Covid has been devastating across the world. Many businesses are out of business as a result of the pandemic hitting.

 

 

During a normal disaster many business owners might have been able to stay open. However because of lack of loss of use on business insurance policies many were forced to close.

The majority of these policies do exclude pandemics.

The courts in the United States and around the world are starting to fill with cases to dispute this coverage being denied.

A recent decision by a United Kingdom court could take a bad situation and turn it into an even more devastating situation.

According to Reuters Britains supreme court ruled many businesses should get coverage for Covid losses. So what does this mean?

So what does this mean?

It means insurance companies could have to pay endless claims on coverages that were not listed on the insurance policy.

These are some of the worlds largest insurance companies that will have to pay out these claims. Whats also important to understand is the reinsurers will have to cover these claims.

This means this could shake up the  e and s or surplus insurance market.

So how does this impact flood insurance?

Well reinsurers play a major role in the flood insurance market. They are a major player with the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance.

Let's look at the role they play with the National Flood Insurance Program. According to FEMA the reinsurance program helps manage the future exposure of the National Flood Insurance Program on future flood risks.

Can you imagine if the U.S. government took all of this risk on their own. You can imagine events like hurricane Harvey could have bankrupt the country.

Now let's look at reinsurance on the private flood insurance side. Reinsurers are basically the back bone of almost every private flood insurance company. They decide what capacity they will take on regarding risks across the world.

When ever an insurance carrier loses a reinsurer they have to non renew certain risks and stop doing business in some areas. Being in the insurance industry for more than 12 years we have seen this happen multiple times.

These reinsurers have to have certain reserves to cover flood losses. So what if these Covid claims eat up a large portion of that reserve fund?

Well a few things could happen we could see flood insurance rates skyrocket, or we could even see flood insurance options dry up across the United States.

You could also see where some of these private flood insurance companies no longer meet the requirement of private flood insurance.

This means banks may not accept policies from these companies.

You combine that with coming off the busiest hurricane season in U.S. history and we could be on  course for a major shake up in the  flood insurance industry.

Even if the reserves do stay high enough the reinsurers are going to have to find a way to make up these losses.

After interest rates being as low as they have for as long as they have many insurance companies are already hurting on their investments.

So we could still start to see risk being declined and rates going up especially along the Gulf coast.

We will continue to monitor how this situation across the pond plays out and how it could impact the United States flood market.

If you want to look at your flood insurance options makes sure to click here.

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

You can also check out our podcast.

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

Contact Us

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

My Post (19)-1

Sorry you need an elevation certificate for us to give you a flood insurance quote in Alabama.

Have you ever heard this when shopping for flood insurance in Alabama?

I know I have heard this almost everyday.

So is it true?

Well it could be and couldn't be.

We are going to look at some scenarios to give you an understanding of when it maybe required and when it may not.

Lets look at two things

  1. National Flood Insurance Program
  2. Private flood insurance

So does the National Flood Insurance Program require an elevation certificate in Alabama?

This could depend on a few things. First thing is the flood zone. If you are in the special flood hazard area also known as the 100 year flood zone then it could be required. We are talking about the following zones.

Flood zone A

Flood zone AE

 

Flood Zone V

 

So if you are in these zones and your property was built after the first flood map then generally an elevation certificate will be required.

What if it was built before the first flood map?

Well if the property has been substantially damaged or improved then an elevation certificate could be required.

Now let's answer the question you came to this blog for.

Does Alabama private flood insurance require elevation certificates?

This is a moving target question. Some private flood insurance carriers will require an elevation certificate if it is a post firm structure and in the special flood hazard area.

Some will the more negative your elevation is below the base flood elevation. Many times carriers use this as part of their flood score. So they may decline the risk but if you have an elevation certificate they may approve the risk.

Click here to order an elevation certificate

Thankfully the majority of the time private flood insurance carriers in Alabama will not require an elevation certificate.

Maybe you have been told all flood insurance is the same?

Then it maybe time to do a flood insurance review.

So if you have further questions about elevation certificates then click here.

