The Flood Insurance Guru Blog
Flood insurance can be expensive especially when it comes to the 100 year flood zones or flood zone A. One of the major reasons for this is because flood insurance rates are based off how far a structure is below or above the base flood elevation. Well much of flood zone A has what is called an undetermined base flood elevation. Many times this means one does not exist. As a result it is difficult to compare the elevations of a structure to something that does not exist. As a result FEMA and private flood insurance carriers have to be conservative in determining rates in these areas.
Just because you may not see a base flood elevation does not mean there is not one. Many times a local flood plain manager can help track down the base flood elevation or provide a community letter to FEMA that shows one. These letters have helped to significantly lower flood insurance rates in areas like Birmingham Alabama, Knoxville Tennessee, Nashville Tennessee, Des Moines Iowa, Findlay Ohio, and many other areas across the country.
Maybe you have been told that there is not a base flood elevation for your structure, if so please reach out to a flood insurance expert like The Flood Insurance Guru who has an educational background in flood mitigation.
Hello. Chris Greene here with The Flood Insurance Guru, and today we're talking about building diagrams when it comes to your flood insurance. In particular, we're talking about elevation certificates. What do these building diagrams mean? Well, what a building diagram is, is it's the foundation type of what your house is or what the surveyor or engineer who did that elevation certificate thinks it is. The reason we say, thinks it is, because sometimes it could be incorrect. We have seen that where surveyors or engineers have put foundations, because many houses could have two different types of foundations. You could have a crawlspace part of a house, and you could have a slab, but if you look in the corner here, then you're going to see a building diagram on an elevation certificate. In this particular situation, you might see a 1 here, or you might see a 1A, a 1B. What this is, these are slabs is what this 1A and 1B means.
Now, you might see 2 up here. If you see a 2 up here, then it means that you've got a subgrade basement. It's not split level. Now, maybe you see a 3 up here. What that means is that you have gotten a split level slab that's not subgrade. What subgrade means is, it means it's below the grade of the house, and so you might see a number 4 up here. Four is going to be a split level with a subgrade basement. Now, you might see a number 5 up ... Five is going to be an elevated building with no enclosure, and what this means is that the building is elevated below. It might be parking, but it's completely opened. It's not enclosed at all. You might see a number 6 up here. Six is going to be a building, an elevated building with an enclosure. You might see a 7 up here. A 7's going to be an elevated building with solid foundation walls. Number 8 is going to be an elevated building with a crawlspace. Number 9 is going to be non-elevated on subgrade crawlspace.
Now, it's very important to understand these buildings, because this can have a big impact on your flood insurance. Particularly, what we're talking about here with these buildings, it's like above-grade crawlspaces, are flood vents going to help? You also want to make sure that the building diagram on your elevation certificate is correct. I said if you just look at the corner here, you're going to see kind of what the elevation certificate should look like with the building diagram and things like that. Now, if you've got questions about elevation certificates, maybe you think your elevation certificate is wrong or something like that, please reach out to us, www.floodinsuranceguru.com. Go to our YouTube and our Facebook channels, The Flood Insurance Guru, or give us a call. 205-451-4294.
Farms can be one of the most expensive businesses to run and when damaged it can cause nationwide damage. So much of the United States depends on farming as a source of food and a source of income. So when floods occur you can imagine what can be at risk.
The recent flooding of the Midwest in March 2019 has shown us the type of damage that can be done to farms from flooding. Many of these farm areas took on a lot more snow than they did in years past. As a result when spring storms approached in March of 2019 it decreased the snow melt time table dramatically. Generally when areas like Iowa, Nebraska, Idaho, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Minnesota start to thaw out from the winter the snow will generally melt over a period of 45 to 60 days. However when the spring storms moved in to these areas in 2019 it dropped these snow melt period down to matter of days.
This increase in water flow caused areas like the Missouri and Mississippi rivers to swell very quickly filling local tributaries causing massive flooding to farms across the Midwest that depend on these local water supplies. In many floods this water would recede fairly quickly however these farms and structures were submerged in water not just for a few days but up to 3 weeks in many areas.
