Over the past month I have done a lot of traveling shooting flood education content. On those travels I have been in places that have been hit hard by flooding over the last few years. I traveled to Houston, Galveston, and Wimberly Texas. These areas have all see major flood damage over the last few years.

These areas also house many secondary and vacation homes for property owners. Some of these properties have seen minor flooding and some have seen major flooding. Many of these areas have seen loss of life as a result of flooding.

Blanco River flooding Wimberly Texas

As Tropical storm Beta approaches these areas and is expected to drop large amounts of rainfall and storm surge we want to look at what you can expect when it comes to your Texas flood insurance policy.

Through out these two areas in Texas people have two different types of flood insurance. They have the National Flood Insurance Program and they have private flood insurance. These two programs can be pretty different when it comes to coverages. Most people jump to the private flood insurance market when they can because it's cheaper and you can get better coverage. I think many people through our Port Aransas, Houston, and Galveston will tell you to read your policy.

galveston Texas coast

We mentioned earlier many of these properties are secondary or seasonal properties. What you may not know is many private flood insurance companies default to an actual cash value basis on these policies.

So what exactly does that mean for your Texas property?

Well it means you won't generally get the full amount on your policy. If you have a $250,000 flood policy you may only get $125,000. That could be a big surprise couldn't it. Thats exactly what happened to a lady in Houston after hurricane Harvey hit. She had a $150,000 flood policy that only paid out $15,000.

So you ask why?

Well she did not insure to 80% of replacement cost or the $250,000 max that the National Flood Insurance Program offers so her policy defaulted to actual cash value.

Thats a big shocker. So when you are setting up this flood insurance policy or if you ever change your flood insurance policy in Texas you want to have your insurance agent highlight these areas of the policy. When switching private flood insurance carriers make sure you are truly getting replacement cost on your policy up to the amount you have listed on the policy.

Maybe you don't have an agent that has done this or you don't have an agent at all?

Then click here and we will be glad to do a review with you.

While there are multiple options for flood insurance in Texas you want to make sure you are getting the policy that is right for you.

So if you live in Texas and want to learn more about your flood insurance options then make sure to check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel. You can also checkout our podcast for this video here.

 

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 to help you minimize flood losses and flood premiums.

 

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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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2020 has been a year for the books. Coronavirus has changed the world. It has caused illness worldwide, job loss like know one ever expected, and even challenged our personal rights and beliefs. Who would think most of the U.S. would be stuck in their homes for up to 6 weeks and churches would be empty.

Many have said the world is ending and for many it has and for others it feels like it has.

Depression has been a bigger challenge than ever before. I mean just look at how pastors have had to change the way they work. No more hospital visits to comfort people.

So what does Coronavirus have to do with flood insurance?

These two things have a lot more in common than most people think they do. Today we want to focus on one word that can bring these two topics together.

That's the word HOPE

You see through the Coronavirus pandemic we have seen families grow closer together in some of the hardest of times with the hope of coming out of this a stronger family. We have seen companies make major changes many changing work environments with the hope of becoming a stronger company.

We have seen individuals take extreme precautions to protect their families with the hope of not getting the Coronavirus.

We have seen lifestyles change with the hope of being able to pay the mortgage or rent.

The same can be said for flood insurance. People purchase flood insurance for many reasons and hope is one of them.

They hope that by having flood insurance it minimizes the impact that a flood disaster has on their family.

They purchase flood insurance with the hope that they never need to use it but if they do it's there.

I actually just spoke to a client this week that decided to purchase flood insurance when it wasn't required. I asked him why?

He said he has seen how others around him where impacted by not having flood insurance. He hoped to avoid this happening to him.

You see flood insurance is another way we try to protect our families with the hope that something never happens but if it does we are protected.

Whether its flood insurance or another disaster remember hope can get you through the darkest days. People can also find hope in others I know many people have gotten me through tough times in my life.

If you have questions about how to use flood insurance to protect your family or your business then click here. You can also checkout our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel or checkout our podcast.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation which means we can help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property longer term to minimize flood premiums and flood losses.

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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

 

So your Lake Eufaula property has been dealing with a drought for a few years. You think to yourself there is no way this place is going to flood anytime soon.

You decide not to let your flood insurance renew, and a few weeks later you realize it's a big mistake.

So what are some of the possible consequences in areas like Eufaula Alabama?

We want to look at three things

  1. Continued rates
  2. Waiting periods
  3. Impact on mortgage

    Check out the podcast below that takes this topic a little bit deeper for you.

     

Rates

So you realized that you made a big mistake by not renewing your flood insurance in Alabama. Will you get the same rate?

Let's look at the National Flood Insurance Program first. Let's say it been more than 30 days since you decided not to renew your flood policy. The National Flood Insurance Program will require you to start a new policy. You will lose the benefit of continuous coverage policy with them.