You can also learn more about flood insurance by visiting our YouTube channel or tuning into our podcast.

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

 

Contact Us

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

 

Flooding in Alabama caused a lot of problems in 2019 and 2020. Many property owners were not aware of certain coverages that were available. As a result their mortgage may have been paid off but they could not replace or repair their home.

So today we want to answer a few questions on excess flood insurance in Alabama

  1. What is Alabama excess flood insurance
  2. When would excess coverage be needed

In understanding what Alabama excess flood insurance is let's think of a brick wall like the photo below.
My Post (17)-1Do you see how the bricks are stacked on top of each other? Well this is exactly what excess flood insurance in Alabama looks like.
You have the primary policy through the National Flood Insurance Program. If it is a residential building then you have coverage up to $250,000. If it is a commercial building you have coverage up to $500,000.

So what happens if this is not enough coverage? This is where excess flood insurance coverage in Alabama kicks in. You would purchase an additional policy through a private flood insurance company. When the coverages on the National Flood Insurance Program are exhausted then this excess policy would kick in.

It's important to know in order to generally do an excess policy you have to have an underlying policy with the National Flood Insurance Program for the max amount of coverage available.

It's also important to understand there would also be multiple deductibles in this situation. One for the National Flood Insurance Program policy and one for the excess policy.

It's also important to understand that different guidelines apply to excess policies and normal private flood insurance policies in Alabama.

So we have looked at what is excess flood insurance coverage in Alabama and when would you need it. Maybe you have further flood questions.

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

Want to know what flood insurance options are available in Alabama? Click here.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation which means we are here to 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

Flood insurance in Alabama can be confusing. Many insurance agents in areas like Birmingham and Montgomery want nothing to do with it and others think people may not be in a flood zone.

Birmingham, Alabama Flood Insurance

After the 2019 Alabama flooding I can't tell you how many times I spoke to someone who said their insurance agent told them they were not in a flood zone.

Yikes!

Try explaining that to someone after they lost everything to a flood. Thats exactly what happened with people in Houston Texas and residents of Nathans Estates in Muscle Schoals Alabama.

So today we are going to look at 5 things that could cause flood insurance e and o claims to happen in Alabama.

  1. Building coverage
  2. Contents coverage
  3. Proper documentation
  4. Mistakes on application
  5. Cobra zones

 

Building Coverage

One of the leading causes of e and o claims on flood insurance can be building coverage. Many agents either don't offer building coverage or don't offer replacement cost on the building in Alabama.

It's important to understand these because a policy could default to actual cash value if the 80% rule is not followed.

 

The National Flood Insurance Program generally requires either the max coverage available or 80% of the replacement cost. So for example if the replacement cost of a building is $400,000 they would require $250,000 to be on the policy.

This is also the opportunity to have excess coverage which could cover the proper replacement cost.

 

Contents Coverage

The next area is contents coverage. We see many policies that do not have contents coverage. This ultimately is up to the customer but many times we see where it was never offered. 

Imagine losing all your personal belongings and not knowing you could have had coverage for it.

You would probably be pretty upset.

Recovering from not having contents coverage can be just as hard as recovering from not having building coverage.

Proper Documentation

Proper documentation on Alabama flood insurance policies is another area where we see alot of error and omission claims occur.

In many situations if the National Flood Insurance Program or FEMA does not receive the documentation they need they will drop coverage down.

I remember speaking with an insurance agent a few months ago. They had called us on this exact issue. The carrier had submitted some documentation to them but they did not see it in their insurance agency management system.

The customers coverage was lowered from $250,000 to $25,000. A claim occurred and to the agent and insureds surprise there was not enough coverage to cover the damages.

Some of the documentation that maybe needed is a signed application by the insured and the agent. Proof of payment, possibly an elevation certificate with color photos.

A big area we see mistakes everyday on is the application. So many times we will see agents mark a home has a basement not truly understanding how FEMA defines a basement.

 

If a property does not have all four sides below ground then FEMA may not consider it a basement. Things like this could cause problems during the claim process.

