Flood insurance can be expensive and it can also be cheap. So what is the difference when it comes to flood insurance in Homewood Alabama?

Let's discuss three things that could impact flood insurance rates in Homewood Alabama.

  1. Age of the home
  2. Foundation of the home
  3. Floodways

 

Age of the Home

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Let's look at the age of the home first, what impact can the age of the home in Homewood Alabama have on your flood insurance rates.

Well let's discuss two different programs with the National Flood Insurance Program to get a better understand of the impact age of the home can have on flood insurance rates.

Under the National Flood Insurance Program there are two types of structures.

  1. Pre-Firm
  2. Post-Firm

Pre-Firm structures are structures that were either built before the first flood map or after 1974 which ever one is later.

Post- Firm structures are structures that were built after the first flood map.

The first flood map for Homewood Alabama was March of 1973 so post-firm structures in Homewood Alabama would be after December 31, 1974.

Now that we know the difference between pre-firm structures and post-firm structures in Homewood Alabama lets discuss how the rates are different.

Since pre-firm structures were built before the first flood maps they have access to subsidized rates.

So what are subsidized flood insurance rates? According to FEMA these are flood insurance rates that are charged to a select group that would not cover expenses and claims.

In many situations these rates are half what they should be. Different subsidized rates apply to pre-firm structures than they do post-firm structures. There are a few things that could change a pre-firm structure to a post-firm structure. Those two things are buildings being

  1. Substantially improved
  2. Buildings having additions

 

Homewood Alabama is a very hot real estate market because of location. This area has alot of historic buildings. As this market gets hotter and hotter many people are improving these properties and making additions.

So let's first discus substantially improved properties. These are properties that have had more than 50% of the market value in renovations within a given year. If a Homewood property has had this done then the date of construction would change from the original date to the date of renovations.

This can have a huge impact on flood insurance rates as it removes the property from certain subsidization flood insurance rate programs.

Properties in Homewood Alabama having additions put on them also follow the same guidelines. Once an addition is added to the property then the year of construction now changes to the year of the addition. This also removes the property from certain subsidization flood insurance programs.

Now that we have an understanding of how age of the home can impact flood insurance rates, lets discuss foundations.

 

Foundation of the Home

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Foundation of a home can be one of the leading factors when it comes to flood insurance in Homewood Alabama. Let's discuss 4 basic types of foundations that the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance look at in Homewood Alabama.

  1. Slabs
  2. Crawlspaces
  3. Basements
  4. Elevated buildings

 

Slab Foundations

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Slab foundations are foundations that are concrete poured. These foundations are not below grade as a result many times flood insurance rates can be better on these properties depending on what the base flood elevation is.

Crawlspace Foundations

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Crawlspace homes are an under-floor space that has its interior floor area (finished or not) no more than 5 feet below the top of the next-higher floor. There are two types of crawlspace homes.

  1. Above grade crawlspace
  2. Subgrade crawlspace

The difference in flood premiums for these two types of crawlspaces can be huge. One reason is that subgrade crawlspaces are below ground and above grade crawlspaces are not.

Above grade crawlspaces can allow for certain mitigation efforts like flood vents where the crawlspace area does not have to count as the lowest rated floor.

Subgrade crawlspaces do not have these same benefit since they are underground.

Basements

Billard table in a corridor of modern house

According to FEMA basements are homes where all four sides of the home are underground. There are two types of basements in Homewood Alabama

  1. Full basements
  2. Walk out basements

Full basements are basements that fill the entire area under the house, rather than just part of it.

Walk out basements are basements that incorporate a wall with doors and windows on the ground level.

While the NFIP does not charge differently for these two types of basements in the Homewood area, private companies do use it in their determination of rates.

Walk out basements can create a different flood exposure because of the entry way around the subgrade area.

 

Elevated buildings

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Elevated buildings are similar to homes in Homewood with above grade crawlspaces. However according to FEMA the difference between these two types of properties is the distance between the crawlspace and the next floor.

If its five feet or less its considered a crawlspace, once it passes five feet then it becomes an elevated building.

All these foundation types can impact flood insurance rates in Homewood Alabama. The biggest factor they have is how far below or above the base flood elevation. The more negative the higher the flood insurance rate. The more positive the building elevation is the lower the flood insurance rate. A positive elevation above the base flood elevation can also possibly make the property a good candidate for the property to be removed from the flood zone.

 

Floodways

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Regulatory floodways are the channel of a river or other watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than a designated height.

The South Shades creek floodway can have a big impact not only on flood insurance rates but also flood insurance options in Homewood Alabama. While the NFIP does not use floodways like South Shades creek in determining rates the private flood insurance market does.

Many private flood insurance companies will not insure properties that are located within the floodway. The private flood companies that do generally charge a much higher rate.

While your property may not be currently in a floodway it could be moved to one when flood maps are updated. This could result in having your private flood insurance in Homewood Alabama cancelled.

So if you have questions about how the age of your home, the foundation of your home, or floodways in Homewood Alabama are impacting your flood insurance rates then please reach out to us. You can visit our website Flood Insurance Guru for flood education resources. You can also visit our YouTube channel or Facebook page The Flood Insurance Guru where we do daily flood education videos.

 

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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