Facts can be Stranger than Fiction.

When scrolling through your Facebook feeds, you'll stumble upon an unexpected mind-blowing video. Do you know those stories that could make you do google fact check if the story is true?

Check out, for example, what happened today in Alabama's weather. We expect the winter season to close and welcome the blooming spring flowers and… BOOM! We get a deluge caused by heavy rainfall to sink everything around.

Alabama's Shocking Weather Today 

At the time of writing, many residents across multiple counties in the State of Alabama are being bombarded with heavy rainfall due to severe storms. There were numerous areas of heavy rain and storms on First Alert AccuTrack moving in all sorts of directions. We expected this prior when we focused on the potential flood events last month.

These types of storms have also been known to produce hail, which was of the size of a pea from the report. But don't underestimate them, considering it can hit like that of one of those used in paintballs which could definitely cause minor damage to your property. 

Flood Insurance for Alabama Storms: Are You Covered for This?

Alabama News even called this weekend a "severe risk Friday" due to the amount of rain expected due to the upper-level lows and cold fronts moving from Central Alabama to the Southeast.

Although these conditions are expected to end by next week, one should expect moderate to heavy rain until Thursday. The impacts of these severe thunderstorms are already felt across Jefferson County and Shelby County 

From this scenario, the whole central area of the state will obviously be exposed to heavy flooding. Just this afternoon, as the hail falls in multiple counties, a woman in Birmingham was rescued from her car, which was stuck on knee-deep high water. 

Flood Insurance for Alabama Storms: Are You Covered for This?

Don't worry, the lady is unscathed and in good condition. Sadly, we can't say the same for her car and dozens of vehicles that drove off the same road and those left in the parking area. 

This begs the question: Does flood insurance cover vehicles damaged by floodwater? 

Flood Insurance and Vehicles 

Today, Highway 31 in Alabama was inundated by flood. The local government of Jefferson and Shelby counties issued a flash flood warning until 5:30 PM. That is to save everyone from getting stranded at that same time, minimize the risk of vehicular damage. 

When it comes to flooding, vehicles are more susceptible to getting the bulk of the damage than homes. Why? For one, numerous vehicles get driven into flooded areas which causes a lot of problems safety-wise and insurance-wise.

When a car gets flooded, it is vulnerable to various problems, beginning with mold. Rust can form on body panels and other components. Water can cause engine harm. Then there's the electrical circuitry that controls everything from power windows to a car's safety and entertainment systems. They might fail intermittently or entirely.

Flood Insurance for Alabama Storms: Are You Covered for This?

Believe me, I worked as a branch manager for Enterprise Car Rental in Alabama and I saw how the southeast easily gets flooded. This is especially noticeable in Avondale and near the University of Alabama in Birmingham. This happens even with the smallest amount of rain and I've seen its severe damages to the vehicles.

— So, does having flood insurance also cover your vehicle?  

No. When it comes to vehicle coverage, no flood insurance policy will cover the damages that your truck, car, or minivan gets due to flooding. Even when you get extended coverage with your flood policy, vehicles won't be covered.

This is because flood insurance only covers your dwelling or the property building and its contents. The only time your vehicle will be covered due to flood damage is if you have that comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy.

Regardless of this exclusion in your flood insurance policy, it's always essential to ensure that there's a flood policy ready to protect you from flood loss.

Flood Insurance for Alabama Storms: Are You Covered for This?

Do Flood Zones Still Matter in Alabama?

That's another question that we need to ask about the current erratic weather conditions and the flooding we're seeing across cities in Alabama. Specifically, do flood zones still matter, especially with all these flash floodings? 

Not anymore. 

As you know, flood zones rating is no longer carried by either the federal or private flood insurance carriers. These ratings, which are a basis of risk a location could have when severe rain happens is, omitted and now do not impact the homeowner's premium rate.  

— Is it sound advice then not to get flood insurance just because of flood zone changes?

When you consider Alabama's current weather state and flooding occurrences, I believe we will both agree that regardless of a flood zone, one can never be too sure about the damages one can get because of these heavy rainfalls.

Do you know that Alabama is experiencing an enhanced risk for flooding in the last 2 - 3 years compared to the previous 10 - 15 years?

Be not like the property owners who moved into a low-risk flood zone and forgo carrying flood insurance for their properties and end up incurring large losses.

