HOUSTON, TX — If you live in a rental property or looking to get one in Texas, you should know that there will be significant changes to flood insurance in the state. This generally covers apartments and those who rent a property from landlords. 

Texas Landlords are Required to Let You Know About Flood Risks

Today, we want to talk about the new law in Texas requiring landlords to basically disclose and notify renters of flood risks on their rental property before having these potential individual or family sign their lease. We also want to talk about how this can help provide more protection on flood risks and unwanted flood loss.

What's New?

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, it dumped more than 40 inches of rain over a short amount of time and flooded properties that had never been flooded before. Areas that were told they didn't need flood insurance got hit hard with flooding at that time. A lot of these areas were flooded because they sat between two reservoirs. 

Starting on January 1st, 2022, landlords are expected to notify potential people who are looking to rent their properties: from apartment to a single-family home, renters will get an idea and insight on the expected flood risks on the property you're looking to buy.

Texas Landlords are Required to Let You Know About Flood Risks

This is great news for more families in Harris County since most of these people rent properties. In a way, this is like a security deposit in a way that the renter will be aware of how much property damage they can expect once Texas gets flooded. 

Basically, if the property you're looking to rent got flooded at least once in the last five years or lives in the 100-year flood plain, your landlord has to give you a notification in writing as said by Texas Representative Armando Walle. The landlord failing to do so entitles the renter to break the lease agreement if the apartment gets flooded or substantially damaged due to floodwater. 

Why Change Now?

Now, most people would ask why is now the good time to have this law out there? Well, as we get through Hurricane Harvey, and now we've gotten through a whole year of back and forth with floods in Texas due to consistent heavy rainfall, this law is really coming in the right place at the right time.

As we fix these flooded properties or maybe some that are getting flipped when real estate investors buy them, they're going to have to disclose the flooding history of the property. This really does a great job protecting a consumer or buyer in the rental market. Now that we've addressed that side of the market, it's only fair that two years after we also provide the same amount of protection to renters.

Texas Landlords are Required to Let You Know About Flood Risks

A renter named Kenny Ryman was able to recall that during Hurricane Harvey, his apartment was flooded and he didn't have any clue about it. Despite living for 56 years in the rental property, he wasn't informed that the area flooded and caused a lot of property damage to Ryman.

Will this have an impact on the apartments and rental market in areas like Houston in Texas? Absolutely since these rental properties may not sell as much as they did before because you're having to notify whether or not these properties were flooded or not recently. 

So we just wanted to do a quick rundown on this Texas law change as this will definitely change the course of the rental market in Texas as well as directly impact the flood insurance premiums for these houses.

If you have more questions on this Texas law change, federal flood insurance, the insurance industry in general, how the National Flood Insurance Program works, or anything about floods. Reach out to us by clicking the link below.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

You can also visit our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer your most common flood insurance questions.

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Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation and we want to help you protect the value of your property long-term.

Alabama is no stranger to flooding. Be this due to consistent rainfall to hurricanes making landfall near the state, almost throughout every year, Alabama will be a victim of this type of natural disaster.

Three Most Common Flood Zones in Alabama

Today, we want to do a deep dive into why flooding is very common in the state and discuss the three most common flood zones in The Heart of Dixie state.

Lookback on Alabama Floods

The state is no stranger to floods especially due to flash flooding. Most of the counties in the state face flood as one of the biggest challenges from heavy rains to tropical storms passing by.

Despite having only one named storm in the last quarter of this year, it doesn't mean everything will be calm. We're still seeing a lot of rainfall and persistent precipitations across the country. In most cases, these conditions are enough to cause enough flooding and damage to multiple areas.

Take note, this is without a tropical storm present and at the most extreme caused by monsoons. Why is this happening you might ask?

We can owe it to what's called the La Niña. La Niña is a "cold event" wherein trade winds are stronger than usual which pushes more warm water toward Asia. Being the exact opposite of El Niño which is commonly known as the "heat event" that leads to week-to-month long droughts in South America and California, La Niña is a mixed bag of weather conditions that are very unpredictable and usually exceed the expectations.

This generally causes some areas of the United States to be very dry while some get very wet. To give an example, 80% of Stanislaus County in California is experiencing very extreme to exceptional drought hence the "very dry" conditions. Add this to the already dried-up ecosystem due to the wildfires, it's no question why the drought continues in the state. However, it's equally important to note that these types of events may just be scratching the surface when it comes to the dangers it presents to locals.

On the other hand, if we look at areas like Washington, a lot of atmospheric river impacts are being felt due to La Niña hence causing floods in the area up to the northwestern regions even in British Columbia. We've also seen how the shift from having warm surface water to a much colder one impacts the weather in areas like Northern California. The northern part of the state recently had to face devastating damages due to atmospheric rivers causing an extreme rain event in the area.

These are just a few of the examples we're seeing in the past few weeks however this doesn't mean that everything ends there. We can still expect more effects of the "small girl" as we end the year and go through the winter season.

Most Common Zones in Alabama

There are three most common flood zones we see the cover of the households in Alabama, these are Flood Zone X, Flood Zone A, and Flood Zone AE.

