The Flood Insurance Guru Blog
Hello. Chris Greene here, the Flood Insurance Guru. Today we're talking about map changes, what are map changes, and how do they impact you?
First of all, a map change is when the federal government comes in and changes the flood maps. If you haven't seen one of our previous videos, we talk about exactly what a flood map is. We'll briefly talk about it again. All it is, is a traditional map that shows the boundaries of what the different flood zones are, where flood ways are, so you can kind of tell basically what kind of flood zone your property's in.
Every once in a while, the federal government will come in and change these maps. They'll change them for the better or worse . They'll change them for the worse. For example, in Pelham, Alabama they just significantly changed these by at least four feet. In Smyrna, Georgia, they recently made some of these changes for the negative as well.
The reason they do those changes for the negative is because they see that there's an additional exposure there. Elevations change. You can call it climate change, You can call it erosion, or whatever. There is more water coming in to more areas right now than there ever has been before. This is kind of what causes map changes.
Whenever the government makes this announcement, generally they'll publish it in a local newspaper for 90 days. On the 91st day, the new flood map will go into effect. When people get this letter though, they panic because they call someone and they get like a 3,000 or $4,000 flood insurance rate. They're like, "I just don't know what I'm going to do."
Well, here's the good news for you is when these map changes do take place, you have access to the old maps for 12 months. Let's just say that you were in a low risk flood zone and they've bumped you up to a flood zone A, which is a 500 year flood zone, a special flood zone hazard area. What this means is that you still have access to the preferred rating at least for the next 12 months so that you can slowly adjust. Then each year you're going to see that premium go up slowly.
Whenever these map changes do take place, don't panic. We recommend reaching out to the Flood Insurance Guru or any flood expert, and they will tell you exactly what to do.
When it comes to the map changes though, there can also be a good map change. On a good map change, a good example of what's going on is down in areas like Saint Simons and Savannah, Georgia. Even though they flooded the last couple years, the federal government has seen that a lot of these areas are at low risk after looking at the overall picture of everything. They're changing them from high risk to low risk.
What does this mean? Well, this means that you should be getting a letter if you have a mortgage that your mortgage company is no longer going to require you to carry flood insurance. That is money that will come off your mortgage. We still recommend carrying it, especially with it flooding the last couple years, but these flood map changes can take place for the good or the bad.
Now, here you may ask, "Hey, can I argue a flood map change?" You absolutely can. Many times, you can win by using an elevation certificate and doing what's called a letter of map amendment to FEMA to get that map zone changed. It's very common. It's something we do for clients across the country every day.
If you have questions about these map changes, maybe your map changed just recently and you've got questions about it, reach out to us, www.floodInsuranceGuru.com, our Facebook page or YouTube channel the Flood Insurance Guru. You can give us a call 205-451-4294.
Hello. Chris Greene here, The Flood Insurance Guru. Today we're talking about what is a flood map? Up in the left-hand corner here, you can see we've put a copy of a flood map for you to see what it looks like. It's a boundary showing you where the different flood zones are, or things like the water, which is a floodway, where that might fall based on where your property's at. These flood maps should show you exactly what type of flood zone you're in, what type of risk your property may be at, and if your property's sitting in a floodway.
You may ask, "What's the importance of a floodway?" Well, a lot of insurance companies won't write a flood insurance policy if your property falls within a floodway because of the risk. This is pretty much what a flood map is. Let us know if you have any questions about flood maps, maybe where your property is. You could always reach out to us, www.floodinsuranceguru.com, our Facebook page or YouTube channels, The Flood Insurance Guru. You can give us a call at (205) 451-4294.
Hello, Chris Greene here with the Flood Insurance Guru. Today we're talking about pending map changes that are coming to the Bay Minette, Alabama area in April.
As you know, flood map changes can have a big difference on property values. You go to sell your house and all of a sudden you're in a high risk flood zone, that could really limit the amount of people that you could sell your house to. Well, with these pending map changes, it could have a massive impact on the Bay Minette area and the reason is it can impact properties that are being moved from low risk zones to high risk.
Now there are also a lot of properties that are being moved from high risk to low risk, which will help property value. However, if you have your house selling or you're looking at buying and this happens, what do you do?
Well, when you have a flood map change like this you have several different options. You can always find them on our website, floodinsuranceguru.com, usually on our YouTube channel or even on our Facebook. And today we're going to cover them for you as well.
So let's just say the first example is the map changes. You can contest it with an elevation certificate. If you have the elevation certificate that shows certain levels that are above the base flood elevation, then we can actually send it to FEMA for you, dispute it and get a letter of map amendment done. Usually takes about 30 to 60 days, depending on the federal government. So that's one option. The good thing with that is it would remove it back out, really helping your property value.