They may save money in the short run compared to those properties in the high-risk zones like Flood Zone A or AE, which are required to carry flood insurance. But that could be an expensive mistake, especially if situated in Alabama.

Nowadays, it's easy to conclude that you still have a big chance of getting flooded regardless of your flood zone. Would you risk losing thousands of dollars in flood just to save a few bucks from not getting flood insurance now?

We believe that you'd say no. So, let's talk about your flood insurance options in Alabama. Watch this video so you could too understand how to buy flood insurance in Alabama and your options.

We hope that everyone in Alabama is safe and sound despite having this type of weather condition. Flooding, hail, rainfall, and storms like this are no joke. So be safe as well. Don't drive into flooded roads. Make sure to be aware of where an area is flooded and protect yourself with flood insurance.

If you have any questions, click below to go to our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer all your flood insurance questions. Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand flood risks, your flood insurance, and protecting the value of your property long-term.

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Better watch out and bring out your umbrella with you if you're in Alabama. This may get rough soon!

Alabama is expected to receive rain starting Thursday, February 3rd, and until Friday, February 4th. This is pretty normal if you'd think about it however there are some flooding concerns that may be seen during this time.

Alabama Faces a Potential Flood Event in 2022

In today's blog, we want to talk about this weather event in Alabama and the flood concerns arising from it.

Heavy Rain Brings Higher Waters

Alabama is up in arms as weather forecasts expect heavy rainfall to drop on the state. This heavy rainfall is expected to be averaging 2 to 4 inches of rain and will persist from Thursday to Friday as reported by the National Weather Service (NWS). Flood watches are being sent out already since we are already expecting 3 to 6 inches of heavy rain getting dumped on Alabama just for the night of February 3rd. This means that flash flooding has an up to 10% chance of happening across the state.

This event is also expected to have some major storms as seen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which places the south and south-central parts of the state at a marginal risk for severe weather this Thursday.

Alabama Faces a Potential Flood Event in 2022Photo courtesy of NOAA

This puts cities Mobile, Montgomery, Greenville, and Tuscaloosa at a high chance of facing an isolated major storm in the next two days. These types of storms usually create the biggest concerns are damaging wind gusts, which could take down trees and knock out power, and tornadoes.

After Friday (February 4th), the rain will begin to move out however it doesn't really mean that everything ends there since there are chances of additional rain happening during the weekends because the cold air will be rushing behind.

Flood Concerns

One of the biggest concerns that we should be aware of is that this type of weather event will surely create big flood threats and increase the overall flood risk for the whole state in the next two days.

This ranges from what we call a pluvial flood, where collected water has nowhere else to go so it starts to pile up and inundate the area. This isn't really impossible considering that we still haven't moved out of the winter season. During this time, we expect the ground to be oversaturated which generally means that it won't be able to take in as much water as it should.

Another reason why flooding may occur from a life-threatening storm surge as water levels rise due to the precipitation. This is most likely to happen in coastal Alabama like Mobile City. Generally, this means that we might see a cocktail of floods as all three types may occur during this weather event: pluvial, fluvial, and coastal flooding.

Alabama Faces a Potential Flood Event in 2022

Fluvial flooding is only different from pluvial because the source of the floods comes from a water source like a river, lake, pond, creek, and such. Generally, this type of flood has a very strong flow to it and most of the time can easily damage properties along its path.

Other than these flood concerns, when that rain starts to happen, it's most likely that roads and bridges are going to be slippier than ever. This is why we always remind people to not drive into standing water or flood, or even during a rain event like this if it's not really necessary. We don't want to be dark and grim, but most of the casualties and injuries that happen in times like this are located and involve roads.

Why Flood Insurance is Important

When it comes to floods, most people would say that they wouldn't want to leave their properties unattended because something might happen to them. This same thinking causes a lot of trouble for these property owners when water starts to inundate the property.

Flood insurance can really help you cover for this flood damage and flood loss that may occur during a time like this. More importantly, you get peace of mind that you will still have a home to go back to even after a flood.

You have two options when it comes to flood insurance in Alabama: the federal-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and its new Risk Rating 2.0, and Private Flood Insurance. Let's talk about these two.

NFIP

The federal flood insurance is gearing towards a fingerprint of flood risk for properties that get a policy from them since rates will be based on the individual flood risk. Although this makes it more affordable for flood insurance coming from FEMA, this may still bring an increase to rates for some property owners.

