Alabama or Cullman, Alabama.

Your neighbors got a $500 flood insurance rate, but you have a $2,000 flood insurance rate when you're right next door to each other.

You know, we hear from people all the time to say, hey, I'm at the same elevation. Why are rates so different?

You know, a lot of this has to do with flood maps, topography, elevation, and location.

We want to talk about a customer situation we had about year and a half ago in Florence, Alabama. The customer was paying about $2,000 a year for flood insurance had been told that he couldn't fight against FEMA and that he couldn't dispute his flood zone. So he just kind of accepted it. The only problem was the difference between his boathouse and his primary residence was about 80 feet up a hill.

This was also 80 feet above the base flood elevation. Remember the base flood elevation is the level that FEMA fills that flooding could come to.

You can learn more about what is base flood elevation here.

 

If you are above the base flood elevation, maybe your premium doesn't match your risk. That's one of the things we specialize in here at the flood insurance guru, it's making sure your premium equals the right risk.

That's what we're looking at today when it comes to the ponds, your house, and your neighbors. Making sure that those levels are correct.

Maybe an elevation certificate does make sense to get, maybe it doesn't.

Looking at private flood insurance we see a big difference.

Private companies and the national flood insurance program use different factors right now. Because of this, they can give different rates.

Residence type could also have a big impact on flood insurance rates through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Maybe that property is a secondary residence and they've got through the national flood insurance program, which means they're paying a surcharge. Many private companies do not charge this surcharge.

So when you are looking at flood insurance look at two things

  1. Private flood insurance options
  2. Mitigation

Not every rate is going to be the same and not every risk is going to be the same. This is where private flood insurance options maybe up to 40% cheaper.

Mitigation can also have a big impact on flood insurance rates.

So when it comes to these things, if you've got questions about flood insurance over the pond, if you've got questions about flooded insurance for your Lake home, or maybe a home on the river, then click here.

Remember we have an educational background of flood mitigation, which means we're here to help you understand your flood risks, your flood insurance, and mitigate your property.

If you want more information on flood education and flood insurance, make sure to visit our website. and also check out our YouTube channel where we do these daily foot education videos. And then you can also check out our podcast, which has flood insurance guru.

 

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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

 

 

The flood insurance world can be a confusing place and the mortgage world can be even more confusing.

You have all these different guidelines fro different loan types. Then there are residential loans and commercial loans.

Today we want to look at Fannie Mae loans. Here at The Flood Insurance Guru we work with every kind of loan out there. However we spend some extra time on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans.

The video below gives a brief explanation of how these loans are different when it comes to flood insurance.

 

Today we want to look at Fannie Mae loans and some things you need to know before taking out this type of loan in a special flood hazard area.

First of all what is a special flood hazard area?

This is the area that falls within the 100 year flood zone. Don't let that fool you this area can flood on a regular basis.

Flood insurance is required if there is a mortgage on a property in this area.

Now lets look at some things you will want to know about Fannie Mae loans

  1. Replacement cost
  2. Loss of income
  3. No financing
  4. No installments

You may have heard us discuss replacement cost and actual cash value policies. Its important to know that Fannie Mae requires replacement cost on properties in these areas.

So what about loss of income?

 

Fannie Mae usually requires 12 months of loss of income in these areas as well. There are many flood insurance companies that do not even offer loss of income. The National Flood Insurance Program is one of them.

Now lets look at payment options. When it comes to paying for your flood insurance there are a few things Fannie Mae will not allow when it comes to making your flood insurance payment.

They will not allow premium financing on flood insurance policies. This is when you reach an agreement for a company to pay the premium and you agree to pay monthly or in installments. This can also carry a high interest rate with it.

The other type of payment Fannie Mae will not allow is installments. While most flood insurance companies do not offer installments it is a popular thing for commercial insurance.

So there are some things to look out for when doing your Fannie Mae loan. So if you have further questions about flood insurance then click here.

You can also check out our daily flood education videos on YouTube or our podcast.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. So we are here to help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property long term.

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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

 

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Have you ever been in a deli line and seen the options for cheese. Why would someone pick the cheese that has holes in it?

Well this is what I was thinking when I was standing in the Madison Georgia Walmart a few weeks ago.

You are getting less cheese for the same amount of money and sometimes more money.