Other than the letters you might be wondering how these flood zones differ, so we'll discuss that

Flood Zone X

If your property is "not in a flood zone" then you're most likely to be in a flood zone X. Generally this zone has the lowest flood risk due to its relative distance to floodplains where flooding commonly starts. This simply means that flood insurance generally isn't required since the probability of a flood or risk of flooding, and impact a building or property in such zones is much lower than other flood zones.

Keep in mind that we're talking about a low-risk zone and not a no-risk zone. This is generally due to flash floods being more commonly experienced by flood zone X which causes significant flood insurance losses due to the damages.

Some mortgage and/or insurance carriers would also call these preferred flood zones. This is called a preferred zone since it has more favorable rates for the homeowner and risks for the insurance carrier. Even with FEMA, being in a low-risk zone brings a lot of good things because Flood Zone X has lower rates even in flood-prone Alabama. 

As we move into Risk Rating 2.0 where flood zones don't impact flood insurance rates, if your property sits on a Flood Zone X, you won't be required to carry flood insurance. However, it's important to remember that 30% of flood insurance claims do come from the homes in Flood Zone X.

Flood Zone A

Let's say you move into someplace else and the property or building is marked as moderate to high-risk flood zones.  Flood insurance is mandatory in areas under Flood Zone A on a property(s) with a mortgage or any additional interests in the property or building.

Generally, this zone falls outside of the preferred zones due to higher changes and flood risk overall. In FEMA's legacy program, this is where you'd start seeing some significant increase in the rates of your flood insurance policy. 

Another important thing you should remember about Flood Zone A is that its base flood elevation isn't determined yet many times. This makes it a challenge for flood zone changes and flood maps since there's no assurance where the base flood elevation starts. You might wake up one day with your kid's teddy bear soaked under 3-feet of floodwater... or maybe not.

 

In this case, do keep in mind that when someone tells you to give your house an elevation certificate or you need flood vents for your home, you should always think carefully multiple times if you're standing on Flood Zone A; you wouldn't want your wallet drained of money.

In regards to Risk Rating 2.0, flood zone A simply means that you will be required by your mortgage or FEMA to carry flood insurance on your property. However, being in a higher-risk zone will no longer cause an increase or any impact on your premium rates.

Flood Zone AE

Lastly, the area where lifeboats should also be considered a necessity. All jokes aside, this zone has the highest risk when it comes to flood zones outside of the coasts and is also known as a 100-year flood zone.  Since Flood Zone AE has a 0.2% to 1%  flood threat at any given month and/or year as it's getting closer to the coast.

Unlike the previous high-risk zone, most properties in the AE zone have determined base flood zones. This is also why it's a higher-risk zone compared to the A zone. Due to this, FEMA and other floodplain management agree that certain conditions can be enough to cause small floods, flash flooding, or widespread floods in that area.

Like Flood Zone A, this zone also requires and mandates that a property must have flood insurance in place especially when there's a mortgage and/or any additional interests.

You don't have to worry since you have options in getting your flood insurance to secure your property values: the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or through the private market (private flood insurance). 

Not being aware that you're moving into a special flood hazard area can cause an immeasurable headache for your bank as flood insurance will be required no matter what, and when someone tells you to give your house an elevation certificate, you should probably consider getting one with some flood vents if possible as this can help lower your rates even in Risk Rating 2.0.

Despite removing flood zones as a basis of rating in Risk Rating 2.0, flood mitigations like installing flood vents, securing elevation certificates, elevating your home, and other mitigation efforts are appreciated and will bring you enough decrease to make that FEMA rating easier to manage.

Flood Insurance Guru: Alabama

For this part, we really want to share our experiences serving homeowners and business owners alike when it comes to the residential or commercial properties they want to protect from flood damage and flood loss.

Looking at our data over at Flood Insurance Guru, about 25% of the flood policies we were able to handle in Alabama are currently zoned in Flood Zone X. However, considering that there is impactful development when it comes to the behavior of water and frequency of runoff and flash floods, even low-risk zones aren't really that safe from flooding.

On the other hand, about 21.2% of the policies we have for Alabama are in Flood Zone A. This can be very alarming, if this number rings true to all properties in the state, as homeowners and floodplain management don't really have a clear insight when it comes to the base flood elevation for at least 20% of the properties across the state.

Lastly, in our database for the customers, we have from Alabama. At least 53.7% are mapped into Flood Zone AE. When it comes to floods, this means that more than half of the properties in Alabama have identified base flood elevation and also are more flood-prone due to possible floodplain devolvement.

As you can see, most of the properties in Alabama are in a flood zone. Regardless of being in a Flood Zone X, A, or AE, properties will still get flooded. Basically, saying that a house is "not in a flood zone" is a myth. We want to raise awareness for these types of things especially since flood insurance is something that you really don't have included in any other insurance.

If you have questions on your flood zone in Alabama,  what are your flood insurance options in the state, or anything related to flood and insurance, click the links below to reach us. You can also access our Flood Learning Center by clicking its graphic below.