This type of change makes them a big contender to take the spot when you ask people where best to get flood insurance however it's integral to point out that other than how you're going to be rated, some things never change with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance.

When it comes to coverage, we're still talking about the same $250,000 maximum on dwelling or building coverage and $100,000 maximum when it comes to contents

Other than these, these are all that the federal government can offer when it comes to flood insurance even with the Risk Rating 2.0 update. Here's a quick breakdown of the NFIP 2.0 card compared to the current version we have at the time of writing:

Alabama Faces a Potential Flood Event in 2022

Private Flood

Private flood insurance has made a big push in the last 15 years. There have been a lot of changes in the last 5 years that allow private flood insurance to be a great flood insurance option for many property owners. Let's look at exactly what private flood insurance is.

For many years the only option for many property owners was the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). There were many limitations with this program like wait periods, coverage amounts, and cost of the policy.

It's important to understand not all private flood insurance options are the same. There are admitted and non-admitted carriers in the private market. Each one of these types of policies has different requirements they follow.

The private flood insurance market still offers flood coverage that doesn't really have any maximum amount. You can definitely still get more than $250,000. Even when it comes to personal items or contents coverage, you can definitely go more than $100,000 for flood damage. That coverage also comes with the loss of useadditional living expenses, and/or replacement costs.

We've also seen a lot of homeowners coming to us for flood insurance and were able to get it in just a few days. The maximum waiting period for a flood policy from a private insurance company is only 14 days.

Alabama Faces a Potential Flood Event in 2022

What This Means for the Future

Considering that both Risk Rating 2.0 and private flood insurance companies base flood insurance rates on flood risks, this type of weather event can really add up to the things that increase your risk of flooding. This can also be a hard-hitter when it comes to flood mitigation since more risks require more efforts to lessen the flood damage on your property.

If Alabama were to get dumped by heavy rainfall more frequently, this could mean that flood insurance rates will also skyrocket in most areas especially when such rain event causes huge flooding in the area.

We're starting the Month of Arts and Hearts with such a concerning scenario, so we hope that you stay safe during this time. If you really don't need to head out, please stay at home and follow your local government's guidelines on what to do when flooding starts to happen. The thing is flooding can happen anytime.

So if you've got questions on flood insurance in Alabama, what this rain event could mean for your flood risk score, or anything related to flood insurance, click below to access our Flood Learning Center.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

If you want to speak to us about your flood concerns, click below to contact us:

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

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

Welcome to the second part of our two-parter blog on real estate and flood insurance in Alabama. We've covered the things you need to know as a realtor when it comes to buying a house or a property for a potential buyer. You can read our blog about it by clicking here.

Alabama Real Estate: Selling Properties in a Flood Zone

In today's blog, we want to talk about the other side of the coin and note some important things to keep in mind when selling a house.

Regardless of whether you're the homeowner or just a real estate agent, you should be aware of these things when it comes to flood insurance, flood zones, and what impacts they have on properties in Alabama.

List of Flood Claims

We've already mentioned in our previous blog that it's important to have a basic, if not in-depth, awareness of the history of flood insurance claims made on a property. This way, as a buyer, you get to find proper expectations when it comes to your flood insurance policy and its respective premium.

On the other hand, if you're the one selling the property, this goes the same. It's common courtesy for your potential buyers to be given an idea of where the current flood insurance stands especially when it comes to claims. This also gives a substantial idea of the flooding history as well. For some states, information like this is federally required to be disclosed to a buyer before closing a deal.

This can be done by requesting a list of the claims made through your insurance carrier. Retrieving claims history is a very easy process for both federal and private flood insurance. This list of claims can be requested or ordered from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

On the other hand, private insurance companies will have to be contacted by you or your real estate agent to get this list firsthand. It's important to note that the flood claims history on a property may not be readily available when you order it from private flood insurance, so it's important to keep tabs on your claims history.

Alabama Real Estate: Selling Properties in a Flood Zone

Policy Assumption

One of the key things to know when it comes to the seller-side is mostly on the policy itself. You see, you don't really have to cancel your policy once you have sold the house, it can remain and be passed on to the new owner. This option of transferring the currently active policy to the new owner (buyer) is called policy assumption.