The same can be said for flood insurance policies in Madison Georgia and other areas.

Everyday we see flood insurance policies that look like a piece of swiss cheese. This policies have all kinds of holes in them.

Some have more exclusions than they have inclusions.

Some mirror the National Flood Insurance Program and some don't.

So what can you do to make sure your flood insurance policy in Madison Georgia  does not look like a piece of swiss cheese?

The first thing you want to do is work with an insurance agent that has experience with private flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program.

Ask the following questions

  1. Have you ever handled flood insurance claims?
  2. Do you recommend replacement cost or actual cash value.
  3. What is covered below grade?
  4. Have you ever had someone use additional living expenses?

These are some of the major areas where we see people having gaps in coverage when it comes to flood insurance.

Understanding how loss settlement on claims is handled will help you understand what might actually come out of your pocket.

 

Replacement cost and actual cash value is another area where we see major gaps in coverage.

 

Imagine your home has 4 feet of water in and the house ends up being a total loss.

The cost to rebuild your home is $200,000 but the claim check you get is $125,000. That is the kind of scenario an actual cash value policy could cause you to be in.

Something else that most people don't think to ask about is coverage below grade. In many situations there is no coverage for contents if they are below grade. In fact its a major question on most private flood insurance applications.

 

The last thing we want to look at is additional living expenses. This is something that is not offered on flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program.

 

As a result many times people do not ask about it when looking at a private flood insurance option.

I remember us setting up a customer with a private flood insurance policy in Nebraska.

This was the first time the customer had heard about additional living expenses being available. It's a good thing we included it because she was the only one on her street that had that coverage when a flood occurred along the Missouri river 6 months later.

So if you have further questions about making sure you don't have Swiss cheese gaps in your flood insurance policy then click here.

Want to learn more about flood insurance?

Then make sure to check out our YouTube channel and podcast below.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. That means we can help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property long term.

 

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

So you are getting ready for work in the morning and you look in the mirror.

What do you see?

You see yourself

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That might make you happy or it might not. Thats a different discussion for a different day.

Flood insurance mirrored policies work the same way. They have to resemble each other.

So in today's blog we want to answer a three questions

  1. What is a mirrored flood insurance policy
  2. How does it protect you?
  3. What is not included?

A mirrored flood insurance policy has to do with private flood insurance policies. We are talking about admitted companies and non admitted companies.

The video below explains what the difference is with these companies.

 

This is generally a private flood insurance policy that has to have the same parts as a standard flood policy with the National Flood Insurance Program. A few of the things we are talking about are listed below.

  1. Coverages just as broad
  2. Cancellation notice of 45 days
  3. Lawsuit period the same

So how does this mirroring protect you as a property owner?

It creates consistency when it comes to coverages and even when claims are paid out. After a claim is not the time to find out you don't have the right coverage or verbiage in your flood insurance policy.

So if you decide to go with one of these private companies it makes sure that it meets the banks requirements.

So what is not included in this mirroring. While this requirement does provide some consistency on the guidelines that must be followed, price is not one of them.

Price might be one of the biggest differences between these policies. While National Flood Insurance Program policies should be the same price no matter where you go, the same can not be said for private companies.

We have seen a big difference in pricing with private companies. Just this morning we had a customer in Johnson City Tennessee who got a $3000 flood insurance quote from one carrier but we were able to get him another option less than $1500.

So when you are looking at these options you want to think about that. Make sure to get at least 3 different private flood insurance options.

Want to know what your flood insurance options are available in areas like Johnson city Tennessee? Click here

Maybe you want to learn more about flood insurance or flood education then check out our YouTube channel.

YouTube Channel

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. So we are here to help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property longer term.

 

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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

It's the question that gets asked probably a hundred times a week. Insurance agents, property owners, and even banks want to know the answer.

Everyday we see FHA loans fall apart because of flood insurance. Many times flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program can be higher. Then you might have to pay the cost of an elevation certificate.

In 2019 FDIC made a major move in the industry when they started to allow private flood insurance.

People assumed this meant FHA would start accepting private flood insurance. However because FHA insures loans they have different guidelines they do not accept private flood insurance. As of November 2020 FHA still only allows flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, but hopefully that will be changing soon.

On November 10, 2020 FHA made an announcement they were looking at accepting private flood insurance. They opened up a 60 day comment period for people to leave comments on this possible action.