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Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand your flood risks, flood zone, flood insurance, and protecting your property's value long-term.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

We're ending the 2021 season with a calm and somewhat peaceful closing. Or is it?

How La Niña Impacts Inland Floods in Alabama

Today, we want to talk about a disturbing fact on our current climate and how La Niña causes more devastating natural disasters like inland flooding in Pelham and Hoover, Alabama.

Impacts of La Niña

Despite having only one named storm in the last quarter of this year, it doesn't mean everything will be calm. We're still seeing a lot of rainfall and persistent precipitations across the country. In most cases, these conditions are enough to cause enough flooding and damage to multiple areas.

Take note, this is without a tropical storm present and at the most extreme caused by monsoons. Why is this happening you might ask?

We can owe it to what's called the La Niña. La Niña is a "cold event" wherein trade winds are stronger than usual which pushes more warm water toward Asia. Being the exact opposite of El Niño which is commonly known as the "heat event" that leads to week-to-month long droughts in South America and California, La Niña is a mixed bag of weather conditions that are very unpredictable and usually exceed the expectations.

This generally causes some areas of the United States to be very dry while some get very wet. To give an example, 80% of Stanislaus County in California is experiencing very extreme to exceptional drought hence the "very dry" conditions.

Add this to the already dried-up ecosystem due to the wildfires, it's no question why the drought continues in the state. However, it's equally important to note that these types of events may just be scratching the surface when it comes to the dangers it presents to locals.

How La Niña Impacts Inland Floods in Alabama

On the other hand, if we look at areas like Washington, a lot of atmospheric river impacts are being felt due to La Niña hence causing floods in the area up to the northwestern regions even in British Columbia. We've also seen how the shift from having warm surface water to a much colder one impacts the weather in areas like Northern California. The northern part of the state recently had to face devastating damages due to atmospheric rivers causing an extreme rain event in the area.

These are just a few of the examples we're seeing in the past few weeks however this doesn't mean that everything ends there. We can still expect more effects of the "small girl" as we end the year and go through the winter season.

What It Means for Alabama

As the winter season starts, we are expecting enough precipitation across the united states due to this cold event. This may range from your occasional rain to consistent heavy rains. We've seen this trend for the past two years now and we've covered it earlier this year. To give the gist of it, generally during the wintertime, Alabama gets too much water from the moist ground and rainfall amounts not being able to go anywhere but the homes of its residents.

Just this year, we've seen how impactful heavy rainfall can become in the state of Alabama. During the spring season, Birmingham and Central Alabama were hit with 7 inches of nonstop rain which immediately caused flooding in the area. The flooding however wasn't just due to rain alone, but also the melting snow and ice from other areas oversaturating the ground.

If we go back a few years back, in 2018 major Hurricane Alberto dumped 3.5 inches of rain which immediately escalated to 8 inches in Cloverdale. Three months after this event, during the fall season of September 2018, Brighton was the one that received the same amount of rainfall, and guess what, it caused flooding.

How La Niña Impacts Inland Floods in Alabama

In December of 2019, we also saw Lauderdale get flooded after getting a significantly smaller amount of rain of 2.5 inches. This, unfortunately, took two lives in Alabama and Tennessee and flooded roads in the area. 

As we're gearing to face some thick inches of snowfall in the next two to three months in some states, we are also expecting an equally higher amount of precipitation for Alabama. It's important to remember that the main cause of the recent spring flooding in the state was the oversaturation of the soil.

How La Niña Impacts Inland Floods in Alabama

Equally, we also want to consider the developments happening in Alabama due to the increase in population for Birmingham and Huntsville for example. This type of development can create a reason for water to go where it shouldn't be. Once the weather becomes colder and climate changes, there's also this immense pressure on residents when facing the inversely proportional lowering of temperatures and rising of flood threats.

As we've seen in previous years, Alabama gets unexpectedly huge flooding during this season even with the littlest amount of rainfall, and we can expect the same this year as well. Add this to the still-recovering soil from previous rain and flooding, it's no question whether or not flooding will happen.

Flooding is certain once all that precipitation starts coming.

How to Best Prepare

We always do our best to educate our customers when it comes to the impacts of weather, climate change, hurricanes, winds, and even the smallest rain on the behavior of floods. During this season, we want to help you prepare for possible cold waters inundating your home in Alabama.

You might say that you don't need to worry about it because it hasn't happened to you before, but this was the same mindset that people in Waverly, Tennesee had earlier this year.

Really one of the best ways to prepare is to have flood insurance since this already covers the concern of protecting your house: from the construction up to the contents inside. Sometimes even more if you're looking at the private flood insurance market. This way, you already eliminate those thoughts that you need to stay with your property to watch its condition when flooding happens.

How La Niña Impacts Inland Floods in Alabama

Another step that's very crucial is making sure you are always updated on the weather condition for each and every day. Be it going to work or just staying at home, we encourage making sure that you watch over this at all times. Most times, homeowners and commuters will underestimate the power of rain and floodwater. 