So what could be the impact?

Lets say you had a grandfathered policy on your Eufaula property and the rate is no longer available. This means you could be looking at a significantly higher rate with the National Flood Insurance Program. You may also be required to get an elevation certificate in order for them to give you a rate.

So what about private flood insurance?

This could work a little bit differently. Many private flood insurance companies have rates that change more often than the National Flood Insurance Program. This means that they may only honor the renewal rate up until the renewal date. The rate could be double if you have to do a new flood policy. It's important to understand the underwriting of each carrier when looking at this.

Waiting Periods

Will you be able to get coverage right away?

Maybe or maybe not.

If we are talking about the National Flood Insurance then they have the standard 30 day wait period.

Private flood insurance companies will have more options some may not have a wait period and others may have a wait period up to 15 days.

So does this mean you have to wait to do the flood application?

No it means when you complete the policy with them the effective date will show the start date so pay attention to that.

Mortgages

So what if you have a mortgage that requires flood insurance? There could be some major consequences here. If you decide to let your flood insurance cancel your mortgage company could force place coverage at 3x's the price under the mortgage portfolio protection program. This forced place policy also may not have the coverage that the other policies have in place. Generally these policies will just cover the loan amount and no contents.

So as you can see there can be a lot of consequences for not letting your flood insurance renew.Its important to keep this coverage in place as it is the number one disaster in the United States.

So if you have questions about what your flood insurance options are then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel.

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

 

Start My Flood Insurance Quote

 

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

Minnesota is a gorgeous state with a lot of history. Some of that history includes some historical floods.

I mean its called the land of 10,000 lakes.

So are there really 10,000 lakes?

That is a question we hear all the time about Minnesota.

Nope there is actually more than than that. It has been said that there are more than 12,000 lakes of at least 10 acres. depending on what you define a lake us there could be considered more than 15,000 lakes.

That is a lot of water for one state. As you can imagine the land of 10,000 lakes could cause you as a property owner 10,000 flood problems but is your flood premium one of them?

That's what we want to talk about today. You can also checkout our podcast below where we discuss this matter.

 

Its very common for Minnesota to have flood issues especially since it is home to the Mississippi river, St. Lawrence river, and Red River North.

Minnesota typically gets a lot of spring runoff from its snow melt. It gets more snow every year than most other parts of the country.

So when this snow melts it has to go somewhere and one of these 10,000 lakes is usually one of the places it ends up.

Some of these lakes maybe considered closed basin lakes.

So what is a closed basin lake?

Closed basin lakes can have a major impact on your flood insurance options in Minnesota.

So are you going to be dealing with $10,000 flood premiums in Minnesota because of these issues?

Maybe or maybe not

Lets look at some factors that can drive flood insurance rates in Minnesota.

Many older homes in Minnesota have full basements which can have a major impact on flood insurance premiums.

Understanding the difference between full basements and walkout basements is important.

This could be the difference between a $800 flood premium and a $2000 flood premium.

Something else to understand is what flood zone you are in.

There are three main flood zones in Minnesota. The videos below give you a brief description of each one of them.

 

 

Its important to understand which flood zones will require flood insurance and which ones will not. Its also important to understand that being in a low risk flood zone does not mean your property will not flood.

Now maybe you have a low flood premium or maybe you have a high flood premium in Minnesota. If you want to look at your different options simply click here.

You can also find more resources on our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

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

 

Minnesota Flood Insurance

 

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

 

What is flash flooding?

Flash flooding is when flooding occurs pretty quickly after an event like rainfall and goes away quickly.

So imagine this you are sitting in your car waiting on traffic on 280 and it starts raining. Well if you live somewhere like the Hoover area this could be a long wait. So you have been sitting there for about 30 minutes next thing you know the water around you starts rising. You look down and water starts coming in your vehicle.

Alabama Flash Flooding

Well what do you do?

You have to exit your vehicle to safety. So you get to the top of the vehicle. As you sit there and wait for help you think how did that happen so fast?

This is exactly what flash flooding is and how fast it can happen in the Birmingham area. This is normally what catches people by surprise.

People in the Vestavia and Pelham area experience this often when it rains.

These waters can rise very quickly and become very dangerous. So many people each year lose their lives to flash flooding because it happens so fast.

It can also be very destructive to properties. Just ask the residents of the Saint Louis area who just suffered some major property losses as a result of flash flooding.

So we have talked about what flash flooding is and if it is dangerous.

So is flash flooding in Alabama covered by flood insurance?

Let's look at what FEMA defines a flood as. According to FEMA a flood is when either 2 or more properties are inundated with water or 2 acres or more.

So in the situation we discussed about Saint Louis yes flood insurance should cover some things. However there are many situations where flash flooding doesn't meet this definition and coverage is not available.

So if you have further questions about flash flooding and flood insurance coverages in Alabama then make sure to visit our website.

