The Flood Insurance Guru Blog
Hello, Chris Greene here with The Flood Insurance Guru, where we have an educational background in emergency management with a specialization in hazard and flood mitigation. We can help guide you through what your flood insurance options are, what your flood risks are, and helping you mitigate and reduce those risk. Today, we're going to be talking about three types of flood zones. We're talking about flood zone X, flood zone A, and flood zone AE. The benefits of being in each one, the dangers of being in them, and what coverage is right for each zone. The first thing we're going to talk about is flood zone X, or what's called the minimum risk flood zone. Any time anybody hears this, they start cheering because this means that it's not mandatory. However, 30% of flooding actually occurs in flood zone X. The reason for that is a lot of flash flooding. Flood zone X does not have a base flood elevation and as I mentioned before, it's not required when it comes to your mortgage company, so a lot of people don't carry it. What happens is, when losses occur in this area, most people don't have it because it wasn't required.
For example, most of Houston that flooded was in a flood zone X and they were told they didn't need it. So, many of them either had to face bankruptcy or foreclosure because they couldn't afford to repair their houses. Also, one of the things to understand about flood zone X is most people think they can't get flood insurance in this zone because it's not what people say is in a flood zone. Everything's in a flood zone, this is just low risk. That's actually completely false. Flood zone X actually has some of the best rates out there. Because it's a preferred zone, FEMA would rather you be proactive when it comes to protecting your belongings and protecting your structure. For that reason, most of the time with flood zone X you've got a rate of between $300 and $500 a year. Something to also understand is that flood insurance does have to be paid up front, so there's no way to do a monthly payment or anything like that on there. When it comes to flood zone X, as I said it's minimum risk, it's not going to be required by your mortgage company, but it's recommended that you do carry flood insurance there because that's where a majority of flash flooding does occur.
The next zone we're going talk about is flood zone A. Flood zone A is an area that is undetermined when it comes to the base flood elevation. What the base flood elevation is is what FEMA has determined that in the likelihood of a flood the level that water would come up to. What happens is a lot of people go out and get an elevation certificate. What an elevation certificate is is basically a surveyor comes out and surveys your property and gives you the different elevations of your home, like the top and the bottom floor, lowest [inaudible 00:02:51] grade, maybe an attached garage, your crawlspace, your slab, or your basement. Then they can compare that to the base flood elevation so maybe they can get your flood zone changed. The problem with flood zone A is many times, as we mentioned before, there's no base flood elevation, so many people waste money getting an elevation certificate because it's not going to help them because there's nothing to compare it to. This is one of the risks of living in a flood zone A and not knowing, many times, about elevation certificates, because everybody thinks you have to have an elevation certificate in order to get a flood quote, which just isn't true. Especially on the private market. Generally, elevation certificates are not going to be required for you to get a policy through the private market.
When elevation certificates are going to be required is when your houses has been built after the first flood insurance rate map or 1974, whichever one comes later, or you've had a substantial improvement to a property that was built before 1974. These are really the only two situations of when you're going to need an elevation certificate. Many times, as I mentioned, it can't help you. However, in flood zone A you have to be cautious. Find out if there's a base flood elevation before reaching out to a surveyor to have them come out and survey your property and maybe you waste $700 - $800. You can reach out to any local insurance agent, who should be able to do what's called a zone determination. This is just determining what flood zone you're in and what the base flood elevation is. You can reach out to any local insurance agent. You can also reach out to us here at The Flood Insurance Guru when it comes to something like this.
The last zone that we're going to talk about is the highest risk possible outside the coast. This is called an AE zone. An AE zone is also known as a 100 year flood zone. An A zone is known as a 500 year. All these are probabilities of a flood occurring within a certain timeframe. As I mentioned, A is going to be your highest risk. This is where your premiums are going to be really high, in this particular zone. It's important to understand when you're purchasing a house how these kind of things can impact your mortgage. If you were to be put into a flood zone A, how do you get it changed? What are you options there? But, the majority of flooding does occur in flood zone AE because it is your zone. These are generally going to be areas that are along the river, or maybe these are areas that are really flat, where water is coming in from another level, like a creek or run-off or something like that. It's important to understand that flood zone A is going to be your highest risk possible and flood zone A and AE are both going to be required for you to carry flood insurance if you have a mortgage or an additional interest on the property.