A policy assumption or policy transfer can help you keep the current flood premium and lower-risk flood zone which in turn will also help you avoid those expensive premiums within that period. You also won't have to pay for the flood insurance premium that the policy also has – this can be discussed between you and the seller.

This way, you can make sure that you have proper protection for the new house you're buying without emptying your wallet or bank account. The policy contract will be transferred to you and you'll be the new policyholder in the eyes of FEMA once the reinsurance or renewal day kicks in.

Policy assumption or transfer in your flood insurance can really help you out if you're mapped into high-risk zones in FEMA's flood map or the flood insurance rate map (FIRM). Now, when it comes to properties or houses in that high-risk flood zones, you have to keep in mind that your mortgage lender will be very keen on requiring you to carry a policy for that property.

This mandatory flood insurance purchase can cause a hefty price since we're talking about a lot of flood insurance requirements to be secured before you can get a flood policy for the property.

So other than the higher risk of flooding, you also face a higher risk of emptying your wallet because your mortgage company really needs you to carry flood insurance for your property.

Impacts of Recent Flooding

One of the things you always have to consider when selling a house is recent natural disasters. The most common one is flooding and considering that we're already emphasizing the importance of flood claims which is a direct indication that the house has a chance of flooding.

Recent flooding, most especially, will be a key factor in selling your house and we believe the biggest concern is how much protection does your house has against flood damage and flood loss. It's important to always keep your flood mitigation measures in check in order to have a better chance of selling your home.

Alabama Real Estate: Selling Properties in a Flood Zone

Equally, FEMA is also very heavy on flood frequency when it comes to flood insurance rates. The new Risk Rating 2.0, launched on April 1st and October 1st of last year, changed the rating structure for the federal flood insurance.

One of the flood risk variables being considered by FEMA and the NFIP when rating your property's flood insurance policy is both how often the insured building gets flooded and what type of flooding it experiences. This can take a very hard hit for your selling strategy as most buyers would shy away from flood-prone houses.

As a realtor, it's important that you are aware of this as well, if not an expert when it comes to it. A lot of potential buyers get frustrated when they get surprised about this requirement, so as a realtor it's best you let them know ahead of time.

When it comes to selling properties, you really want to help your buyer consider what the flood risk is and the chance of flooding. Some states like Texas actually require realtors and sellers to fully disclose the flood history and claims on a property, but regardless it wouldn't really hurt being transparent about these things. After all, we're talking about the safety of someone moving into a residential property.

If you've got any questions on a flood policy, the flood zone status of the property you're looking to buy, how the floodplain impacts flood zones, or anything related to floods, click below to go to our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer these questions.

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You can also call us if you need a second opinion from a flood insurance agent when it comes to your purchase of a property by clicking below.

a person wearing a hat

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

Alabama is no stranger when it comes to flood. When it comes to the continuous development in the city due to its relative increase with the population as well as non-stop oversaturation of the ground due to consistent heavy rainfall, the city just couldn't get a break from floodwater.

4 Lessons Learned from Birmingham October 2021 Floods

Today, we want to talk about the four lessons we've learned from the Birmingham Alabama floods of October 2021 and how this can help flood recovery moving forward.

Flood Emergency

Rain is always the culprit when it comes to natural disasters like flooding. This is why understanding flood emergency is very crucial when it comes to preventing all unnecessary bad experiences when it comes to flooding.

A flood emergency is any disaster wherein water goes into areas that are usually dry and this doesn't just cover regular floods, but also flash flooding which is something that Alabama was warned about during the October flood. Ready defines floods as a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States.

4 Lessons Learned from Birmingham October 2021 Floods

However, sometimes these emergency warnings go on deaf ears as people still drive into pools of water and flooded roads. Unfortunately, this causes a lot of casualties. Reuters reported in one article that at least four people died during the October flooding disaster in Alabama; three of these deaths were found inside two washed-up cars.

Being ahead of these emergency warnings is enough to have awareness of the possible flood risk that the current weather or rainfall can cause the impacted area. On October 7th, 2021, al.com reported that there's an estimated 13-inch rainfall during that week.

We hope that everyone understands by now, not just in Alabama, but across the country how important and essential these warnings are. If you're not driving or maybe planning to stay at home, but it's expected to flood there, being aware of a flood emergency can help you evacuate.

Flooding Can Happen Anywhere

We were able to brush through this in the previous item, but it's important to always remember that flooding can happen anywhere.