In the yuletide season, we want you to only enjoy the holiday with your family and friends. This is difficult to do when you're worrying about floodwater coming in, so if you need help understanding how flood insurance work, where to buy flood insurance in Alabama, understanding your risk of flooding, or anything related to floods, click below to access our Flood Learning Center.

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You can also click my picture below to call us and remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand your flood risks, flood policy, and protecting your property long-term.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

Today, we want to answer one of the most asked questions ever since this new Risk Rating 2.0 program came into the picture when it comes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Will my rates double with the Risk Rating 2.0 update?

Will My Flood Insurance Rates Double in Risk Rating 2.0?

Risk Rating 2.0

When it comes to this new update, one of the things that people may think about and be haunted by asking if this new Risk Rating 2.0 program means that flood insurance rates across the board will double.

Before we dwell too much on that question, we want to address first what is going to happen with the Risk Rating 2.0.

Just because it says "2.0" doesn't mean that your rates will double. 2.0 simply pertains to the fact that this is a newer version of federal flood insurance. Think of it as an app in your phone updating from an old version to a new one; sometimes it even goes up to 7.0, but it doesn't really mean that the app will be seven times bigger.

Will My Flood Insurance Rates Double in Risk Rating 2.0?

This new program is deemed equity in action as it aims to provide the most accurate flood insurance rates by using each property's unique flood risks. The new Risk Rating 2.0 program will start to look at multiple flood risk variables or factors in order to finalize your rates and this way it hopes to make give everyone a transparent flood insurance pricing for each property owner when they pay.

With the flood risk variables kicking in, your property's going to get a final flood risk score that covers addresses your risks and how they contributed to calculating your rate. We'd like to put it simply as "the fingerprint of your flood risks".

These flood risk variables will cover multiple areas concerning your property and the nature of floods. One of the biggest changes is that this new program will only look at flood zones as a regulatory reference. This means that flood zones will no longer impact rates, but can still demand you to get flood insurance if you're in the special flood hazard area (SFHA).

Rate Changes with Risk Rating 2.0

The truth is when it comes to flood insurance policies and their respective flood insurance premium, Risk Rating 2.0 will can either cut your premium rates in half or create a rate increase that will double the price of flood insurance. All of this is dependent on your flood risk score.

Get Your Flood Risk Score Here!

The things that will determine your flood risk and flood insurance rates will cover both things from the legacy program and new things with the Risk Rating 2.0. We've put down a list of the things that are staying and the new kids in the block when in the federal flood insurance scene.

The remaining features are as follows:

The new things that will come with the Risk Rating 2.0 are as follows:

  • Types of floods. This can be either pluvial or the accumulated water due to rain, runoff of collected water that flows from higher areas, storm surge and coastal erosion, dam/levee damage or overflow, and even a combination of these things.
  • Flood frequency. How often do these floods happen on your property or in your area?
  • First-floor height and elevation of the structure. A new feature that determines your flood risk score is the distance between the ground (grade) from your first floor or the first habitable floor of your property.
  • Flood Risk Mitigation Measures made on the property. Is the lowest floor above the base flood elevation? Are there enough flood openings to let floodwaters through?
  • Replacement Cost. How much will it cost insurance companies to rebuild or repair your home when damaged?

Will My Flood Insurance Rates Double in Risk Rating 2.0?

Does this mean that higher-value homes will be the ones to double the cost of flood insurance since they will get annual premium increases and flood insurance policyholders with lower-value homes will be the only ones to pay half of their flood insurance?

If we really look at Risk Rating 2.0 closely, this will address each and every individual property's flood risk score. So the higher the risk of flooding within your property, the higher the increase you'll expect. Right now, we're currently seeing an estimate of 70% of the registered properties (both residential properties and commercial ones) will get an increase in flood insurance rates with the Risk Rating 2.0.

This 70% doesn't really contain solely higher-valued homes and the other 30% who might not see a price increase are lower-valued homes. This is a complete mix of the overall population across the country. It can really be hard to tell whether or not you're going to be one of the homeowners who will get their flood premiums cost cut in half since we're yet to see any impact of implementation from FEMA and the NFIP.

Will My Flood Insurance Rates Double in Risk Rating 2.0?

What is important to note here is that there will be places and properties that might even see a double-digit rate increase with their flood policies from FEMA and the NFIP.

That said, I think the best thing to really ask is how well you're protected because we're already seeing that floods can happen anywhere at any given time. Even low-risk flood areas like New York City, Atlanta, and Waverly saw huge flood damage even though they're well outside the flood-prone areas.

Make sure that you are protected at all times and that you also get to protect your property from floodwaters. If you have any questions on Risk Rating 2.0, how to determine your flood risk score or anything about floods and flood insurance, reach out to us by clicking below.

Contact Us

We also encourage that you visit our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer your questions on flood insurance.

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Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets up help you understand the level of risk that you have when it comes to flooding, your flood insurance, and protecting your property long-term.

Even with a couple of months of the newest Risk Rating 2.0 update with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) at our very lives, a lot of homeowners still find some challenges in understanding its newest rating system.