So what happens next and what will be the impacts?

 

What's Next

After this 60 day comment period FHA will look at the comments and probably make a decision by the 2nd quarter of 2021. If they decide to approve it then they would probably delay it going into effect by 6 months. This is what FDIC in 2019.

So what could the impacts be?

 

The Impact

Well if you currently have an FHA loan then these could possibly cause a major decrease in your mortgage payment. You might see a 40% rate decrease in the private market.

 

However if this is passed don't go and try to jump to the private market right away.

FEMA has strict guidelines for cancellation. Unless you are refinancing your house you may not qualify until your policy is up for renewal.

 

In 2019 we saw a lot of people lose money because of FEMA cancellation rules. Many times private carriers require payment up front and charge minimum earned premiums.

This means you might be out 25% of the money you paid for a private policy because FEMA won't let you cancel.

 

We will continue to monitor this situation and continue to educate the public as this process moves forward. If you have questions about your flood insurance options then click here.

Want to learn more about flood insurance?

Check out our YouTube channel and Podcast.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation which means we are here to help you understand flood risks, flood insurance and mitigating your property long term.

 

Contact Us

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

Oxford Alabama is a beautiful area in East Alabama. It is just a few miles from the Georgia State line and a short trip to the Alabama mountains.

 

I went to school in Jacksonville Alabama which is only about 15 miles North of Oxford.

I remember going to college there and Oxford Alabama having the only movie theater.

My college room mates worked at the Amstar movie theater so on Thursday nights we would get to preview the new movies.

flood

That was over 15 years ago and Oxford Alabama has changed a lot. It has become one of the premier places to live in East Alabama. As it has grown so have different flood zones in the area.

So today we want to talk about how to buy flood insurance in Oxford Alabama?

 

 

Is there a right way and a wrong way to buy flood insurance?

Not exactly but if you aren't careful your wallet could be hurting.

First let's look at flood insurance options are available in Oxford Al?

Oxford Alabama is a participating community in the National Flood Insurance Program. This means that Oxford Alabama has access to flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Oxford Alabama also has access to private flood insurance companies. These are companies that offer flood insurance outside the National Flood Insurance Program.

Buying flood insurance in Oxford Alabama can feel stressful.

How much coverage do you need?

Is the price the same?

It can feel overwhelming so today we want to walk you through how to buy flood insurance in Oxford Alabama?

First of all when buying flood insurance you want to get a good understanding of what flood zone you are in? You can click here to check your flood zone.

Flood zones can have a big impact on flood insurance rates and the requirement to carry flood insurance in Oxford Alabama.

So let's look at a few of the flood zones in Oxford Alabama and what each one means.

The first flood zone is flood zone X. This is considered to be low risk, but that doesn't mean flooding does not occur in these zones in Oxford Alabama. The good news is this is where some of your best flood insurance rates are at. The video below also explains what is flood zone x?

 

Then there are flood zone A and flood zone AE. These are considered to be part of the special flood hazard area. This means if you carry a mortgage flood insurance will be required. The videos below explain these zones in more detail for you.

 

 

Now that we know the three main flood zones in Oxford Alabama, let's take you through the buying process.

The example we will use today is the purchase of a new home.

Let's use Thomas as our example. Thomas is in the process of relocating his family to Oxford Alabama.

He has found the perfect home for his family. It has a big yard for his kids and even room for his boat. The home backs up to a lake which is perfect for him to do his weekend bass fishing.

Thomas is ready to put a contract on the home but then finds out it is in a special flood hazard area.

What should Thomas do?

Well Thomas should reach out to an insurance agency that specializes in flood insurance like The Flood Insurance Guru.

He wants to find someone that can walk him through each option.

So lets look at option 1

Let's say that there is a current National Flood Insurance Program policy on the property. Depending on if there is enough coverage on the policy you may be able to do a policy assumption.

What is a policy assumption in Oxford Alabama?

 

This is when a flood insurance policy is transferred from one property owner to another one.

Some of the benefits of this is it can lock in flood insurance rates that are no longer available in Oxford Alabama?

So what if there is not a policy on the property in Oxford Alabama?

Well then you will need to set up a new flood policy.

The options could depend on what type of loan Thomas is doing on the property?