We've seen a lot of homeowners get blindsided with the words "Not In a Flood Zone" which is one of the biggest misconceptions we see in flood insurance. The thing is no property is not in a flood zone especially in the United States. Even deserts get flooded after a long time of drought, so what more areas like Alabama experience a lot of rain during the year?

If you want to learn more on this "not in a flood zone" concept, we actually did a blog on it clearing the air. Click here to read this blog and know more about flood zones.

4 Lessons Learned from Birmingham October 2021 Floods

It's a new year and we hope that you too get to accept that you can get flooded at any given moment; be it through collected water from rainfall, runoff from higher areas, or simply being located near a water source.

The thing about flood zones as well is that it doesn't really indicate a wall or border because flood doesn't really start at one zone and stop at a lower-risk flood zone. 

Our team understands that flood loss is something one can ignore. In one blink of an eye, everything can be lost due to the inundation of water. This is why we want to discuss the most important lesson we want everyone to understand.

Flood Insurance

When it comes to time during a flood emergency, most homeowners and business owners don't want to leave their property's premises because they want to make sure they have fewer losses as much as possible. This can easily be avoided with flood insurance.

If you've been following us, you know by now that we really put great importance when it comes to flood insurance. Forget about sales and all that. It's always safety first and most of the time, this safety comes in form of the insurance that you won't even feel the flood losses despite its scale.

You see, flood insurance can really help you avoid doing all the stuff you want to do to lessen the damages and losses you'll incur during a flood emergency. A standard flood insurance policy has enough coverage for both building and contents that homeowners and business owners don't really need to worry about "saving as much as one can".

4 Lessons Learned from Birmingham October 2021 Floods

Federal Flood Insurance

On the federal side with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), coverages on building maxes at $250,000 for residential buildings and can go up to $500,00 in commercial buildings. Both property types also get a max of $100,000 when it comes to contents coverage or every personal item inside the insured building.

This is outside of other coverages like the disaster assistance from a presidential approved declaration, the Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) which is about $30,000 in coverages for flood mitigation, and when it the Community Rating System (CRS) Score which can create discounts of up to 45% on flood premiums with FEMA and the NFIP.

Private Flood Insurance

On the other hand, if this doesn't really cover your needs for flood insurance, Alabama also has a lot of private flood insurance carriers that we are also connected to. These private insurance companies can go beyond the building and contents coverage limits with FEMA and the NFIP. That means that a single flood insurance policy can cover you for more than $250,000 in building damages and more than $100,000 in contents.

These coverages from a flood policy can easily save you the trouble of worrying about what gets damaged and focus on keeping yourself safe from the debris and hurt from all that floodwater. But how are flood insurance and its claims different from home insurance claims?

You can read our blog comparing these two sides of flood insurance from our NFIP 2.0 vs Private Flood article.

Flood Claims vs Home Insurance Claims

When it comes to insurance claims, as a homeowner or business owner, you should be aware of when your standard homeowner's insurance applies and when flood insurance kicks in.

When it comes to flood insurance claims, you can't really get the coverage written on your policy if the surveyor detected that the damages to your home are due to water damage or a water backup. This means that flood claims won't pay out if your house was damaged from the inside and not due to getting inundated by surface water.

You can remember this through the "Number 2 Rule" wherein FEMA and most private companies will only consider water as a flood if at least 2 acres of usually dry land was covered by water or when at least 2 property gets inundated with water. Obviously, one of the properties or acres of land must be yours in order for your flood claim to payout.

4 Lessons Learned from Birmingham October 2021 Floods

You won't get your flood claim and insurance coverages in flood insurance if this rule doesn't apply to your situation. Another thing to keep in mind about flood insurance claims is that it usually covers and expects that the property owner also set up necessary flood mitigation efforts to prevent the same damage in the future. This is why the ICC exists for federal flood insurance as a means to avoid the same losses from future disasters like floods.

Equally, you can't use flood claims to cover damages due to fire, earthquakes, or any other natural disasters. It simply is strictly for flood disasters only; regardless of whether it is a minor flooding, flash flooding, or major flooding events in Alabama.

It's a bit difficult to write about this especially since there were a lot of people who got their homes damaged, lost their loved ones, and even just found themselves at a loss after all the water subsided.