COBRA Zones

Lastly is writing coverage when it's not available. One big area this happens is Cobra zones and other protected areas.

 

Just a couple of months ago we where advising an agent in Savannah Georgia and Statesboro Georgia about these guidelines. They said well it let me write it. A couple of months later FEMA cancelled the policy for underwriting. We were able to help the client find coverage through the private flood insurance market but it was a difference of about $5000.

As you can see there are alot of things to pay attention to when setting up a flood insurance policy for a client. You want to make sure you have a good process of making sure all things are done.

Maybe you just don't want to offer flood insurance in Alabama and that is fine. We work with insurance agents across the country everyday because of our educational background in flood mitigation. Click here to learn more

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

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

 

Contact Us

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

Technology has come along way over the last 10 to 15 years. Insurance has also started to transfer to more of a digital experience. 

You can tell by just seeing insurance commercials on tv today. 

It seems like auto and home insurance has become more of a commodity over the last 5 years.

Many people just want what coverage is required and to move on. They want it done as a quick as possible. Maybe save 15% in 15 minutes but what if 15 minutes could cost you 85% of what you own.

So is flood insurance the next drive thru purchase?

 

As I am sure everyone has had a drive thru experience. I feel like I have a bad one almost everyday when i go to get my afternoon diet coke from the arch.

 

 

Each time I visit I pay close attention to the drive thru experience. They now have multiple lines that merge to one line. They seem to be attempting to push through more traffic but are making more mistakes than ever.

Imagine if you bought flood insurance this way. Can you imagine having to get your policy changed 3 times or more?

Can you imagine purchasing a policy that has no contents coverage?

Can you imagine purchasing a policy that would only cover half the building?

Crazy right?

Well this is what we see happen everyday when someone purchases flood insurance online.

Treating your biggest asset to a drive thru experience may not be such a great idea.

After your home or business has flooded is not the time to find out you don't have the right coverage.

This is exactly what happened to a customer that came to us when they dealt with an online bank.

So if you are going to buy online or want that quick process at least make sure a few things are done.

  1. Signed application submitted
  2. Proof of payment submitted
  3. Confirm bank has a copy

So if you have questions about the flood insurance buying process then click here.

Remember you can also check out our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

We have an educational background in flood mitigation so we are here to help you understand flood insurance, flood risk, and mitigating your property.

Contact Us

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

It's inauguration day in the United States. No matter who you vote for this is always a historic day in the United States.

Its the day power is transferred from one person to the next as you have one president going out and a new one coming in today. 2021 isn't just the changing of presidential power but also the changing of flood insurance.

Almost everyday we get asked when is the National Flood Insurance Program going to get out of the flood insurance game.

The answer could be never but some things have recently happened to transfer some of that power and will continue to through 2021.

In July of 2019 the FDIC ruled that banks could start accepting private flood insurance on top of the National Flood Insurance Program. This meant that many customers had an option that they did not before. However due to the National Flood Insurance Program and FEMA cancellation rules they could only change at renewal.

 

After this ruling there were still some dark areas if every loan accepted private flood insurance.

The two areas that came into question were FHA and VA loans because they are considered government loans. Sometimes getting a straight answer on VA guidelines can be difficult. Direct writers for VA loans say no but mortgage brokers for VA loans say yes many times.

 

However FHA is a little bit easier as they have clearly said no for right now. About 60 days ago FHA opened up the comment period to determine if they will accept private flood insurance.

Hopefully they will make a ruling on this in the first quarter of 2021 and allow private flood insurance to be accepted. However thats not the only change with this transfer of power happening. 

The National Flood Insurance Program is scheduled to release NFIP Risk Rating 2.0 in October of 2021.

 

If this does happen it could bring some sweeping changes to a very outdated flood program.

Some of these changes could include flood insurance rates being based on replacement cost, rates based on distance to the water, and possibly elevation certificates no longer being needed.

Currently if you live in a flood zone x or minimal risk zone it's the same rate across the country, However in the new system you mighty have a different rate in Houston Texas compared to Birmingham Alabama.