What is First-Floor Height?

One of the biggest changes that came with the rating structure of federal flood insurance is the flood risk variables and one of the most complex ones is just below your feet. Today, we want to talk about what is first-floor height? How does this impact your flood insurance premiums? How can you mitigate this flood risk variable for your NFIP policy?

House Elevations on Risk Rating 2.0

The Risk Rating 2.0 presents a bunch of new things to analyze the flood risk on a building. Since we're talking about flood then one of the biggest concerns is the base flood elevations and how it interacts with your insured building.

This new rating system in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) had to address the elevation of homes across the country. As the height of floodwater increases, it's equally important to Federal Emergency Management Agency and the NFIP that flood mitigation is being done to properties to avoid substantial and life-threatening damages. Enter the separation between distance to the ground and first-floor height. 

Let's paint a picture for example, in the video below you will see that the house behind me sits directly on the ground or what we'd call a "slab on grade" type of foundation. This is an easy example because there's basically no difference between the lowest ground level of the building at its first level of the habitable floor.

On the other hand, if you have a basement and it's habitable meaning a person can basically live, breathe, dine, and sleep in it, then you might have a different rate compared to houses like a slab on grade. This sets apart the two rating factors. When it comes to first-floor height (FFH) basement-type foundations can be a major player in increasing your flood insurance rates with FEMA and the NFIP.

The new National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) rating tool indicates that your flood insurance policy with Risk Rating 2.0 will rate you depending on the relative distance of the ground, in which base flood elevations are calculated, as well as where your first-floor height sits.

What is First-Floor Height?

Think of it this way, in the legacy program or the NFIP 1.0, crawlspaces have a huge impact on rates depending on whether or not it has flood vents whereas NFIP 2.0 basements, that aren't used for storage or access, can negatively impact you if a surveyor from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was able to detect that your basement is livable.

This way, properties like these will have their first-floor height and distance to ground in negative numbers which generally means more expensive flood insurance premiums. It's important to understand this rating factor under the FFH since this is one of the things that are the hardest to arrange or mitigate.

Risk Rating 2.0 — Shift on Premium Rates

As we said before, the NFIP and FEMA's approach on flood insurance with the new Risk Rating 2.0 program is to have a more accurate and precise representation of your flood risks in order to get your flood insurance rate.

This means that we will no longer be using flood maps and flood zones as a rating measurement, but rather a regulatory factor on flood insurance especially for properties in the special flood hazard areas (SFHA) or high-risk zones which face a significantly higher chance and more devastating impacts of flooding.

As a refresher, we wanted to include the flood risks variables that measure your flood risk score with FEMA and the NFIP. These variables that determine your rate are as follows:

  • Foundation Type (e.g. slab on grade, crawlspace, basement)
  • Distance to the ground
  • First-floor height
  • Distance to a water source (e.g. creek, river, lake)
  • Flood type (e.g. pluvial, fluvial, or coastal)
  • Flood frequency
  • Rebuilding or replacement cost
  • Flood risk mitigation measures on the property
  • Flood claim variable

What is First-Floor Height?

Despite having a new form of rating, some things never change with the federal flood insurance. One of the things that are staying the same is coverage amounts with the NFIP. This means that you're still going to have to deal with that $250,000 max on building coverage and $100,000 max for contents coverage.

Wait periods are also staying the same with the 30-day rule with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to get your flood insurance policy to take effect after purchase.

If you have any questions on how NFIP Risk Rating 2.0 measures your flood risk score and rate you, how first-floor height works, and/or anything about floods and insurance, click below to reach us or visit our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer your flood insurance questions.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand your flood risk and mitigate your property long-term.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

When flooding happens, it's sure as daylight that flood waters will also cause substantial flood damage to any community unlucky enough to meet it. In some cases, flooding can create greenspaces because the conditions for a property to stay there without experiencing a flood are almost impossible; some property owners just don't want to risk it anymore.

How To Find Flood Loss History?

In some cases, you won't see a green space because the properties, be it a residential or commercial one, stay in that location. Today, we want to talk about how flood history and its subsequent losses can be gathered for a property that you may be looking to buy.

Flood Loss History

If you're new here and to the flood insurance industry, we'd like to welcome you in our journey of raising awareness about floods, their impact, and how you can protect yourself through education. We're just going to go off a limb here and cater to everyone by first understanding what flood loss is.

Flood loss is any goods, personal property, vehicles, buildings, or structures that were damaged during a period of a certain flooding event. This doesn't need to be as big as the floods during major hurricanes since runoff can still be enough to be categorized under a flood.

How To Find Flood Loss History?

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), surface water can only be considered as a flood if it follows the "Rule of Two". This rule states that water will be considered a flood if it covers two (2) acres of normally dry land or at least two (2) properties that are inundated by water.

Flood loss history basically covers the overall data of flooding that impacted a certain community, area, or even a single property. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and FEMA had plans to release flood loss data to the public where everyone can access and review it. However, this didn't end up happening so flood loss history won't be accessible to the public even with the new Risk Rating 2.0.