The thing about lessons is we need to learn from them in order for them to be valuable and we hope that this refresher will also help you understand how we can avoid getting blindsided by an event like this again. So, if you have any questions on flood insurance, how to best protect your property from floods, or anything related, click the links below.

You can click here to access our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer most of your flood insurance questions:

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

Or click here to contact us and we can talk about your flood concerns for the Alabama flood of October 2021.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

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

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As the country steadily moved into the Fall season, the southeastern region of the United States was hit by a substantial amount of rainfall. This was enough to cause flooding in some states, but the one most impacted was Alabama.

Alabama Flooding; President Biden Approves Disaster Declaration

A lot of families were faced with flood damage and today, we want to talk about how the federal government — under President Joe Biden, Jr. — are looking to help the victims of the flooding. Let's talk about how the disaster declaration issued on December 21st is going to help the people of Alabama in recovering from the flood loss during the October flood.

Alabama October Flooding

Shelby and Jefferson County received a significant amount of rainfall in October. According to National Weather Service (NWS) Birmingham, Alabama, several waves of slow-moving, intense storms brought estimated rain rates as high as 4-5 inches (100 to 130 mm) per hour late on October 6th, 2021.

The flooding itself was so bad that fire officials said they responded to 282 calls for assistance. This is outside of the 82 rescues that had to be done in homes and about a maximum of 20 for stranded vehicles in Pelham, Alabama alone.

Alabama Flooding; President Biden Approves Disaster Declaration

This event also caused a lot of casualties. At least four people died including children. Most of these deaths were vehicle-related meaning to say that the victims got overwhelmed with water while they are in their vehicles. These people and their respective families are in our thoughts.

When there's a flood, there's also bound to have damages on multiple infrastructure and properties. 

The Presidential Declaration

As of December 21st, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. approves the disaster declaration for Alabama. This declaration is in order to provide federal assistance to the state's residents' wellness and recovery from the damages of the flood. The President’s action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Jefferson and Shelby.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), major declarations like this generally mean that provide a wide range of disaster assistance programs for individuals and public infrastructure, including funds for both emergency and permanent work.

Alabama Flooding; President Biden Approves Disaster Declaration

How It Helps

The federal assistance includes grants or financial assistance for temporary housing, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners in Alabama recover from the effects of the October flooding. Most importantly, this also includes home repairs.

Focusing on the damages of the storm on properties, we want to focus on how this assistance can help recovery efforts for both residential and commercial properties. Damage assessments will be made based on your property's cost to repair and not the cost of repair.

Cost to repair basically focuses on the actual value of your property in its before-damage condition or before it was damaged by the October flood. This also includes any necessary actions to meet the basis for hazard mitigation against floods as set by FEMA. We also call this flood mitigation which acts as the first line of protective measures to reduce the damages when floodwater starts to inundate your property.

Calculating this will be managed by the federal assistance team, but you can also do this by following the formula below:

Alabama Flooding: President Biden Approves Disaster Declaration

Cost of repair generally is concerned with any specific action done to repair a property. For example, getting your paint and tape redone will have cheaper costs and doesn't guarantee that it can bring back the property to its pre-damaged condition.

It's important to keep in mind this major difference between the two as you may also be involved in recovering, repairing, and rebuilding your home. Property damage as a whole will be considered and not just the specific costs to certain repairs being done to your home.

Recovering from flood damage can be very tedious especially now that Risk Rating 2.0 expects homeowners to have all of their properties meet flood mitigation efforts or else face expensive flood insurance rates from FEMA. This is for the best considering that flood loss isn't something to be taken lightly.

Alabama Flooding; President Biden Approves Disaster Declaration

If you have questions on the cost to repair your home, if you have flood insurance and want to know how this can be helped with the new disaster declaration, or anything related to floods, click below to reach our team.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

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

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If you are one of the eligible homeowners in Shelby and Jefferson County, Alabama, you can begin applying for assistance by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.

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

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 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.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

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

Maybe it's not nature that causes our issues with natural disasters. Sometimes we have a hand on it too.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

For the last 15-20 years Alabama has been known as tornado alley. It's known for one of the deadliest tornado days in history during the April 2011 tornado outbreak. This super outbreak lasted for 3 days, 7 hours, and 18 minutes with the highest winds that went to more than 200 mph on Hackleburg and Phil Campbell, Alabama. The damages of this outbreak surpassed the $10 billion mark and unfortunately took more than 300 lives and 3000 injuries.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

As you can imagine tornado awareness and preparation have been very crucial and is the flavor of the hurricane season so much that flood threats were sidelined, if not fully benched at the back of people's minds.