Let's look at an FHA loan first.

What are the flood insurance options on FHA loans in Oxford Alabama?

As we write this blog in November 2020 FHA loans currently only allow for flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

So what is the process of getting a flood insurance quote in Oxford Alabama on FHA loans?

Let's look at two things pre-firm and post-firm structures. These are structures that were built before and after the first flood map. If a property was built after the first flood map and it is in the special flood hazard area then an elevation certificate would probably be required.

 

Where can you get an elevation certificate in Oxford Alabama? Click here to find out

 

So you have been able to get your FHA flood insurance quote on the property but it seems very high.

Yes National Flood Insurance Program flood insurance quotes in Oxford Alabama can be high. This is why its important to work with someone that can help you minimize the premiums through mitigation.

So now let's look at If Thomas decides to do a conventional loan.

Thomas already has a National Flood Insurance Program quote so let's look at the other options.

There are plenty of private flood insurance options in Oxford Alabama. We offer about twenty different options here at The Flood Insurance Guru. Click here to get a quote.

When getting these quotes you want to make sure to get about 5 different options in the Oxford Alabama area. Each private flood insurance carrier looks at risk differently. So one option might be $1500 and another option might be $500.

So Thomas has gotten all his quotes together. The private flood insurance quotes seem to be about 40% less than the National Flood Insurance Program quotes.

Why is that?

Well private flood insurance carriers use different rating factors other than flood zones.

After getting all the quotes together Thomas decides to go with the conventional loan because it is going to save him about $1500 a year on his flood insurance premiums.

Thomas is able to get moved into his new house in Oxford Alabama. Could you hav imagined if Thomas had not known about all the different private flood insurance options?

He may have walked away from his dream house. Understanding the flood insurance options in Oxford Alabama is just as important as understanding how to buy flood insurance in oxford Alabama?

So if you have further questions about flood insurance in Oxford Alabama then click here.

You can also learn more about flood insurance in Oxford Alabama by checking out our YouTube channel and podcast.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation which means we are here to help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property long term.

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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

 

Does flood insurance cover my property or not?

It's a question we get everyday from property owners.

Water damage is probably one of the top questions we get asked about. There are lots of different water damage scenarios. Especially when it comes to water back up.

So what is water back up?

 

This is water that backs up through its pipes. This could be water backing up into your home, this could be water backing up in the streets as a result of clogged drains.

Today we want to talk about storm water runoff backup and how flood insurance covers it.

Before we get into water back up let's remember when flood insurance pays out.

Generally one of two situations has to be met.

  1. 2 properties or more inundated with water
  2. 2 acres or more inundated with water

There are many cities across the country that have faced challenges of storm water runoff water back up causing problems.

Let's look at what happened in German town Tennessee in 2019. The area that flooded was not an area that generally had much concern for flooding especially as a result of storm water run off. However a 500 year flood changed that in 2019 and months later the residents faced challenges of flooding.

According to WREG.com residents feel that drains were to blame for the flood waters. While public officials state the drains work fine residents complain they are not big enough.

Many of these people had water in their homes like they never have before.

So would flood insurance cover this storm water runoff backup?

According to WREG more than $7 million of damage involving more than 200 homes. This meets the National Flood Insurance Program definition of flood insurance.

Now that doesn't mean it would be covered in every situation. We talk to property owners every day where their property is the only property impacted.

As a result they had no flood insurance coverage available.

It's important to understand your flood insurance policy coverages. The National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance companies could cover things differently. So make sure to read through your policy jacket and if you have questions click here.

Also if you want to learn more about flood insurance then make sure to check out our podcast or our YouTube channel where we post daily flood education videos.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. So we are here to help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance and mitigating your property long term.

Contact Us

 

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

 

You were told your home would never flood but now you are looking at 4 feet of water in your home.

 

 

It was recently determined that roughly 1 inch of water can cause $21,000 in damage.

So as you can imagine 4 feet of water could be a total loss.

This is exactly what happened to multiple customers of ours after the flooding in Centre Alabama in 2019.

While these residents had the coverage to replace their homes not everyone is as lucky.

Today we want to discuss what is flood replacement cost and what is actual cash value?

First of all replacement cost is the amount of money an insurance carrier feels it would take to rebuild your home.

So then what flood actual cash value? This is the replacement cost-depreciation.