Generally, flood loss is important to understand the nature of water and floods in a certain area for flood zone designation and understanding the flood risk for the properties there. However, individually this can also be very helpful in buying or selling a house.

Now, you might be asking if FEMA and NFIP aren't releasing this publicly, then how can I get it? Well, the thing is the flood loss data for a specific property is something that can be given only to the property owner. 

How To Get Flood Loss Data?

If you're a property owner who's looking to sell your house or someone who's looking to buy a new house, providing flood loss data is important especially in states like Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas where disclosure of the flood risk of the building will be shared by the seller to the buyer under the mandate of federal law itself.

Some of these states even require that you disclose whether or not the property's in a FEMA designated flood zone, especially high-risk flood areas or 100-year flood, in flood insurance rate maps (FIRM), federal aid, and flood claims made with the property as a cherry on top. This type of flood risk disclosure also applies to real estate deals or sales.

 

This way both the buyer and the seller benefit from the knowledge that the property has flooded and can act on mitigation measures to remove flood hazards and/or reduce flood damage. Put it simply, if you're buying a house, you want to know what you're getting out of that deal.

At the end of that day, buying a new home and getting flood insurance is one chore when it comes to financial security especially now that Risk Rating 2.0 mostly created an increase in premium rates across the United States.

So, how will you be able to get your flood history for your property?

Fax

First, you can fill this NFIP Loss History Report Request and fax it to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This form will have you fill up your name, full address for the building you're getting your flood history for with the zip code, your fax number, and contact number.

It's very crucial to note that, as aforementioned, only the property owner can collect or request this data, you must also include your signature with this document when you fax it to FEMA and the NFIP. 

How To Find Flood Loss History?

After sending the document through Fax, FEMA and the NFIP will then provide you a copy of your flood loss data for the property through the number you provided.

Phone or Email

You can also call the office of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to request this flood loss information. You can dial FEMA's number (877-336-2627 or 800-638-6620) to personally request this data.

There's also an option to get this information emailed to you by requesting the flood loss data through FEMA's email. Simply send them an email through your account to request this information and they will reply back to you with the said copy of your flood loss data.

To email FEMA, simply send a request to femamapspecialist@riskmapcds.com.

Once more, it's important to note that you must be the property owner in order to request the property's data to be sent. If you are a real estate agent or a buyer, you can request the property owner to get this information for you.

Why Flood Loss Data is Important

Other than some states requiring you to fully disclose the flood data and flood loss history of your property, this is also important for you as a policyholder to know the current state of the property you're looking to sell or buy when it comes to flood insurance.

Recently, we had a customer who had no issues with a flood insurance carrier when it comes to their flood loss. Basically, the policy is already settled and it showed no flood losses when, in fact, the property had eight (8) of them! The policy's now written incorrectly and when the customer sent this to FEMA for a flood claim, the flood insurance policy was nonrenewed.

How To Find Flood Loss History?

This may sound like not much of a big deal, but it's important to note that since flood insurance is a separate policy from homeowner's insurance, this puts the customer in a really bad place.

The flood policy being nonrenewed means that they will have to look for alternative flood insurance carriers to provide the coverage and protection against floods which is going back to square one.

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So if you have any questions on flood loss, flood insurance, and need the help of getting this data, click below to contact our team or visit our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer your most common flood questions.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand your flood risk from paper to water and protect the value of your property long-term.

A bomb cyclone and atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that unleashed heavy rain to parts of the Bay Area this Sunday. The cocktail of heavy rains, rising rivers, strong winds of more than 50 MPH, and desolated soil due to burn scars and last summer fires caused immediate flash flooding and destruction.

Northern California Cyclone and Atmospheric River Flooding

Today, we want to talk about what this event means for your flood insurance and how you can protect yourself from being caught in a loss from all the flood damage that this weather brings.

Bomb Cyclones & Atmospheric River

According to the news report on this weather by CBS News, the atmospheric river — a band carrying more water vapor than the surrounding air — was elevated to a Category 5, the highest designation on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Extreme Weather Lab scale. This generally means that this situation is considered the most hazardous since there's the guaranteed flood, gusty winds, and debris flow from it.

Considering how the state of California is constantly facing wildfires, this type of weather prompted an evacuation order as leftover ashes and debris can fuel mudslides or lead to more severe flooding. The Santa Cruz Mountains. At the time of writing, two centers are reported being used as evacuation areas in Sacramento.

Northern California Cyclone and Atmospheric River Flooding

Other than the atmospheric river storm, we also need to take into account the inches of rain that was dumped into the northern areas of California. In Marin County alone, the community of Karin received 7 inches of rain during this time.

Furthermore, a lot of highways were closed due to the flooding that this weather presented and chain controls are also imposed to further ensure the safety of motorists traveling. The chain control orders are generally used for when there's snow on the roads, but the impacted counties will have to see this implemented due to the heavy rain and snowfall. The California Department of Transportation also known as Caltrans reported flooding and rock slides.