However, a question we have been getting a lot lately; what should we all be asking too, is flooding in Alabama increasing? If so, then why is it happening?

In this article, we're going to take a look at some recent flood events throughout the state and see why these events might have occurred. We are also going to look at some things that might be contributing to flooding in Alabama.

Alabama and Flood

In order to understand to answer these questions, we want to look at the recent data we got on flooding across the state from the last 3 years as these historic floods can really show the changes happening to flood in Alabama.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

2018

May 2018, the United States was ravaged by Tropical Storm Alberto even before the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. This disaster event caused both Alabama and Florida to be in constant flash flood warnings due to how strong Alberto was. Now, this was one of the biggest storms that the country faced, but for this article, we want to focus on its impacts on Alabama.

Alabama faced more than 3.5 inches of rainfall and in Cloverdale, this even went up to more than 8 inches. Ever since the storm started to cause heavy rainfall to the country, Alabama faced a lot of issues when it comes to floods. This caused a lot of flooding and winds that we've seen strong enough to have localized tree damages within the state. 

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

September 2018, Alabama faced another headache through Tropical Storm Gordon. Eight counties were in a state of emergency during this period. Brighton faced about 4 inches of rainfall and the state also saw a number of floodings during the storm event. Dauphin Island faced a storm surge of 3 to 5 feet causing minor flooding. Further inland, we've seen rainfalls going up to 8 inches which caused a lot of streets to seem like rivers, dirt roads being washed away, and flooding in several rivers.

October 2018, Hurricane Michael caused catastrophic $25 billion in damages across the country, but to Dothan, the strong winds and heavy rainfall were just the beginning. Farmers faced a lot of trouble on their livelihood as their expected great batch of cotton crops was turned to nothing. Orange Beach was also flooded due to the Hurricane.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

2019

In July 2019, Hurricane Barry dumped more than 8 inches of rainfall in Fairhope city. Mobile County also saw most of its roadways underwater due to coastal flooding and torrential rainfall overwhelmed the sewer systems that it spilled over 80,000 gallons of floodwater into the streets.

In December 2019, Tennessee and Alabama faced huge flash flooding after a record rainfall where the former saw 2.5 inches of rainfall. This, unfortunately, took two lives, one for each state. Lauderdale saw its roads also submerged with this flood.

2020

February 2020, strong to severe storms was expected to go through the state. This caused power loss for about 5,000 people at the time, damage to Highway 43 and County Road 54, and sadly taking one life.

This storm also saw water coming over banks that evacuation efforts needed to be done in Crescent of Lakeshore Apartments in Homewood. The same apartment saw cars with only the top of it above water. The overflow in Shades Creek also saw Lakeshore Trail look like a river during the storm.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

September 2020, Hurricane Sally dumped 30 inches of rain in Orange Beach, Alabama. This caused storm surge flooding to occur in Dauphin Island. We also saw flood damage in Spanish Fort where one gas station was completely destroyed after being inundated with water. This was also enough to have some sewer systems overflow contaminating Dog River and Rabbit Creek. Overall damages from this disaster were well over $300 million and took two lives in its wake with one missing.

For years Mobile and Baldwin counties have been known as the main flood areas. These are Alabama coastal areas that can receive flooding from tropical systems.

Simply put, these counties are ones that experience much stronger storms due to coastal storms they experience and deeper floods since one of the known coastal flood risks are facing that water level rise significantly due to heavy rains.

Are Floods Increasing?

Now, we've seen how progressively worse flooding has been changing throughout recent years. This is also the same when it comes to the cost of flooding when it comes to damages to properties. This immediately answers the question, but the more important is the follow-up: Why?

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

It's important to acknowledge that storms, weather patterns, extreme heat, and extreme rain events are results of climate change and we've already covered this in our previous blog. Today, we want to focus on a more unnoticed contributor to flooding across Alabama: development efforts.

The United States has been consistently becoming more urbanized, this means that most of the areas where there is natural vegetation, trees, and flora are being removed, graded, and then these efforts will simply build a drainage system that generally streams into natural bodies of water like lakes or in this case with Alabama, creeks, rivers, and coasts.