It has been said that this could cause flood insurance to be unaffordable in areas like Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina where many flood prone properties exist.

Replacement cost on a property could also help determine rates. Currently this is only used in coastal flood zones also known as flood zone V.

 

Elevation certificates no longer being required could be huge. Currently in many situations you can't eve get a flood insurance quote through the National Flood Insurance Program without an elevation certificate.

This could also be a cost saver to property owners as elevation certificate pricing can range from $500 to $2000.

So with these changes happening in 2021 will the National Flood Insurance Program be leaving the flood insurance industry.

It looks like if this did happen it would not happen anytime soon. One reason is the National Flood Insurance Program does not even currently consider private flood insurance as continuous coverage. This is one reason why if you leave for a private policy and come back you may not have the same benefits.

The other concern is insurability for properties that have flooded multiple times. Historically it has been a challenge for these properties to get reasonable flood insurance in these areas.

As you can see there are a lot of changes that are happening with the National Flood Insurance Program and even private flood insurance. If you have further questions make sure to visit our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

Contact Us

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

So the lake has been lowered does it mean flood insurance on Smith Lake will be lower?

Smith lake Alabama flood insurance

Flood insurance in the Smith Lake Alabama can have a wide range. Areas closer to the water may have higher rates and elevated properties might have cheaper rates on flood insurance in Alabama.

So what happens when the lake is lowered?

 

When it comes to flood insurance in Alabama or really any where rates are based on 12 months. This locks a rate in no matter what happens during that 12 months.

It's very common for lakes to be lowered in Alabama during the winter months so people can work on their docks.

year 1 photo

So will this lower flood insurance in Alabama?

Generally the only way this might lower the flood insurance is if the lowering is permanent. This could be something like draining a lake.

So if this is not going to help what can you do to lower flood insurance on Smith Lake?

One way is by verifying the flood zone. Almost every week we speak to someone on Smith lake that is listed in the wrong flood zone.

So let's say you are in a high risk flood zone like flood zone A and you should be in flood zone X.

What could the impacts be on flood insurance?

  1. Mandatory requirement removed
  2. Standard to preferred rate

If you are moved from a flood zone A to flood zone X then it is possible that your bank will no longer require flood insurance. This could really help with property value if it is no longer required.

The next thing that could help is going from a standard flood rate to a preferred rate. This could be the difference in $500 to $1000 a year.

In this situation you are generally going from a mandatory to a non mandatory flood zone.

So if you have further questions about how to lower flood insurance rates in Alabama then click here. Want to learn more about flood insurance and flood education then make sure to check out our YouTube channel where we do our daily flood education videos.

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

Contact Us
Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

Should you buy flood insurance online?

It's a question we get often. Covid 19 has changed a lot of this where everyone is shifting online.

 

 

However as the purchasing of insurance online has increased over the years it seems insurance coverage advising has taken a major hit.

One of the great benefits of walking into an insurance office was that you could have a professional agent advise you on the right coverages.

Lately it feels like insurance has become the next drive thru purchase for consumers.

People are concerned with how fast they can get it 

Can we advise customers online without a physical interaction?

Yes video is one form that is helping to change the purchase of insurance online. Using video through the purchase price does a couple of things.

  1. Personal connection
  2. Coverage recommendation

The development of video has done wonders for us. Whether someone is 2 miles away or 2000 miles away it has helped us develop a deeper relationship with prospects and customers.

Video has also allowed us to show prospects examples of when they may use or need a certain flood insurance coverage.

Can you imagine going online to purchase something with no advisement?

If you didn't know exactly what you were looking for you might pick the wrong thing.

We talk to flood insurance policy holders everyday who have done this. In fact many times they don't know if they have a National Flood Insurance Program policy or a private flood insurance policy.

Want to know the difference click here.

Buying flood insurance online doesn't have to be a bad thing. It just needs to be an advisement experience.

What do mean by that?

We mean that someone needs to help navigate you through the process of coverage selection and policy selection.