The amount of time that these areas were submerged destroyed current crops and the opportunity for planting season in 2019 causing a massive blow to the farming industry in the united states. Another area that took massive blow were all these structures on the farms, the loss of live stock, and possibly a livelihood.
So what could have been done to prevent this? While there is not much that could have been done to save the farming land and crops since they depend on the water supply to survive. However when it comes to the structures and livestock a lot of things could have been done. Unfortunately due to lack of flood education and awareness across the country these farm owners were not aware of certain coverages that were available. So lets talk a little bit about some of these coverages.
First of all lets talk about the National Flood Insurance Program also known as NFIP. The NFIP was originally set up in 1968 to help people along the Mississippi River who continued to be devastated by flooding. While this program was set up to help people it was not necessary set up to make people whole again, especially when it comes to farms. You see farms usually have multiple structures on the property and these structures can easily exceed the value of home on the property.
Something else that can add up quickly is farming equipment. Sometimes this can exceed tens of thousands of dollars. As you can see when a flood occurs a farm owner can be exposed very quickly, so what can they do to protect themselves. When it comes to a NFIP policy coverages can be pretty limited when it comes to buildings and equipment. Let’s say that a farm policy is written as commercial flood policy. This means that the building coverage cannot exceed $500,000 and when it comes to separate structures a NFIP policy will require separate policies for each structure. Something else that NFIP will do is charge an additional $250 surcharge to each one of these structures. As you can imagine these fees can add up very quickly making finding a cost effective policy very challenging. When reviewing this NFIP policy something else to consider is the lack of business interruption coverage. As you can imagine when a farm floods it can cause major interruption in day to day business for a very long time. So then if more than one structure are not covered, more than $500,000 in building coverage is not covered, and business interruption is not covered then why would one take out a policy.
Well like the average American most people are not aware of other options and if any part of a farm is financed their bank may not inform them of these other options. So what are the other options out there? Outside of the NFIP you have one other option for flood insurance and that is the private market.
What is private market flood insurance? This is flood insurance that is provided by private insurance carriers. So how is it different?
Private flood insurance can pick and choose the risks that they want. The NFIP has to provide coverage for almost every risk out there. As a result cost effectiveness and proper coverage can be challenging. When it comes to farms this can be crucial as private carriers can put all the structures of one farm on one policy. This can do a few things first of all if a claim occurs it would be one claim not necessarily five separate claims because separate policies are required. Something else it can do is make things more cost effective because the $250 surcharge is not charged on private flood insurance policies.
Two other things that come into play is that the policy is not limited to $500,000 in coverage and business interruption coverage maybe available. As the 2019 flooding in Des Moines Iowa and Nebraska City Nebraska showed us $500,000 in building coverage does not go very far business interruption coverage can be crucial for a farm to survive. So what exactly is business interruption coverage? This is the loss of income a business may incur as a result of a disaster. For example if a farm cannot operate then the income it would have generated could be covered for a certain amount of time.
Now that we have discussed the NFIP and private market you might be trying to figure out what options is best for your farm. Well we recommend reaching out to a commercial farm insurance agent or flood expert like the Flood Insurance Guru that can make sure you have the right coverages in place so your farm can survive after a flood. Also if you have questions about farm flood insurance in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Idaho, or other states simply fill the form out below.
Forest Fires have always been an issue in areas like California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. In 2018 Camp Fire truly showed us how fast a fire can spread, what kind of damage it can cause, and other hazards it can create. One of these new hazards it can create is higher risk flood zones.
Forest fires can cause massive damage as we have seen in recent years with the Camp Fire in California and the fire in Gatlinburg Tennessee area. When these fires spread they burn everything in their path and take lives in many situations. As these fires burn they destroy trees and generally any vegetation there in its path. As this vegetation burns it removes community protection from floods. So what happens next?
Well as most people know FEMA also known as the Federal Emergency Management Agency does flood studies on areas to review maps and adjust maps accordingly. However as Houston Texas showed us many times these new maps can take years to get approved. The reason is FEMA recommends certain changes and local communities have time to dispute any changes. Many times extending the new maps for your years. As you can imagine when an area burns that has been traditionally in a low risk flood zone new studies can take time.