Northern California Cyclone and Atmospheric River Flooding

It would be a relief to say that other than the damages that the flooding and strong winds brought, there were no casualties however this situation already took two lives as a tree fell on them in the Seattle area.

In the Sierra Nevada, potential flash floods, heavy snow, and high winds are expected to be experienced until Tuesday. This atmospheric river storm can also mean that entire Northern California will face widespread power outages.

Nebraska 2019

About two years ago, Nebraska also faced the same challenge when a bomb cyclone blasted the western areas of Nebraska. This weather made sure that Nebraska's west was whiteout with a major storm that caused flooding and rapid runoff that was enough to destroy the Spencer Dam when floodwater and ice slabs hit the dam during the bomb cyclone event.

It's important to note that Nebraska doesn't really have fires as part of the equation which testifies to how bad the situation was. The flood damage to Nebraska alone totaled $2.7 billion and over 7,000 homes were destroyed by this single event alone. NOAA estimated total damage from this historic flood event at $10.8 billion, one of the nation's costliest inland flood events on record.

So, what does this mean for flood insurance on the West Coast and how can you better protect yourself?

How to Protect Yourself

We want to get through this first as safety should be everyone's priority. You might think that you're already safe, but in order to be safe, we still encourage following these steps.

First, you want to make sure that you always have a flood insurance policy in place on your property. Most standard flood insurance policies will cover you for both the damages to your home and the things inside of it or its contents. This is a very crucial first step as this would immediately take off all your worries about your property. We'll talk more about how a flood policy can help you get protected.

We also encourage you to follow necessary evacuation orders or precautions such as sandbagging the perimeter of your house, raising certain electronic devices and valuables to higher ground, and moving you and/or your family to a higher area preferably the designated evacuation centers.

In the event that there's no power in the area, avoid wandering in the flood as there are hidden threats in those waters such as debris and even the possibility of a sudden power surge that may electrocute you. It's best to wait for the rescue team sent out by the government before moving.

How Does Flood Insurance Protect You?

Flood insurance is available to be purchased from both the federal government and private flood insurance companies. This is a separate policy and, as we mentioned before, will allow you to protect yourself from any flood loss due to flooding. This also means that the toxic runoff and flash flood due to precipitation and excessive rainfall will be covered by a single flood insurance policy.

The NFIP

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is purely managed by the federal government since this is FEMA's answer to flood insurance. An NFIP flood policy can get you flood coverage on both your dwelling and the contents within it. When we say dwelling, this simply pertains to either the residential property or commercial building that you're trying to insure with NFIP and FEMA; contents will be more about the personal property and items you have inside the insured building.

There is a coverage limit when it comes to federal flood policies. Flood damage to buildings will be covered to a maximum of $250,000 for residential policies and can only go up to $500,000 maximum if it's for a commercial property. Regardless of the type of property you have written, you can expect to get a $100,000 maximum contents coverage from an NFIP policy.

There's also what's called the Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage. This is a $30,000 additional coverage for your property in order to make sure that there are flood mitigation efforts made on the property according to the federal government's standards.

Generally, this can include sandbagging your property, installing floodproofing walls, raising your lowest floor from the base flood elevation levels, and putting flood openings. The labor that goes into making these mitigation efforts happen will also be covered under the ICC.

Northern California Cyclone and Atmospheric River Flooding

The good thing about the NFIP and FEMA is that they won't really push you immediately to the waters. Instead, they will allow you to ease into the possible flood insurance rate changes you'll be getting with your new flood zone. This is what's called newly mapped rates where FEMA will have you pay a lower flood rate or premium on your first year after the flood map update. This is also known as the Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) and will slowly start to increase until you meet the actual flood insurance premium expected to be paid for in your new flood zone.

There are also perks with your participating community in Saint Petersburg. A participating community gets access to federal flood insurance and disaster assistance, but more importantly, you also get to work with your community on raising your Community Rating System (CRS) score. The CRS measures and rewards the overall flood mitigation efforts done by the community according to FEMA's standards on floodplain management. Simply put, the higher your CRS score is, the bigger the flood insurance discount you'll get from FEMA and the NFIP.

You can start enjoying your NFIP policy after a 30-day waiting period from the flood insurance purchase.

Northern California Cyclone and Atmospheric River Flooding

The Private Flood

If the federal flood insurance option doesn't really work for you then you can manage this new floodplain mapping through the private flood insurance market. It's important to note that this market will solely be managed and provided by private insurance companies which generally means that the red tapes FEMA and NFIP has to go through won't be there.

The first thing you'll immediately see with the private flood market is that there are significantly shorter waiting periods for your flood policy. Once you have everything settled and paid for, a private flood insurance policy can take effect on 7 or up to 14 days maximum. 

Another good thing coming out of private flood insurance is that there are no coverage limits. This means that you won't really need to stress over how to get covered for a $500,000 home since it will be fully covered by your policy. This is the same with contents coverage and you'll also get additional coverages like replacement costsadditional living expenses, and loss of use.