Let's look at coverage selection first. When someone comes to us after purchasing flood insurance online the first thing we look at is replacement cost of property.

 

The majority of the time they are underinsured for about 30-40%

Getting only 60-70% of your home rebuilt would do you much good. It would probably look like the picture below.

Now let's look at policy selection. When consumers are faced with the choice to choose between private flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program price is usually the driving factor.

However many times they are not shown the long term stability of those rates over a 5 year period. While the National Flood Insurance Program might have a higher rate they may have had more stable rates over a 5 year period.

As you see buying flood insurance online can be scary but it doesn't have to be. If you want to actually speak with someone or even get a video proposal on your flood insurance then click here.

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

If you want to learn more about flood insurance you can also check out our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

Contact Us

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

So you have found out you are in a special flood hazard area. So now its time to find a flood insurance policy. 

So how do you pick the right flood insurance agent?

 

 

I mean all flood insurance is the same, right??

Today we are going to look at two approaches flood insurance agencies take when setting up flood policies. At the end we hope to help you pick the choice that is right for you.

First if a flood insurance company tells you all flood insurance is the same this is a great sign that they are not the right flood insurance agent for you.

All flood insurance is not the same. Even flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program might now be the same.

There are many things that could give someone a different rate. There are three things below that we will take a quick look at.

  1. Elevation certificates
  2. Policy assumption
  3. Grandfathering

 

Elevation certificates could show a big difference in rate. If this elevation certificate shows you are above the base flood elevation it could give you a great rate while without it the rate maybe much higher.

Policy assumption is another way that National Flood Insurance Program rates could be different. This is when one policy is signed over from one property owner to the next.

We have see more than $3000 rate here. You see when you set up a new policy with National Flood Insurance Program its based on current rates and guidelines.

However when a policy is assumed it is going off the guidelines of when the policy was set up. If this policy has been in place even more than a year it could be much cheaper rates. This is why we recommend looking at a policy assumption when possible.

So what about grandfathering?

 

Trust me grandfathering can make a big difference in rates when available. I know I had to grandfather my own property in Monroe Georgia almost 10 years ago. 

I was told flood insurance would be more than $3000 a year. However because of my educational background in flood mitigation and understanding grandfathering my rate $350 a year.

So as you can see there can be a lot of differences in rate with the National Flood Insurance Program.

However you also don't want to forget about private flood insurance. If someone tells you it doesn't exist or they don't offer it then they might not be the right flood insurance agent for you. Private flood insurance can offer some unique coverages and pricing.

Now lets look at transactional and consultative

Transactional Flood Insurance Agencies

Transactional flood insurance agents or agencies many times are trying to make the process as quick and painless for you. There can be some benefits to using them like the cheapest rate some times and getting things done quickly.

These type of agencies are usually based on volume so they are doing a lot of these policies everyday.

However many times where this can be a danger is picking the right coverages and long term impacts.

On these transactional agencies many times they will have you pick the coverages or will put what the mortgage company requires. This can be dangerous if you are like most consumers you probably aren't sure what coverages are needed for flood insurance.

To give you an example of these I spoke to a client yesterday that wanted 8,000 in contents coverage for his lake cabin. We started talking about furniture and personal belongings in the cabin. It had at least 50,000 worth of stuff. So we recommended about 100,000 in contents coverage for them.

You generally may not get this with a transactional flood insurance agency. Now let's look at the long term impacts. Many times these transactional flood insurance agencies do not look at long term impacts on the customer.

We are talking about long term rates and the impact of flood insurance claims. Wouldn't it be nice to know how stable flood insurance rates are in an area over a 5 year period. Wouldn't also be nice to know how flood insurance claims might impact you before filing them.

These are some of things you don't get with a transactional flood insurance agency. Now let's look at consultative flood insurance agencies.

 

Consultative Flood Insurance Agencies

Have you ever had a problem you needed help walking through and wanted to know what solutions are available. You might even need help getting to these solutions. This is exactly what consultative flood insurance agencies do.