You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel or check out 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 mitigate your property long term.

 

Start My Flood Insurance Quote

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

 

Flood insurance rates can be all over the board. Someone might have a rate of $450 in Birmingham Alabama then someone might have a rate of $2000 in Tuscaloosa Alabama.

So how much is too much for flood insurance in Alabama?

Well before we can really answer that question we need to look at some factors that can impact flood insurance in Alabama.

  1. Elevation
  2. Foundation
  3. Type of Coverage

So lets take a brief look at some things above that can impact flood insurance in places like Tuscaloosa, Pell City, Demopolis, Huntsville, and Birmingham Alabama.

Elevation plays a major role in flood insurance rates. As you can see with the photo below. The further your property is below the base flood elevation the higher your flood insurance premiums can be.

So the rate for a property that is negative -1 foot and a property that is -3 feet could be hundreds of dollars.

Now lets look at foundation types. Your foundation type could play a major role on your flood insurance premiums. Alabama homes are known for having basements which could cause many homes to have a more negative number on their elevation.

Homes with above grade crawlspaces could have an advantage if they have flood vents installed properly. If these things are down properly this may not count as your lowest rated floor. So while the elevation of the crawlspace might be -1 but the next floor is +2 this could serve as a great benefit to the premiums on a flood insurance policy.

Lets look at the 3rd factor which is the type of coverage. This could go a few ways whether you are using the property for commercial or residential use. Then there is the factor if it is considered to be residential or a non residential building.

Remember in order for a commercial property to be considered residential 75% of the living space has to be used for residential purposes.

As you can see there can be alot of different factors.

So lets get back to the question how much is too much for flood insurance in Alabama?

It depends if we are talking about the National Flood Insurance Program or a private flood insurance policy in Alabama. While all the rates with the National Flood Insurance Program should be the same many times lack of knowledge on the insurance agents part could cause you to see a difference.

On the private flood insurance side each carrier sets their rates based on the underwriting factors they use to insure a property.

These can be different from FEMA for example some companies will not insure properties in the 20 year flood plain or properties that are in the flood way.

Want to know what a floodway is?

 

So at the end of the day whether you decide to go with the National Flood Insurance Program or a private flood insurance policy its all about what your budget is and what you feel comfortable paying each year. Its also important to understand that these rates can go up from year to year.

So if you have further questions about flood insurance rates in Alabama then make sure to click here.

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

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

 

Start My Flood Insurance Quote

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

 

Flood Insurance can be confusing especially has often as the rules change. Your rate might go from $500 a year to $2500 a year with not much explanation.

Today we hope to eliminate some of that confusion for you.

Before we get into that I want to tell you a story about a property owner in Marion Illinois.

This property owner had 4 investment properties that were all in the preferred flood zone also known as flood zone x.

The premium on the first 3 properties was $790 for each property and the 4th property was $2690 a year.

Holy cow that is a difference

So why such a big difference in premium?

In order to understand the difference in premium we must understand what the National Flood Insurance Program defines residential and non residential properties as being.

According to FEMA in order for a property to be considered residential 75% of the building must be used for residential purposes.

So what about those properties that are not?

Well different rating models could come into play which would explain the difference for the property owner we discussed.

If you are an investor or commercial property owner its important to understand these things. They could have a major impact on your profitability.

So is there any way around these higher premiums?

Well there are many options in the private flood insurance market that look at these risks differently.

They may not charge you differently if it is being used for residential or non residential purposes.

So when purchasing a property you want to look at how this property is used now and how it will be used in the future.

Flood insurance options

So if you have further questions on how to understand residential and non residential flood insurance make sure to visit our website.

You can also checkout our YouTube channel where we do our daily flood education videos or our podcast. You can also find this episode below.

 

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.

 

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

Brain tumors, organ failure, and flooding. What could these three things possibly have in common?

Well In addition to experiencing each one of these things in my life I am going to show you how mitigation plans have similar challenges.

At the age of 16 I was diagnosed with what was thought to be a small mass in my skull. At the time doctors didn't think much about it. Fast forward about 15 years the mass that was originally the size of a pea was now the size of a golfball. It took up portions of both of my optic nerves. You can see a photo of it below.

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The doctors said we will leave it in as long as we can because when it is removed so is your vision. So they treated me with multiple medicines to help address headaches, vision problems, and sometimes balancing problems.

I remember when ever I had a bad experience with a medicine it would take 30 days to leave my system and 30 days for the new one to help. It was a balancing act as some of these medicines could have a negative impact on other parts of my body.

I am surprised after taking 3000mg of Ibuprofen everyday for a few years I have any organs left.

Its alot like the way they had to treat me when they found out I was pre diabetic and my pancreas was starting to shutdown. Thankfully that issue was caught in time where my organ recovered. It's a balancing act to make sure that you don't harm other things.