FEMA works as hard as it can to get new areas and existing areas mapped as quickly as possible. As they have shown us they are limited with their resources. So when they review these map studies they look at historical data in an area when it comes to flooding. However areas like Knoxville Tennessee, Salt Lake City Utah, Boulder Colorado, and Denver Colorado may have not had a lot of flooding issues historically. However changes in vegetation now take away any protection they have had in place.
So what happens is many of these areas should be in high risk flood zones also known as 100 year flood zones. However they are not because of no history of flooding but they have had a major risk in exposure. So then what are the options for property owners?
Well at The Flood Insurance Guru we always recommend flood insurance for every property owner but lets talk about when flood insurance would actually kick in. According to FEMA a flood happens when 2 acres are inundated by water or more than one property is inundated with water. It is also considered a flood if a mudflow is involved. Now that we know what flood covers lets talk about some additional risk that are created by forest fires.
As we have mentioned before when these fires spread they burn all vegetation taking away all protection. So when this happens it takes a lot less rainfall or water runoff to create a mudflow. Before the vegetation would be there to soak up a lot of the water but with trees gone, brush gone, and nothing between the water and structures it’s a ticking time bomb.
So when this does happen and it will happen as history has shown us. What are property owners options for flood insurance? Well there are basically two options flood insurance through FEMA or private flood. Before we talk about the differences lets discuss flood zones a little bit first. Before the forest fires most of these areas were in low risk flood zones, also known as flood zone x. These are areas of minimal risk where FEMA has not determined the probability of flooding. Its important to understand that about 30% of flooding occurs in these zones and is usually a result of flash flooding. As you can imagine without vegetation the probability for flash flooding is much higher. Now that we have an understanding of what flood zone x is lets talk about the different options.
The first option is the National Flood Insurance Program also known as NFIP which falls under FEMA. This is federal flood insurance program where rates are set based on numerous factors like the elevation of properties, age of the property, and foundation type. You can get a flood insurance quote through any local insurance agent where rates should be the same but many times they are not because agent knowledge on flood insurance varies so much. In many situations they will require an elevation certificate. What is an elevation certificate? This certificate shows the different elevations of a property compared to the base flood elevation which determines your flood insurance rates with NFIP. Its important to understand that in order to be able to get a flood policy through NFIP your community has to be a participating member in the program. You can check with your local community to see if they participate generally about 95% of communities do because of federal funding. Now that we understand what the government has to offer lets talk about the private market.
Private market flood insurance is flood insurance that is offered by private insurance companies. These companies are generally backed by two major players either Lexington or Lloyds of London which is a group of companies that provide funding. The private market sets its own rates but still pays claims based on what FEMA defines as a flood. Private market also provides some different coverages like replacement cost on contents and additional living expenses.
Understanding these two flood insurance options is very important. Many people are told if they are not in a high risk flood zone that flood insurance is not available and this simply is not true. Its also important to understand just because it may not be required does not mean you are not at risk of flooding. If you have questions about how you could be exposed to flooding, maybe you think you are in the wrong flood zone, or you feel your policy is overated please reach out to The Flood Insurance Guru.
The National Flood Insurance Program also known as the NFIP has been broken for a very long time, but they are attempting at starting to fix it. Before we can discuss why it is broken we must understand why the program was created.
The NFIP was created in 1968 as a response to the lack of availability of flood insurance and continued availability after a flood. What is the goal of NFIP? The NFIP has three goals provide flood insurance, floodplain management, and develop maps of flood hazard zones. As we have mentioned before the NFIP has been broken for a long time, but why?
In 1968 when NFIP was set up the need for flood insurance availability was crucial and provided a great option for that. However lack of technology, adaption, and government funding have handicapped the program for many years. When it was originally set up it addressed issues of continuous flooding along areas of the Mississippi river. This helped people in areas like Memphis Tennessee, Saint Louis Missouri, and New Orleans Missouri. As the program has exceeded 50 years old many changes have been needed and cost have continued to rise as a result of the number of flood disasters. Massive development across the country has removed many protective measures over the years that has exposed many areas to flooding.
For example when a new neighborhood is built trees are removed and land is cleared. What happens when this land is cleared is it changes elevations numbers. So areas that may have been above the base flood elevation before may not be anymore. As this has happened over the years it has put a lot of stress on the NFIP because the number of disasters.