They walk property owners through the following things

  1. Flood insurance coverages
  2. Flood insurance options
  3. Flood zones
  4. Flood mitigation
  5. Long term rates
  6. Impacts of flood claims

So let's look at flood insurance coverages first. These type of agencies or agents walk customers through understanding building coverage, contents, coverage, loss of use when available, and deductibles.

Consultative flood insurance agencies generally do a good job of using examples of when each coverage would be needed.

For example the difference in coverage for appliances and furniture. One might be part of the building and the other one may not.

Then there is flood insurance options. This is where a consultative flood insurance agency could save you a lot of money and headaches long term.

A good consultative flood insurance agency shows the customer the difference in the national flood insurance program and private flood insurance companies.

 

They show them the benefits and negatives. For example what if you saved a $100 by switching to a private flood insurance policy this year. However it cost you a $1000 more next year. Wouldn't be nice if someone could show you that.

Now when it comes to flood insurance rates a consultative flood insurance agency may not have the cheapest rate but it can be the best policy. No one cares how much money they saved when a flood insurance claim occurs and they have nothing.

This could help you as a property owner make a better decision on flood insurance.

So what about the long term impact of flood insurance claims.

Flood insurance claims work differently than property claims. When a traditional home insurance claim occurs it might stay on the insured and property record for 3-5 years. If the insured goes to buy another home this claim might hurt them. This is not the case with flood insurance claims as they follow the property.

However flood insurance claims can stay on the property forever. For example many private flood insurance companies will not insure a property that has ever had a claim. Others may not want any claims in the last five years.

So what if you filed a $1500 claim on a policy with a $1000 deductible? Well if it s a private flood insurance policy then the policy could be non renewed.

In fact we recently saw this happen with a property owner 2 weeks before renewal. They ended up having to go back to the National Flood Insurance Program with a rate that was $5000 higher.

These are the type of things that consultative flood insurance agencies can help you avoid.

So you might ask what is The Flood Insurance Guru?

We pride our selves on being a consultative flood insurance agency.

So if you have further flood insurance questions or how to pick the right agent click here.

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

You can also tune into our podcast by clicking here.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. This means we are here to 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

There are few things that get my blood boiling more than when I hear someone say I am not in a flood zone or they tell someone is not in a flood zone.

 

 

Everybody is in a flood zone. It might be a low, moderate, or high risk flood zone.

Low Risk zones

 

Moderate flood zones

 

High Risk flood zones

 

It might be a special flood hazard area where flood insurance is required.

One thing that gets me more than this is only pay for the flood insurance you need.

I see companies advertising everyday only pay for what you need.

In fact I use to work for one of them and they promised to never go down that path.

What a terrible message

You see most people don't know what they need until a claim or loss happens.

Recently one of our flood insurance customers In Decatur Georgia had a home insurance claim.

They bought their home insurance online and went with coverages offered online.

The fire was a total loss for the property. Thankfully the mortgage was paid off. However they were out over $75,000 in improvements. The home was underinsured by about 30% causing a major hardship to the customer and forcing them to walk away from the property.

We see this happen everyday on flood insurance as well. Recently in Texas we had someone come to us on flood insurance. They had some previous claims and were wanting help fighting the flood insurance claim amount.

They had a $150,000 policy but was only getting $20,000 on the claim. Her mortgage was for $150,000 so thats what she insured for. She was told she didn't need any more than the loan amount.

The problem is she didn't insure for 80% of the replacement cost or the max amount of coverage available through the National Flood Insurance Program. As a result her policy was an actual cash value policy resulting in a lower claim amount.

 

Now lets look at a customer that we had on Weiss Lake in Centre Alabama during the 2019 flood. This customer had a total loss on their lake home.

Customer was nervous because his wife's wedding dress had been destroyed. Thankfully the contents coverage on his private flood insurance policy covered the dress and the other things in the home.

When he came to us he did not want contents coverage but we advised him why he needed it. He sure was glad he took our recommendation after this claim.

This is why its so important to have someone advise you on what insurance coverages you may need. You may not know what you need until after the flood insurance claim.

If you have questions about picking the right flood insurance coverage then click here.