So what does this all have to do with flooding?

Minimizing flooding takes a similar approach. I remember living in Augusta Georgia during the great flood of 1989. My dad had to be rescued from his company car in the neighborhood.

Many communities have to take a similar approach to flooding as doctors have had to take to my tumor situation.

When developing areas community leaders want to protect residents from disasters.

Alabama is a place where challenges have been faced. The area from Tuscaloosa to Huntsville Alabama is known as tornado alley. So many homes are built with basements to help protect residents.

However these basements can also pose a major flood risk if they aren't careful. This is one reason why basements aren't dug as deep as they might be in other areas.

The same thing goes for cemeteries in areas like New Orleans.

Medical and disaster mitigation plans face similar challenges of making sure they are not hurting more than they are helping.

So the next time you face medical or disaster situation remember that. The approach could create more problems than the actual problem.

If you have questions about how to use flood mitigation to lower your flood premiums and flood risk make sure to visit our website.

If you are wondering about my tumor its still there and I still have my vision for now. Thankfully its not life threatening and some doctors have called it fibrous dysplasia.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. So we can help you understand your flood insurance, flood risk, 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

You can't turn on the radio or tv without hearing an insurance ad these days. Normally its price driven on a certain product.

So what about these companies that offering every insurance product they can. They think they are helping their clients by offering these products but could they actually be hurting their clients?

In the last 7 days we have dealt with two heart breaking situations that could have been avoided.

They both had to do with FHA loan home buyers. The first situation was a potential home buyer in the McDonough Georgia area. This customer had gotten her flood insurance taken care of with a private flood insurance company. However according to the individual the insurance company never asked what kind of loan the customer was doing?

You might ask how does this impact flood insurance in areas like McDonough Georgia?

Well FHA currently does not accept private flood insurance on their loans. Now we have seen some exceptions but for the most part this is correct.

So for this customer private flood insurance was not an option but she was not even aware of it. So this customer had to walk away from the home she was buying and was out lots of money for something she really had no control over.

Now let's look at situation number 2.

A property owner was relocating from New Jersey to the Georgia coast. He was familiar with the flood insurance restrictions on FHA loans. He got a quote from one of the larger auto and home insurance companies. He verified everything was good over the course of three weeks. They said yes everything was great.

However they went to complete the policy and was told that flood insurance was not available on this property.

You may say I thought the National Flood Insurance Program offered flood coverage on every building. This is not exactly true there are some situations they do not offer coverage.

  1. Buildings over water in certain situations
  2. Properties that do not participate in the National Flood Insurance Program
  3. Properties in CBRA zones in certain situations

In this particular situation this property did not qualify for the National Flood Insurance Program because of the year built. This property was in the Coastal Barrier Resources Act area which restricts development after 1982.

 

Now most flood systems should alert an agent about this when quoting but insurance companies should also do a CBRA zone verification on coastal properties. Unfortunately in this situation neither one of these were done. As a result this property owner was out thousands of dollars from a relocation, inspection fees, and other costs associated with this property.

Now both of these situations could have been avoided had the insurance companies had the right flood underwriting process.

Even though someone says they have a department that specializes in flood insurance it doesn't mean they are asking the right flood questions.

So whether its your commercial flood insurance or the coverage on your boat its important to find an expert in this area. This is why at the Flood Insurance Guru all we do is flood insurance, flood education, and flood consulting.

By the way I once bought a home in a high risk area and it was a nightmare. So I know how these buyers feel when this happens.

So if you have questions on how to avoid these things from happening to you then make sure to visit our website.

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

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

So I was sitting in my office the other day and heard someone on our team ask do you want the standard flood coverage?

My eyes got really big and it got me thinking?

Portrait of amazed casual man standing with arms folded isolated on a white background

Who taught them to say this? I know I didn't

Then it got me thinking deeper, do people think there are standard flood coverages?

Many times people think standard flood coverages might be the loan amount on their property or the max amount that the National Flood Insurance Program offers on a policy.

The fact is standard flood coverages do not exist or at least they should not. The reason is every property is different.

Each property has a different replacement cost on it. This is what insurance companies think it would take to replace the property if it was destroyed.

Then there are the foundation types of the property. A home with a basement may need a different type of coverage than a home with a crawlspace.

Then there are the elevations of the property. This is what can show the real risk of flooding on the property. Each property has its own elevations. You may have one property that has a garage and one property that does not.

This is one of the things we try to explain to people when they say my neighbor is paying less for flood insurance than I am.

So the next time you are getting a flood risk analysis done on your property remember this. Not only can these things change your risk but they can have a major impact on flood insurance premiums as well.

Your property is unique just like you.

If you have further questions about how to obtain the right flood insurance coverage then make sure to click here.

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.

 

Start My Flood Insurance Quote

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