This stress level has continued to rise as many rates have had to be subsidized to make It affordable. When this happens NFIP cannot collect the funds it needs to cover the risk correctly creating a continuous increase of debt.
When dealing with any government agency change can be challenging to get done. This is exactly what has happened with NFIP. As mentioned before land development has had a major change on the flow of water through areas across the country. As this has happened NFIP just can not keep up with the need to map these areas every year. Lack of adoption of technology has caused many of these areas to be mapped wrong. Let’s look at some areas like New Orleans that has recently been newly mapped.
2005 taught us a lot of things about flooding especially in low lying areas. New Orleans sits below sea level which exposes it to flooding more. So of course this area should be in high risk zones but NFIP recently put it into a low risk zone. Because of the mapping they are using has put many property owners at risk. Houston Texas showed us this as many of these areas were considered low risk and should have been high risk. Areas of Nebraska along the Missouri river have shown us the same thing with snow melt flooding occurring in 2019. There are many more stories like this across the country. So as the need for NFIP change is needed what will actually change?
NFIP recently announced the launching of NFIP 2.0 in 2020. There are many drastic changes that are taking place. A few of these changes include expansion of coverage in the program and flood zone ratings. Right now NFIP only offers building coverage on residential properties up to $250,000 but with the expansion of NFIP 2.0 this coverage is expected to increase to $500,000 which will be a great benefit to property owners. It could change the requirement banks have on properties as well. As of right now banks can only require $250,000 but with this expansion that requirement is expected to increase to $500,000. As of now there are standard ratings for high risk flood zones across the country. The new program is expected to take this to a new level where high risk flood coastal areas have different ratings than high risk flood river areas.
Another area that NFIP is addressing is the accuracy of flood premiums. Many people live in areas where premium is way too low and there are other areas where premiums are way too high. Let’s talk about low risk zones where premiums are generally around $500 a year. Low risk areas along the coast should obviously have higher ratings than low risk areas in Birmingham Alabama. They way it stands now these two areas would have the same ratings.
Higher risk areas like AE zones are the same way a lot of it depends on different foundation types and elevations of the home. As NFIP works towards changing these rating factors a more accurate rating system will hopefully become available. What NFIP wants to do is have rates based on how the structure relates to the flood zone. For example if a structure is in the center of a 100 year flood zone it should have a higher rating than a structure that might be on the edge of the flood zone, assuming they have the same elevations.
Private flood insurance companies have already adopted some of these factors into their rating system. This is one reason why private carriers can be more accurate on their rates right now and also know the risks to stay away from.
One of the other things that NFIP 2.0 hopes to minimize is the ability for people to rebuild in severe loss areas. These are areas that continue to get flooded but NFIP continues to help people rebuild. They hope to make it harder and harder to rebuild in these areas by enforcing higher mitigation standards and not offering coverage for the same pricing in these areas. The elimination of grandfathering rules also hopes to raise premiums in these areas where the correct premium can be collected for the correct risk. For example some areas might be able to grandfather a rate at $500 a year when it should actually be $2000 a year. As you can imagine this could put stress on any program even if it was not government funded.
As mentioned before these are changes that people have been asking for a long time. It could have a negative impact on many property owners and could even force some people out of their homes. However these are changes that are desperately needed in order for the program to stay in place.
If you have questions about flood insurance, maybe your policy is misrated, or you want to see if you can get your property removed from a flood zone then fill the form out below.
Flood insurance for decks.... Is your deck impacting your flood insurance rates in Knoxville TN, Memphis TN, Huntsville AL, Birmingham AL, or Atlanta GA?
We are always getting a lot of questions regarding flood insurance for decks. So today we want to answer a few of those questions. First of all are decks covered for flood insurance?
Coverage for decks can be a little tricky lets’ say you have a deck that surrounds a pool but the deck is not attached to your home. This type of deck would not generally be covered. There are some exceptions in coastal flood zones where flood insurance in Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina may cover these types of decks. Some private carriers are also starting to cover detached structures like decks on their flood insurance policy, but generally speaking these types of decks are not going to be covered on a National Flood Insurance Program policy. Lets talk about a little bit different scenario which is attached decks.