You can also learn more by visiting our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos. You can also check out our podcast here.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation so we are here to 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

2019 and 2020 has brought some serious flood threats to Alabama during the winter months. 

So today we will look at the following

  1. Why the flooding occurred
  2. Impacts on insurance
  3. What to expect in 2021

 

Why Flooding Happened

Alabama received a large amount of rainfall in 2019 and 2020. As a result then water tables were full for a long time. According to WAAY 31  rain continued to fall there just wasn't anywhere for the water to go.

 

Even the power companies through out Alabama had a hard time managing the amount of water coming through the state. Water levels on the Tennessee River, Lake Logan Martin, Smith lake, and Weiss lake set records.

Some people on Weiss lake had total losses to their properties as a result of flooding.

In Muscle Shoals Alabama Nathan estate residents lost everything to flooding. This area was not even in a special flood hazard area so many people did not have flood insurance.

As a result they had to depend on disaster assistance to help them which is a very little amount of money.

Since this flooding in 2019 and 2020 hit it has caused a ripple effect when it comes to private flood insurance options.

Some carriers are not currently writing flood insurance in certain parts of North Alabama and East Alabama.

As a result many property owners have had to find either get a higher private flood insurance option or go back to the National Flood Insurance Program.

What to Expect in 2021

So can we expect the same thing to happen in 2021?

It's important to make sure to have flood insurance in place if this flooding was to occur again.

However 2021 is bringing some different challenges with it. Unlike 2019 and 2020 the water tables are not nearly as high as they were. This will allow for more water absorption, less runoff, and better water management by local watersheds.

This doesn't mean that winter flooding won't occur in Alabama in 2021.

So what can you do to be prepared if this flooding does occur?

As we mentioned making sure your have your Alabama flood insurance in place is the first step.

Waiting until the end of January to try to do this is a bad idea.

Almost all flood insurance companies have wait periods. This is the time frame between when a policy is issued and when a claim would be covered.

 

The National Flood Insurance Program generally has a 30 day wait period. Private flood insurance companies can range from 1 day to 15 days.

Flood Insurance Options

So what flood insurance options are available in Alabama?

As we have mentioned before you have the National Flood Insurance Program and you have private flood insurance companies.

One is backed by the government and one is backed by private flood insurance companies.

It's important to understand that National Flood Insurance Program should be the same price no matter where you get it from, but private flood insurance will widely range on price.

Each private flood insurance carrier has their own rating model so coverages and pricing are unique. If you want to learn more about your options then click here.

You can also check out our YouTube channel where we put our daily flood education videos.

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

 

Contact Us

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

Buying flood insurance in Huntsville Alabama can sometimes feel like the stock market. Prices are way higher than they were 6 months ago or they are way lower.

So today we want to look at when is the best time to buy flood insurance during a flood map change in Huntsville Alabama?

The simple answer is before the map changes. However there are alot of moving parts we want to look at when comes to flood insurance map changes.


Flood insurance rate maps are always changing. This happens when a flood insurance study report has been done and the community agrees with FEMA on a new flood map.

So what happens when this takes place in Huntsville Alabama?

There can be the good, bad, and ugly.

Good

Let's look at the good first. When the last flood map update was done certain properties in the Huntsville Alabama area had been removed from the special flood hazard area.

One particular area this occurred was Owen Cross Roads and Madison Alabama. This means if these properties carried a mortgage flood insurance would no longer be required.

Bad

Now let's look at the bad on the flood insurance rate map updates. Many properties are moved from a minimal flood zone to the special flood hazard area.

What is the minimal flood zone or flood zone x in Huntsville Alabama?

 

This means if there is a mortgage on the property flood insurance would now be required.

The good news is FEMA provides special flood rates on these properties the first year. These are called newly mapped rates. The video below gives a good explanation of what this means.

 

Ugly

Now let's look at the ugly when it comes to these flood map updates in Huntsville Alabama. When these changes take place some properties could stay in the special flood hazard area and may go from high risk to higher risk.