When it comes to maybe getting those zones changed, there's certain processes you can go through, but today we just want to cover what flood zone X is? It is the minimum risk zone, where it's not going to be required, but remember about 30% of flooding does occur in flood zone X. A zone is generally going to be an area that may not have a determined base flood elevation, so before ordering an elevation certificate, make sure to verify with a local insurance agent or us here at The Flood Insurance Guru what zone you're in. In an AE zone an elevation certificate could greatly benefit you there if you're changing it from an AE to an A. It might change your rate $2,000 to $1,000 a year. Like what we recently did with a client who had flood insurance in Pelham, AE is going to be the highest risk out there. If you've got questions about these zones or you've got questions about other zones, you're not sure what flood zone you're in, you can always reach out to us. www.floodinsuranceguru.com. You can go to our Facebook or our YouTube channel, The Flood Insurance Guru. You can even give us a call. 205-451-4294. If you want to learn more about your flood insurance options when it comes to these zones, you can also fill out the form below.
Hello, Chris Greene here over at the Flood Insurance Guru. Today, we're talking about the changes that are taking place in Arizona, particularly after Hurricane Rosa ... before hurricane Rosa this week, really a lot in the Phoenix area. As you know, a lot of flooding occurred this week from Hurricane Rosa. And a lot of people like are like "Flooding in Arizona?" Well, if you live in Arizona, you know this happens a lot. Generally, about 40 to 100 floods occur every year in Arizona. Well, the city of Phoenix made some major changes this week and the National Flood Insurance Program made some major changes as well. Well, it's kind of going to be a win-win situation for everyone.
If you live in the Phoenix area, generally you can get a 20% discount on your flood policy through the National Flood Insurance Program, or FEMA. Well, on Wednesday, the city of Phoenix announced an additional 5% in certain areas. So now if you're in a high risk flood zone, you may be able to get a 25% discount compared to the 20% discount. Well, the National Flood Insurance Program also made a major change on Monday which allows you to go to the private market if you want and get a better policy, a better option and cancel your National Flood Insurance Program. It just depends if you qualify. Now, you might ask how do I qualify for something like that? Well, if you have a conventional loan, if you have a smaller in-house credit union loan or a bank loan that's non government backed, then you might have the option of going to the private market.
Just this week, we had someone in the Phoenix area who was buying an $800,000 home. Unfortunately, the National Flood Insurance Program could only assure him for the 250,000 and they really wanted that extra coverage. Well, instead of paying the $2,300 a year with the National Flood Insurance Program, we were able to find them an option at $550 a year for the $800,000 in coverage on the home, $200,000 and contents in your loss of use in case the house does flood where they can put them up lower deductible. So, these are some great options you really need to take a look at. Even if you don't qualify for private though, you may qualify for this new discount. So, reach out to us at www.floodInsuranceGuru.com, give us a call, 205-451-4294, or even visit our Facebook page or YouTube channel The FloodInsuranceGuru.com.
Hello. Chris Greene here, the Flood Insurance Guru. Today we're talking about map changes, what are map changes, and how do they impact you?
First of all, a map change is when the federal government comes in and changes the flood maps. If you haven't seen one of our previous videos, we talk about exactly what a flood map is. We'll briefly talk about it again. All it is, is a traditional map that shows the boundaries of what the different flood zones are, where flood ways are, so you can kind of tell basically what kind of flood zone your property's in.
Every once in a while, the federal government will come in and change these maps. They'll change them for the better or worse . They'll change them for the worse. For example, in Pelham, Alabama they just significantly changed these by at least four feet. In Smyrna, Georgia, they recently made some of these changes for the negative as well.
The reason they do those changes for the negative is because they see that there's an additional exposure there. Elevations change. You can call it climate change, You can call it erosion, or whatever. There is more water coming in to more areas right now than there ever has been before. This is kind of what causes map changes.
Whenever the government makes this announcement, generally they'll publish it in a local newspaper for 90 days. On the 91st day, the new flood map will go into effect. When people get this letter though, they panic because they call someone and they get like a 3,000 or $4,000 flood insurance rate. They're like, "I just don't know what I'm going to do."
Well, here's the good news for you is when these map changes do take place, you have access to the old maps for 12 months. Let's just say that you were in a low risk flood zone and they've bumped you up to a flood zone A, which is a 500 year flood zone, a special flood zone hazard area. What this means is that you still have access to the preferred rating at least for the next 12 months so that you can slowly adjust. Then each year you're going to see that premium go up slowly.
Whenever these map changes do take place, don't panic. We recommend reaching out to the Flood Insurance Guru or any flood expert, and they will tell you exactly what to do.
When it comes to the map changes though, there can also be a good map change. On a good map change, a good example of what's going on is down in areas like Saint Simons and Savannah, Georgia. Even though they flooded the last couple years, the federal government has seen that a lot of these areas are at low risk after looking at the overall picture of everything. They're changing them from high risk to low risk.