Attached decks are decks that are permanently attached to the primary structure. NFIP states that these types of structures are covered by their flood insurance policy. The condition is they meet the same guidelines as the structure, if they do not then they would not be covered. The next thing we want to talk about is how these decks can impact flood insurance rates.
You may or may not know it only takes a tiny piece of your property to be in a special flood hazard area in order for the entire structure to be in one. For example 99% of your home is in a low risk zone or zone X, but the very corner of your house is in a special flood hazard area then the entire property is in a high risk zone. So how do you change this?
Well unless you plan on raising up the foundation of your home which could cost thousands to do there is not much that can be done. However the same cannot be said for decks that cause the same issue. We speak to people everyday who are looking at making additions to their homes like decks. They always want to know how will it impact their flood insurance? This is a valid concern and one that should come up more often. Many people put themselves into high risk flood zones without realizing it. So what can be done?
When an a surveyor performs a survey they can complete an elevation certificate that measures the different elevations of the home, attached structures, and detached structures. If it is found that your deck falls within the special flood hazard area, then you have a few options. The first thing you can do is have that portion of the deck removed which should remove the entire structure from the special flood hazard area. You could simply leave the deck and get flood insurance on the property. If you do these there are tow different paths to go.
The two paths for flood insurance are the National Flood Insurance Program which we have already mentioned and then private flood carriers. What is the difference? One is backed by the government and other is backed by private insurance companies. Generally FEMA is going to have higher rates in these areas, because they cannot pick and choose the risks they take on like private carriers can. The third option is detaching the deck from the structure.
As crazy and as difficult as this might sound, it is becoming very popular. If the deck is not attached to the structure then it should not impact flood insurance rates. Now you would not want to simply detach it but move it a good distance away from the structure like 5-10 feet where you can clearly see it is its own structure.
While flood insurance on decks can be challenging it doesn’t have to have a major impact on property values by following some of the actions we have discussed. If you have questions about exactly how decks are covered? Maybe a deck is impacting your flood insurance rates then please fill the form out below to see how we might be able to help you with this problem.
Floods can be devastating especially if you don't have the right resources. Having additional living expenses on a flood insurance policy is crucial. First of all what are additional living expenses?
Additional living expenses are where you are given additional funds to pay for rent and utilities while your property is being repaired from a flood.
Most people are unaware of additional living expenses when it comes to flood insurance because it is not offered on a policy from the National Flood Insurance Program. While it is not offered as part of a NFIP policy there are still a few ways you can get it.
One way to get additional living expenses on a flood insurance policy is by doing a private market flood policy. What is private flood insurance? This is flood insurance that is offered by a private flood insurance company compared to NFIP which is backed by the federal government. Generally most of these policies will provide additional living expenses up to $25,000.
Another way to get additional living expenses covered is if a presidential disaster declaration has been declared. This paves the way for additional funds to help certain communities during a disaster. One of those resources is temporary living expenses. One important thing to understand is sometimes this assistance can be in the form of a small loan and have a limitation of up to three months.
Recent flooding in Muscle Shoals Alabama, Birmingham Alabama, Knoxville Tennessee, Omaha Nebraska, Des Moines Iowa, and Minneapolis Minnesota have shown us how important additional living expenses can be. Let's say these areas suffered some flooding but not enough for a presidential declaration then temporary living expenses would not be available unless the property owner had private flood insurance.
A homeowner in Nebraska recently said if it was not for having additional living expenses on her flood insurance policy she is not sure what she would have done. So when reviewing what flood insurance covers and what flood insurance does not cover you always want to pay close attention to things like additional living expenses.
If you have questions about how to get this coverage or other flood insurance coverage then please fill the form out below.
Today we're talking about if you’re flood zone has changed, can you get a refund on your flood insurance? Well, we want to talk a little bit first about the different Flood Zones, and how exactly this scenario will play out. Remember that we have an educational background in hazard and flood mitigation. So what that means for you is we can help you understand your flood risks, your flood insurance, and help you mitigate your property against flood and other hazards long term.