Generally this could result in the property having a higher premium in the future. Things like grandfathering could possibly help minimize this increase.

So what is the grandfathering rule in Huntsville Alabama?

The video below explains exactly what this rule is and when it applies.

 

As you can see there are a lot of things to understand when it comes to map changes and buying flood insurance in Huntsville Alabama.

It's important to understand when these changes are taking place. Every day we see people who have waited too long and they are paying 40% for flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program as a result.

So if you have further questions about these changes or want to know what flood insurance options are available in Huntsville Alabama then click here.

You can also check out our Youtube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

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

Contact Us

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

For a long time commercial property owners in Alabama have felt they only had one option for flood insurance. However over the last 15 years private flood insurance companies have made a major push.

 

For the longest time private flood insurance companies could not figure out a profitable that also gave them predictable models. As technology has developed these changes have started to push the private flood insurance industry in Alabama forward.

So is the National Flood Insurance Program still the best option for your Alabama commercial property?

Let's look at some changes coming to the National Flood insurance program. The first is rate increases up to 25% on non primary residence properties.

 

This could have a major impact on investors and investment properties.

It could also impact people like apartment building owners.

 

Some other changes scheduled to happen is NFIP Risk Rating 2.0.

 

Everyone is not sure about the overall total impact of this new program. However the closer you are to water it could have a major impact on your bottom line.

So with these changes coming it could significantly the pockets of investors. Before deciding if its still the best option we need to look at some coverages the National Flood Insurance Program does not offer.

As a Huntsville business owner one of the biggest exposures to you could be loss of income. What if you have a restaurant along the Tennessee River and it floods.

 

How would the restaurant stay open when it recovers from this disaster?

This is where loss of income can come into play. This can be a great benefit of private flood insurance in Alabama. The National Flood Insurance Program does not offer loss of income on its flood policies.

As the National Flood Insurance Program continues to increase prices it also has property owners in areas like Montgomery and Birmingham Alabama searching for a cheaper commercial flood insurance option.

So is commercial flood insurance cheaper in Alabama?

It depends on a lot of factors like the flood score, loss history, and location.

Its not unusual to get a commercial flood policy in areas like Huntsville or Birmingham Alabama that is 30-40% less.

 

However in areas of east Alabama like Gadsden, Oxford, and Anniston where losses have occurred in the past rates could be higher or they may not do a policy on the property at all.

It's important to understand what commercial flood insurance options are available in Alabama and when you can make the switch to private flood insurance.

If you want to learn more about this then click here and we can reach out to you.

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

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation which means we are here to 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

Today we want to answer a question we hear very often. Is flood insurance a waste of money on my Homewood Alabama property?

The video below look a little bit at flood insurance, basement homes, and if it's a waste of money.

 

Today we want to take a deeper look at Homewood Alabama properties.

 

Homewood Alabama has a lot of historic homes. Many of these homes have subgrade foundations.

 

These maybe subgrade crawlspace or basement homes.

So is purchasing flood insurance on these Homewood Alabama properties a waste of money?

You may or may not know this but flood insurance coverages are limited on basements.

The video below shows some things that are covered in basements.

 

Many people decide not to purchase flood insurance for theses properties as they do not believe water will ever reach the living area.

What many people do not think about is water pressure.

When your basement fills up with water or has water pressed against the the outside structure it can add major stress to the structure.

Eventually this pressure could cause the foundation walls to collapse causing a total loss. 

Flood damage to a basement could also cause major damage to safety systems.

These are things like a furnace, air conditioner, circuit breaker, or stair case. These are things that make the structure safe.

So is flood insurance on your Homewood Alabama a waste of money?

Not when it can do a lot more than just protecting your basement.

It's also important to understand that certain private carriers to offer some additional contents coverages on basements.

Its not uncommon to pay over $2000 a year for flood insurance on your Homewood Alabama property. It's very important to work with someone that understands all the factors that go into a flood insurance rate and a flood insurance score.

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

You can also check out our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos. You can also visit the podcast by clicking here.

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

 

Contact Us

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com