What does this mean? Well, this means that you should be getting a letter if you have a mortgage that your mortgage company is no longer going to require you to carry flood insurance. That is money that will come off your mortgage. We still recommend carrying it, especially with it flooding the last couple years, but these flood map changes can take place for the good or the bad.
Now, here you may ask, "Hey, can I argue a flood map change?" You absolutely can. Many times, you can win by using an elevation certificate and doing what's called a letter of map amendment to FEMA to get that map zone changed. It's very common. It's something we do for clients across the country every day.
If you have questions about these map changes, maybe your map changed just recently and you've got questions about it, reach out to us, www.floodInsuranceGuru.com, our Facebook page or YouTube channel the Flood Insurance Guru. You can give us a call 205-451-4294.
Hello. Chris Greene here, The Flood Insurance Guru. Today we're talking about what is a flood map? Up in the left-hand corner here, you can see we've put a copy of a flood map for you to see what it looks like. It's a boundary showing you where the different flood zones are, or things like the water, which is a floodway, where that might fall based on where your property's at. These flood maps should show you exactly what type of flood zone you're in, what type of risk your property may be at, and if your property's sitting in a floodway.
You may ask, "What's the importance of a floodway?" Well, a lot of insurance companies won't write a flood insurance policy if your property falls within a floodway because of the risk. This is pretty much what a flood map is. Let us know if you have any questions about flood maps, maybe where your property is. You could always reach out to us, www.floodinsuranceguru.com, our Facebook page or YouTube channels, The Flood Insurance Guru. You can give us a call at (205) 451-4294.
Hello, Chris Greene here with the Flood Insurance Guru. Today we're talking about pending map changes that are coming to the Bay Minette, Alabama area in April.
As you know, flood map changes can have a big difference on property values. You go to sell your house and all of a sudden you're in a high risk flood zone, that could really limit the amount of people that you could sell your house to. Well, with these pending map changes, it could have a massive impact on the Bay Minette area and the reason is it can impact properties that are being moved from low risk zones to high risk.
Now there are also a lot of properties that are being moved from high risk to low risk, which will help property value. However, if you have your house selling or you're looking at buying and this happens, what do you do?
Well, when you have a flood map change like this you have several different options. You can always find them on our website, floodinsuranceguru.com, usually on our YouTube channel or even on our Facebook. And today we're going to cover them for you as well.
So let's just say the first example is the map changes. You can contest it with an elevation certificate. If you have the elevation certificate that shows certain levels that are above the base flood elevation, then we can actually send it to FEMA for you, dispute it and get a letter of map amendment done. Usually takes about 30 to 60 days, depending on the federal government. So that's one option. The good thing with that is it would remove it back out, really helping your property value.
The next option is you can go through the National Flood Insurance program, which is a program that we do offer here. You can get the old map rates for up to 12 months. So if you've been moved into a high risk zone and you have to go through the National Flood Insurance program, instead of maybe having a $1500 or $2000 rate, you might have a $400 rate, which is very important. Then they would adjust these rates over time.
The third option is you could go to the private market depending on your loan type, which this could be 40, 50, 60% less. You could get a lot more coverage. Thankfully here we have over 20 different carriers when it comes to the private market.
So these are your options here in the Bay Minette area when it comes to these flood map changes. So if you've got questions about what zone you're in or you want to take a look at that flood insurance, just click the link below and we'll be happy to reach out to you to review your zone, see if we could maybe get your zone changed or figure out what the other options are for you. You can also reach us at 205-451-4294. As I mentioned before, visit our website floodinsuranceguru.com or our YouTube and our Facebook, the Flood Insurance Guru.
Hello. Chris Greene here, the Flood Insurance Guru. Today, we're talking about the grandfather rule on your flood insurance policy. No, we're not talking about you spoiling your grandchildren, the number one golden rule of every grandparent. What we're talking about, particularly, is the grandfather laws when it comes to your National Flood Insurance Program policy.
Generally, there are two options you have when doing a grandfathering rule. What a grandfathering rule is, when it comes to the National Flood Insurance Program, it means that your property is in a zone that basically no longer exists. We're basically taking it back in time, hence the grandfather. So what this is, is you have a set of two options. Option one, when it comes to grandfathering, let's just say your flood zone is about to change to a high-risk flood zone from a preferred.
As long as you take out that flood insurance policy before the date of the map change, then your policy will be grandfathered in. Now it'll be grandfathered longterm, however, your rates will slowly increase over time to adjust to the new zone. But this option does give you time to adjust, generally several years.
Option number two is, let's just say your house was built in 1995. What happens is if you can prove that your home was within compliance when it was built then, then we can use these factors to grandfather your property back to the zone that it was built within in 1995. There are documentations that you do have to turn in, but these are generally the two ways that you can grandfather your property to that preferred zone.