So today we want to talk about what happens when your Flood Zone changes. Can you get a refund on your premiums? What are the scenarios? Well, we want to talk about the three main Flood Zones especially when looking for flood insurance in Knoxville TN, flood insurance in Birmingham, AL, flood insurance in Memphis TN, flood insurance in Atlanta GA, flood insurance in Montgomery Al, and flood insurance Minneapolis MN These flood zones are flood zone A, flood zone AE, and flood zone X.
Flood zone A is going to be like a 500 year Flood Zone and all this is a probability.
Flood Zone, AE is going to be a 100 year flood zone, or just the probability of a flood occurring during a given time period.
Flood Zone X, which is the minimum risk zone these include areas like Houston Texas, Nashville Tennessee, and Toledo Ohio. Probability for this zone, is not really determined because it's so low risk. The benefit of being in a Flood Zone X is flood insurance will never be required if you have a mortgage, or an additional interest on your house.
However, if you're in a Flood Zone A or AE, it is required. So today we want to talk about your flood zone has just recently been changed, can you get a refund on your flood insurance premiums? Well first of all, in order to get that refund, certain things have to happen.
So let's just say that your Flood Zone has changed from an AE, which is the highest outside the coast to an A. This recently happened in some areas like Savannah Georgia. What you want to do is reach out to your local insurance agent, or the Flood Insurance Guru to make sure your policy is rated correctly. Because if you were in the AE, and now you're being moved to an A, it could be a big difference in premium for you and could lower your mortgage payment. So you want to make sure it's rated correctly. Property owners in areas like Minnesota have seen significant savings because of taking this action.
Now, let's say that you were in a Flood Zone A and you were moved to an AE, then what's going to happen is you're actually going to see a difference in premium as an increase because you're going to a higher zone. Now where you're going to see a big difference is if you're moved from a Flood Zone A, or floods on AE, to a Flood Zone X. What this means is you're being moved out of a mandatory flood insurance zone to a non-mandatory. So it's not going to be required that you carry it.
However, it's highly recommended because 30% of flooding does occur in Flood Zone X. Even after back to back years of flooding areas like Tybee Island Georgia and Saint Simons Georgia recently had this happen. As mentioned before zone changes are done on historical data, so even though a property recently flooded does not mean a zone will change. What we really want to talk about is are you going to be able to get a refund? How much of a refund are you going to be able to get? So when you are moved to a flood zone X which is no longer required, what that means is the requirements were moved. So when that happens, FEMA will send you a letter and usually your mortgage company, if you have one, you will get a letter saying, this is no longer going to be required. So at renewal we're no longer going to require you to have it, which is great. Then they take the requirement off your mortgage. More importantly, how do you go about getting maybe that refund for this year?
Well, what happens is as soon as that zone is changed, you can go in and show that letter to the mortgage company, and you could actually either cancel the flood insurance policy and get a prorated refund for that year. Now, what we recommend doing, instead, is just having it rerated as a Flood Zone X keeping the flood insurance policy. As we've mentioned, flooding occurs about 30% of the time in Flood Zone X. So let's just say you're paying $1,200 a year for Flood Zone A, or $2,000 a year for Flood Zone AE, and they move you to an X, generally you're going to be looking at about $450 to $500 a year for that rate.
So we recommend just basically changing the zone on your flood policy and keeping that flood policy. Now, if you choose not to keep it, what's going to happen when it comes to your refund? Let's say that you've had that policy for six months. When this Flood Zone change is done, then you're going to get six months of premium back. Now, here's the next question. You've had flood insurance for all these years, are you going to get it back? No, you're only going to get back the prorated amount for the current year. That's really important to understand, because a lot of people think, hey, I didn't need it all these years. Can I get my money back?" The answer to that question unfortunately, is no.
We just recently had a customer who's been in a high risk Flood Zone that we helped them get their flood zone change to a minimum risk zone. So we took him from that high risk policy to a minimum risk policy. The problem was they had the opportunity to do this for 20 years, but no one showed them how to do it. Once we completed that, of course the customers kind of upset and no one ever showed them how to do this. He could have had some significant savings over the last 20 years. So it's very important that you look at this every year, just like you look at your auto insurance and you look at your home insurance every year at renewal. It's very important that you look at your Flood Zone every year for these types of situations.