As you can imagine after depreciation this can leave a pretty big difference.

Most of the time actual cash value does not come close to being enough coverage to rebuild your home. Time and time again we have seen property owners have to take out loans to cover the difference just to get their home rebuilt.

This is exactly what happened to many flood victims in the Tulsa Oklahoma area after the 2019 flood. Many of these residents only insured their properties for the amount they owed the bank. The problem is that this didn't give most property owners half the coverage they needed.

So what if full replacement coverage is not available?

This is common with National Flood Insurance Program policies as residential policies max out at $250,000.

In order to make sure you get replacement coverage up top $250,000 you need to follow the 80% rule.

 

This means you insure the home for at least 80% of the replacement coverage or $250,000.

What about private flood insurance companies?

Now each company has a different guideline. Some go off the 80% rule and some don't. The benefit is private flood insurance can offer much more coverage some times into the millions.

So if you have questions about flood replacement coverage then click here.

If you want to learn more about flood insurance then make sure to check out our podcast or our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. This means we can help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property long term.

 

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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

 

Today we are talking about flood insurance policy riders.

So what is a flood insurance policy rider?

flood insurance policy rider

Have you ever seen that scene in a movie where people are riding horses along the beach. Now have you ever seen that scene where mustang horses are running wild through a field.

flood insurance policy rider

Its like the rider and the horse are one. Well this is how flood insurance policy riders work. They are additional coverages that are added to a policy.

Have you ever had a certain insurance coverage denied? For example you get water in your home but then find out you don't have water coverage. This could have been additional coverage that was available. This is called a rider or an endorsement.

We see flood insurance claims denied everyday because the right rider was not added. For example maybe you didn't select replacement cost as additional coverages and when a claim occurred your payout was very low.

The replacement cost rider could have helped protect you in this situation. The same thing can be said for replacement cost on contents or additional living expenses.

Additional living expenses also known as loss of use is a an additional rider that is not added many times.

So when someones property floods they aren't given the funds for a temporary place to stay.

These are just a few example of flood insurance policy riders. When selecting flood insurance coverages you want to make sure your insurance agent goes through each possible rider and insurance coverage.

During a claim is not the time to find out that you don't have the right coverages.

So if you have further questions about flood insurance policy riders or flood insurance then click here.

You can also check out our podcast or YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. So we are here to help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property long term.

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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

We all know flood insurance can be confusing.

When is an elevation certificate required?

What are the flood insurance options?

What is a flood insurance policy assumption?

 

There are about a thousand other questions that people have when it comes to flood insurance. You can find the answers to some of those questions in our 1000 flood education videos in 1000 days.

Today we want to look at flood insurance policy assumption.

 

 

We have discussed this before in our blogs and videos. However let's define what is a flood insurance policy assumption?

Flood insurance policy assumption is generally something that is done through the National Flood Insurance Program. This is when a flood insurance policy is moved from one property owner to another property owner.

Recently we have been helping a potential home buyer with this process in Gadsden Alabama.

The current home owner has had flood insurance in place for about 10 years. When they originally set up the flood policy in Gadsden Alabama in 2010 the property was in a low risk flood zone also known as a flood zone X.

However since then the property has been moved from a low risk flood zone to a high risk flood zone also known as a flood zone AE.

 

Gadsden Alabama has a lot of high risk flood zones because it is located on the Coosa River.

So now that this flood zone has been changed can the policy still be assumed?

As long as the policy has had continuous coverage then this policy should be able to be assumed. This is actually one of the benefits of doing a flood insurance policy assumption. This can also be known as a grandfathered flood insurance policy because the flood zone is no longer available.

 

On the flood insurance policy it should show two things a rated flood zone and current flood zone.

The rated flood zone will tell you what flood zone the rates are based on and the current zone will tell you the what flood zone the property is currently located in.

So how do you do one of these flood insurance policy assumptions?

 

The video above actually walks you through filling out the paperwork for a policy assumption. If you need help then click here. We help property owners and insurance agents with this process everyday.

So thats how a policy assumption with a different flood zone works. If you have questions about flood insurance in Gadsden Alabama, other parts of Alabama, or anywhere in the United States then click here.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. This means we are here to help you understand your flood risks, your flood insurance, and mitigating your property against flooding.

 

Contact Us

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