If you have questions about flood insurance, please visit our website www.floodinsuranceguru, our Facebook page or YouTube Channel The Flood Insurance Guru, or give us a call 205-451-4294.
Hello. Chris Greene here, the Flood Insurance Guru. Today, we're here in Pelham, Alabama in Chandalar Court, and we're talking about what your flood insurance options are. Not just here, but also, in Alabaster, Helena, and South Shelby County. As you've got some possible map changes coming in the next couple months, we want to make sure that you're aware of all of your options.
Over the last couple months, we've gotten several customers, particularly here in Chandalar Court in this area, that has said, "Hey, I got a $4,000 flood insurance quote. What can I do? Is that my only option?" Well, today, we're here to tell you about what all the different options are.
Option number one. You can go to the National Flood Insurance Program. Just do a normal policy through FEMA. We recommend reaching out to an insurance agent that really focuses in flood. They understand the coverages, deductibles, what's going to apply and what's not, how to get zones changed. That's why we're here at the Flood Insurance Guru for you, and so you could do that traditional policy through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Now, let's just say this homeowner here already has a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program. That can be your option number two where you could do what's called a policy transfer. They could be where that policy was in a high-risk zone or low-risk zone. Let's just say low-risk when they did the policy. Then, what that can do is protect you with those lower rates, so that's option number two.
Option number three is you could go to the private market depending on your loan type. If you have like a conventional loan, a non-government-backed loan, check with your lender to see exactly what your loan is. You can look at the private market. They might be 50%, 60%, 70% less. I know in the last couple weeks, we helped a customer just here on Chandalar Court in Pelham save about $1,500 a year when we looked at different options for her.
Option number four is you could get an elevation certificate done. Se if this property qualifies for what's called a letter of map amendment or zone change, which removes the mandatory requirement and gives you access to preferred rates.
So, those are the four options when you're looking at buying, or selling, or you're just looking at your flood insurance options here in Pelham, Alabaster, Helena, or South Shelby County. So, if you've got questions, you can reach out to us. www.floodinsuranceguru.com, our Facebook page or YouTube channel, The Flood Insurance Guru. You can even give us a call, 205-451-4294.
Today we're talking about the wait period when it comes to flood insurance. We get a lot of questions on this. Is it 30 days? Is it 5 days? Is it 10 days? Well, when it the National Flood Insurance Program, there's actually two different options. If you're closing on a house, there is no wait period. You just have to have your payment in within 30 days of doing the policy for the policy to be active. Generally, you also have to have in a proof of residence, maybe a copy of a driver's license, where you moved into the house with a utility bill, something like that. The other option, I said, you have to wait 30 days if it's not for a loan closing. However, if it's in the private market, you may only have to wait 15 days. You may only have to wait 5 days. You may only have to wait 10 days. It really depends on the carrier. This is how the wait periods work with flood insurance.
If you have questions about how long you have to wait after purchasing a policy before it goes into effect, please reach out to us. www.floodinsuranceguru.com, our Facebook page of YouTube channel The Flood Insurance Guru, and you can also call us at 205-451-4294.
There are many different types of flood zones out there and can be confusing. We are going to discuss four types of inland flood zones. Zone X, D A, and AE.
A flood zone x is the lowest risk zone when it comes to flooding. While this zone has minimum risk about 30% of flooding does occur in this zone because of flash flooding. The video below gives a good explanation of a flood zone X.
The next flood zone we are going to discuss could be considered a land mine waiting to go off and that is a flood zone D. The reason for this this type of zone has not been mapped yet so the risk has not been determined. This could be a high risk for flooding or a low risk for flooding. The video below gives a good explanation what a flood zone D is.
The next type of flood zone is the A zone. These type of Special Flood Hazard Areas are subject to rising waters and are usually near a lake, river, stream or other body of water. Flood insurance is mandatory in all A zones because of the high potential of flooding. These type of zones may not have a base flood elevation sometimes making it difficult to get a property removed. Before ordering an elevation certificate it is recommended that you reach out to a flood insurance specialist like the flood insurance guru or a local flood plain manager to verify this. The video below also gives a good explanation of what a flood zone A is.
The next flood zone we will discuss is a flood zone AE. Outside the coast this area has the highest risk of flooding, it is also referred to as a 100 year flood zone. This zone also has has a base flood elevation which tells you how far above or below the flood line a property is. The video below gives a little more explanation of what a flood zone AE is.
If you have questions about this type of zones or are not sure what type of zone you are in we recommend reaching out to The Flood Insurance Guru to do a zone determination. You can click below to start the process.