You want to make sure that you're still currently in the right zone. So what you want to do is reach out to any local insurance agent, or the Flood Insurance Guru and have them run what's called a zone determination. What that does is it's a determination to see what Flood Zone you're currently in. You want to check this every year because FEMA does do a lot of flood map changes. So for example, if you don't have a mortgage on your house, you may not even know that your Flood Zone changed, because you're not being notified.
The only way you're going to notice maybe if it's in a local newspaper, or a local city council. If you have a mortgage, you're generally going to get a letter in the mail from them. Or if you have some kind of additional interest on a property, you're going to get some kind of letter in the mail from them. So if you've got questions about how to get a refund when it comes to your flood insurance, how to maybe get your zone changed, or are you overpaying? Is there a way to get some of that money back? Please reach out to us, www.floodInsuranceGuru.com. Go to our YouTube or Facebook channels, the Flood Insurance Guru, where we do where we do daily flood educational videos. Or you can give us a call, (205) 451-4294 you can also simply click down and the link below and we'd be happy to walk you through some different scenarios that might be able to help you significantly when it comes to your flood insurance. Thank you.
February 2019 was one of the wettest months ever across the state of Alabama. As the state was already in a surplus for rainfall because of a very wet 2018 hazardous situations developed.
The ground could not take any more water and as a result the additional 9-12 inches of rain that month had no where to go. Many of the rivers and lakes in the area are managed by the power company and it even caught them off guard. As rainfall totals started to rise local lakes rose quickly and many dams could not handle the additional water. As a result many areas began to flood that have not flooded in 50 years.
One of these areas was Nathan Estates in Muscle Shoals, Al where people where told they didn't need flood insurance because they were in a flood zone x. So what is a flood zone x? Well lets discuss the three main flood zones outside of the coast..
The three main flood zones are X, A, and AE. Flood zone X does not have a base flood elevation because it is a minimal risk zone. However 30% of flooding occurs in these areas as a result of flash flooding. To give you an example of low risk areas that have been impacted, the majority of flooding in Houston, Texas after Hurricane Harvey was in low risk zones. Same thing for many parts of North Carolina after Hurricane Florence. Flood insurance in these areas may not be required but it is highly recommended and very reasonable. A policy in a flood zone x or preferred zone generally runs around $500 a year.
Flood zone A is the next zone this is generally areas that are in the 500 year flood zone. This is simply the probability of flooding occurring during a given year. If you have a mortgage and live in this zone then flood insurance is going to be required.
The last of three main zones is flood zone AE this is considered a high risk zone or also a 100 year flood zone. Just like flood zone a this is just the probability of flooding occurring during a given year.
Now that we know the three main flood zones how can this recent flooding event impact flood insurance rates in areas like Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, Anniston, and even Cullman Al. Well these flood zones are determined based on historical data. So an event like this could change low risk zone to a high risk zone even though your property may not have flooded, it could also possibly take you from a high risk zone to a low risk zone.
So what happens if your property is moved from a flood X to a flood zone A or AE? Well FEMA tries to update these maps every year but generally 2-3 years is probably more accurate. How will you be notified? If you have a mortgage then you will received a letter from your mortgage company but if you don't then they will simply put a notice in the paper.
So once this new zone goes into place what can you do to fight it? Well for the first 12 months FEMA allows whats call the new mapping rule. This is where they give you the preferred zone pricing for the first 12 months to help you adjust to the rate. You can also get an elevation certificate to show that your home is above the base flood elevation. You can also look at the private market for flood insurance where many different options are provided.
As we mentioned great options through the private market you have to be cautious because these are the first companies that will non-renew your policy after an area has a lot of flooding.
These type of flooding events can have a major impact on future flood insurance rates. We always recommend reaching out to The Flood Insurance Guru when looking at the different flood insurance options in Al. If you have questions about your current flood situation or want to learn more fill the form out below.
In this video we talk about the 2019 flooding in Knoxville TN that could have a big impact on flood insurance rates.
Most people do not realize that flood zones are based on historical data, so this flooding could have a big impact on future flood zones. For example properties that are currently in a low risk zone may move to a high risk zone. If you have a flood insurance policy through the private market they could non- renew the insurance policy due to claims in the area. Have questions about flood insurance in Knoxville Tn fill the form out below.