The next option is you can go through the National Flood Insurance program, which is a program that we do offer here. You can get the old map rates for up to 12 months. So if you've been moved into a high risk zone and you have to go through the National Flood Insurance program, instead of maybe having a $1500 or $2000 rate, you might have a $400 rate, which is very important. Then they would adjust these rates over time.
The third option is you could go to the private market depending on your loan type, which this could be 40, 50, 60% less. You could get a lot more coverage. Thankfully here we have over 20 different carriers when it comes to the private market.
So these are your options here in the Bay Minette area when it comes to these flood map changes. So if you've got questions about what zone you're in or you want to take a look at that flood insurance, just click the link below and we'll be happy to reach out to you to review your zone, see if we could maybe get your zone changed or figure out what the other options are for you. You can also reach us at 205-451-4294. As I mentioned before, visit our website floodinsuranceguru.com or our YouTube and our Facebook, the Flood Insurance Guru.
Hello. Chris Greene here, the Flood Insurance Guru. Today, we're talking about the grandfather rule on your flood insurance policy. No, we're not talking about you spoiling your grandchildren, the number one golden rule of every grandparent. What we're talking about, particularly, is the grandfather laws when it comes to your National Flood Insurance Program policy.
Generally, there are two options you have when doing a grandfathering rule. What a grandfathering rule is, when it comes to the National Flood Insurance Program, it means that your property is in a zone that basically no longer exists. We're basically taking it back in time, hence the grandfather. So what this is, is you have a set of two options. Option one, when it comes to grandfathering, let's just say your flood zone is about to change to a high-risk flood zone from a preferred.
As long as you take out that flood insurance policy before the date of the map change, then your policy will be grandfathered in. Now it'll be grandfathered longterm, however, your rates will slowly increase over time to adjust to the new zone. But this option does give you time to adjust, generally several years.
Option number two is, let's just say your house was built in 1995. What happens is if you can prove that your home was within compliance when it was built then, then we can use these factors to grandfather your property back to the zone that it was built within in 1995. There are documentations that you do have to turn in, but these are generally the two ways that you can grandfather your property to that preferred zone.
If you have questions about flood insurance, please visit our website www.floodinsuranceguru, our Facebook page or YouTube Channel The Flood Insurance Guru, or give us a call 205-451-4294.
Hello. Chris Greene here, the Flood Insurance Guru. Today, we're here in Pelham, Alabama in Chandalar Court, and we're talking about what your flood insurance options are. Not just here, but also, in Alabaster, Helena, and South Shelby County. As you've got some possible map changes coming in the next couple months, we want to make sure that you're aware of all of your options.
Over the last couple months, we've gotten several customers, particularly here in Chandalar Court in this area, that has said, "Hey, I got a $4,000 flood insurance quote. What can I do? Is that my only option?" Well, today, we're here to tell you about what all the different options are.
Option number one. You can go to the National Flood Insurance Program. Just do a normal policy through FEMA. We recommend reaching out to an insurance agent that really focuses in flood. They understand the coverages, deductibles, what's going to apply and what's not, how to get zones changed. That's why we're here at the Flood Insurance Guru for you, and so you could do that traditional policy through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Now, let's just say this homeowner here already has a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program. That can be your option number two where you could do what's called a policy transfer. They could be where that policy was in a high-risk zone or low-risk zone. Let's just say low-risk when they did the policy. Then, what that can do is protect you with those lower rates, so that's option number two.
Option number three is you could go to the private market depending on your loan type. If you have like a conventional loan, a non-government-backed loan, check with your lender to see exactly what your loan is. You can look at the private market. They might be 50%, 60%, 70% less. I know in the last couple weeks, we helped a customer just here on Chandalar Court in Pelham save about $1,500 a year when we looked at different options for her.
Option number four is you could get an elevation certificate done. Se if this property qualifies for what's called a letter of map amendment or zone change, which removes the mandatory requirement and gives you access to preferred rates.
So, those are the four options when you're looking at buying, or selling, or you're just looking at your flood insurance options here in Pelham, Alabaster, Helena, or South Shelby County. So, if you've got questions, you can reach out to us. www.floodinsuranceguru.com, our Facebook page or YouTube channel, The Flood Insurance Guru. You can even give us a call, 205-451-4294.