Fair warning, it's a known issue in the private insurance market in general that they will do moratoriums when there are risks that are too high for their comforts. This simply means that they will either put a stop or take a break from providing flood insurance policies to a certain area that has higher risks. There's also a chance that you might not get to buy flood insurance from them once they decide to non-renew your policy.

At the end of the day, the choice of where you'll be getting flood insurance depends on you. What's really important is that you know your flood risks and have enough protection from all possible outcomes of a flood event such as flood loss and flood damage.

Flooding can happen anywhere even in areas where it doesn't look like it will flood. It's to always stay ahead of the curve and make sure that you're prepared for anything. If you have questions on flood insurance coverage, Risk Rating 2.0, or anything related to flood, click below to access our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer all of your questions on flood insurance and more.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand your flood risks, flood policy, and mitigating your property long-term.

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Since the beginning of time, we were always accustomed to thinking that fire and water can only destroy one another. What if I told you that in the case of California, fires actually worsen the amount of water that we get when there's flooding.

Today, we want to discuss how these fires in California have been impacting the flooding on the west coast and communities can best prepare themselves for this type of condition.

How Do the California Fires Impact Flooding?

Fire and Floodwater in California

If you told people outside of the west coast that fires and drought can lead to worse floods, some might find it hard to believe however this is the perfect cocktail that's been ravaging the western areas of the country and most specifically California.

At the time of writing, a bomb cyclone and atmospheric rivers caused a lot of flash floods, toxic runoff, rockslides, and mudslides after a significant amount of rain was dumped in the area. We've covered this topic in our previous blog. What we want to focus on is how even in recent times, this tag team of wildfire and floods are causing a lot of trouble in California.

How Do the California Fires Impact Flooding?

If we look back in 2018, Butte County and Los Angeles were hit with 1 and a half inches of rain which is fairly common anywhere else, but this was enough to cause catastrophic flooding. How did that relatively small amount of rainfall be enough to cause floods?

Well, at the time that this happened, California's soil was badly scarred by the deadliest wildfire in history. The flood was due to the fact that the soil in the area was totally incapable of holding any of that water so it just caused all of the debris to flow into nearby areas.

Fires Becoming a Flood Risk

It's highly noticeable, even without looking at the numbers, that the risk of flooding in California is significantly high. This is highly due to the constant fires that are also constantly presenting potential impacts to future floods. The risk of floods in these areas is also significantly dangerous due to destructive debris flows which contain all the toxic chemicals from burnt materials.

These debris flows are commonly due to the surface erosion that we're seeing in areas where there has been a fire. A fire can easily destroy the overall quality of the soil in these areas which is why a small amount of rain becomes the biggest flood hazard with equal destructiveness to the fires themselves. Equally, when that toxic debris flows get into the water supply, there's also a health risk being presented to the residents of the impacted communities and/or areas. 

These threats can happen even with a small amount of rain and it escalates further when we start to talk about heavy rains. The stronger the rain in these areas is, the more vicious the debris flows become, and once this flows into reservoirs and dams, it's a bigger problem for these communities.

How Do the California Fires Impact Flooding?

How Flood Insurance Helps

Flood insurance is becoming more relevant now with the current climate change and it's one of the most essential insurance policies you can have. It's important to note that flood damage to your property won't be covered by any other insurance other than flood insurance.

In the case of California and the current condition it's facing with the bomb cyclone and atmospheric rivers, we encourage that each resident will get one for their property since there's a lot of flood hazards going around presented not just by rain, but also through those wildfires.

Flood insurance covers any loss that was resulted because of a flood. Any surface water will be considered as a flood once it affects at least two acres of land or two properties. This means that what happened in California and the west coast due to the bomb cyclone already qualifies for flood insurance coverage.

Flood Insurance Options in California

How Do the California Fires Impact Flooding?

When you buy flood insurance from the government-backed market under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you will get covered for both dwelling and contents. Dwelling coverage or building coverage will max out at $250,000 and contents coverage will max out at $100,000.

This will be all of the coverage you'll be getting through FEMA and the NFIP. The only other additional coverage you can get is the Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) which can really help you protect your home from floodwaters. This is an additional $30,000 solely dedicated to flood mitigation however it must be said that this is something that your community should apply for.

You can learn more about federal flood insurance and the NFIP Risk Rating 2.0 by checking out our previous blog.

How Do the California Fires Impact Flooding?

On the other hand, you also have the private flood insurance market which offers no coverage limits on their flood policies. This means two things: one, you don't have to take up all that $250,000 even when you don't need it and, lastly, you can make sure that you get covered for more than $250,000.

Private flood insurance also helps you find more peace of mind as it can also provide replacement costs, additional living expenses, and loss of use.

Regardless of your flood insurance carrier choice, it's still best to keep a policy intact with your property. Climate change is drastically changing the landscape of how natural disasters — from droughts to sudden downpours of rain — and we must be vigilant to keep up with these changes.

If you have any questions on how fires impact flood insurance, where your flood insurance coverage starts and stops, or anything about floods, click below so you could call us or go to our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer your flood insurance questions.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand your flood risk, flood insurance, and mitigating the value of your property long-term.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base