Today we're talking about the wait period when it comes to flood insurance. We get a lot of questions on this. Is it 30 days? Is it 5 days? Is it 10 days? Well, when it the National Flood Insurance Program, there's actually two different options. If you're closing on a house, there is no wait period. You just have to have your payment in within 30 days of doing the policy for the policy to be active. Generally, you also have to have in a proof of residence, maybe a copy of a driver's license, where you moved into the house with a utility bill, something like that. The other option, I said, you have to wait 30 days if it's not for a loan closing. However, if it's in the private market, you may only have to wait 15 days. You may only have to wait 5 days. You may only have to wait 10 days. It really depends on the carrier. This is how the wait periods work with flood insurance.
If you have questions about how long you have to wait after purchasing a policy before it goes into effect, please reach out to us. www.floodinsuranceguru.com, our Facebook page of YouTube channel The Flood Insurance Guru, and you can also call us at 205-451-4294.
There are many different types of flood zones out there and can be confusing. We are going to discuss four types of inland flood zones. Zone X, D A, and AE.
A flood zone x is the lowest risk zone when it comes to flooding. While this zone has minimum risk about 30% of flooding does occur in this zone because of flash flooding. The video below gives a good explanation of a flood zone X.
The next flood zone we are going to discuss could be considered a land mine waiting to go off and that is a flood zone D. The reason for this this type of zone has not been mapped yet so the risk has not been determined. This could be a high risk for flooding or a low risk for flooding. The video below gives a good explanation what a flood zone D is.
The next type of flood zone is the A zone. These type of Special Flood Hazard Areas are subject to rising waters and are usually near a lake, river, stream or other body of water. Flood insurance is mandatory in all A zones because of the high potential of flooding. These type of zones may not have a base flood elevation sometimes making it difficult to get a property removed. Before ordering an elevation certificate it is recommended that you reach out to a flood insurance specialist like the flood insurance guru or a local flood plain manager to verify this. The video below also gives a good explanation of what a flood zone A is.
The next flood zone we will discuss is a flood zone AE. Outside the coast this area has the highest risk of flooding, it is also referred to as a 100 year flood zone. This zone also has has a base flood elevation which tells you how far above or below the flood line a property is. The video below gives a little more explanation of what a flood zone AE is.
If you have questions about this type of zones or are not sure what type of zone you are in we recommend reaching out to The Flood Insurance Guru to do a zone determination. You can click below to start the process.
There are major changes coming to the flood program in Toledo, Ohio October 1st. You will now have the option to cancel your NFIP flood policy and go to the private market if you qualify. This could save you up to 70% on your flood insurance and give you more coverage. Below you will see a bulletin from FEMA regarding this change.
National Flood Insurance Program October 1, 2018, Program Changes: A Summary The changes outlined in this bulletin apply to new business, renewals, endorsements, and cancellations that will become effective on or after October 1, 2018. 1. Cancellation Reason Code 26 for Duplicate Coverage under Non-NFIP Policy Beginning October 1, 2018, FEMA will establish Cancellation Reason Code 26 to allow cancellation of an NFIP policy when a policyholder has obtained a duplicate policy from sources other than the NFIP. The non-NFIP insurance coverage must be for building coverage on the same building that is insured by the flood policy being canceled. Cancellation Effective Date: The date the cancellation request is received by the insurer. Type of Refund: Pro-rata refund including ICC premium, Reserve Fund Assessment, and HFIAA Surcharge. The refund does not include the Federal Policy Fee and Probation Surcharge (if applicable). Cancellation Request: Must be received within the current NFIP policy year. Required Documentation: A copy of the non-NFIP policy’s declaration page and a statement from the mortgagee, if any, accepting the non-NFIP policy as the replacement. Years Eligible for Refund: Current year.
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You just found out your dream home is in a high risk flood zone and your are crushed, what do you do? You start calling around getting pricing but you are being told all these different documents are needed. So what exactly are these documents, well one is a zone determination and another is an elevation certificate.
A zone determination letter is a document that is normally provided by the National Flood Insurance program. This document tells exactly what flood zone the property is in, whether its a special hazard loan, and if the community participates in the national flood insurance program.
An elevation certificate is a document provided by a surveyor that shows the different elevations of the home, appliances, and area around the home. The elevations on this certificate will tell you whether this property can be removed from a special hazards home.
Understanding the difference between these is important when looking at a flood zone property because it can have a big impact on your ability to resell the home. There is also a big difference in pricing zone determinations should be free to you, if you are being charged just click her to get your free zone determinationwww.floodinsuranceguru.com. When it comes to elevation certificates these can cost between $400-$1000 because it requires a someone to come survey the property. Many times if someone already has flood insurance on the property you might be able to obtain the elevation certificate from which ever insurance company that holds the flood insurance policy.
If you have questions about how to get an elevation certificate or a zone determination we recommend reaching out to a flood insurance expert like Chris Greene at the Flood Insurance Guru.