Generally, an untouched area where the flora or plants aren't interfered with can collect 90% of the rainfall as a resulting impact of storm systems. However, due to these types of developments, it can go down to only absorbing 10% of it.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

In 2003, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) researched on this and found that heavily urbanized areas, including ones that are still being developed, saw a 100% increase in large floods and a 200% increase in smaller floods. The depth of flooding is also impacted as we are experiencing more overflows due to channels like drainage or sewer systems being overwhelmed by floodwater. This type of issue puts low-risk properties at risk of facing floods that they've never experienced before.

The research also found that floods in areas where developments cause sediments to somewhat clog water channels and as we've discussed before with Flood Zone AO and causes of flooding in low-risk flood zones, the water is being redirected to another area and mostly ones that are heavily populated.

The chance of flood is also directly impacted by these developments if we're not putting the right channels for water to naturally flow. Once this type of water, which should be scattering and being sipped by the soil, starts to rapidly flow into communities. What was before shallow flood events can easily become biblical flood events for those who are impacted.

This research shows future projections of what we can expect in the near future if we're not careful. This is why it's always important to understand flood maps and check with flood risk modelers to understand how a development project can cause problems for the natural flow of floodwaters.

If you have questions on flooding in Alabama, how to utilize your flood insurance policy to protect yourself, what are your flood insurance options, or anything about flood, reach out to us. Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation and we want to help you understand flood risks through education and awareness in flood insurance and preparedness.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Chris Greene | YouTubeGet Your Quote from Flood Insurance GuruThe Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

We've already completed the first part of this big series on the upcoming changes to federal flood insurance. We have covered each state however that only gives a small idea of the changes coming. In this new series for Risk Rating 2.0, we want to cover the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) changes to communities in each state.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Huntsville, Alabama New Federal Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0

Today, we will talk about Alabama and Huntsville City to dive deeper into understanding the upcoming changes to your flood insurance policy from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The NFIP

First, let's have a quick look back on the federal flood insurance scene which is specifically what's called the National Flood Insurance Program. Let's go through what the NFIP is and why the Risk Rating 2.0 is happening.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance cover both damages to the building and contents. When we say building, this generally pertains to a residential property or a commercial structure that gets flood coverage that maxes out to $250,000 (up to $500,000 for commercial flood policies only). At the same time, you'll also find contents coverage of $100,000 or the personal property you have listed with the insured building. They have been providing billions of dollars in flood claims across the state.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Huntsville, Alabama New Federal Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0

FEMA and the NFIP also help in other ways as well since policyholders are eligible for their Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) and what's called the Community Rating System (CRS).

The ICC is an additional $30,000 flood coverage to give way for flood mitigation efforts for the insured property to avoid massive losses from a future flood event. The CRS on the other hand is a community-based rating system that measures the overall flood mitigation efforts made by the community in general; basically, this means that the higher your CRS score is, the bigger the discount

Now, it's important to remember that the NFIP was established by the federal government under FEMA in 1968. Some parts changed when it comes to how the program works however the last major changes and updates that the NFIP got were from 30 years ago. This is where the Risk Rating 2.0 comes in.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Huntsville, Alabama New Federal Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0

What is the Risk Rating 2.0

This is what FEMA calls equity in action when it comes to making the cost of flood insurance policies fairer per policyholder. This simply means that when it comes to flood insurance rates, a lot of things will start to change with the NFIP and FEMA. Generally, this is because property values for each individual property will be accounted for when finalizing your quote and flood insurance premiums with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

It's important to note, however, that this won't mean that the cheapest flood insurance will go automatically to lower-valued homes. It's equally important that we take into account, just like FEMA does and the private flood insurance industry, what's called flood risk variables which includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Designation in the flood zone maps.
  • History of flood incidents, flood damage, and flood loss
  • Flood claims made with the property
  • Flood hazard, flood plain devolvement, and impact of flooding
  • Risk of flood in the area, the chance of flooding, and flood frequency
  • Mitigation efforts made on the property. Is the lowest floor above the base flood elevation? Are there enough flood openings to let flood waters through?

Now that we've covered the NFIP and the Risk Rating 2.0, let's talk about its impact on Madison County and its seat, Huntsville City. We'll cover the good, the bad, and the ugly changes coming to the residents of the city.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Huntsville, Alabama New Federal Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0

The Good

We want to cover the good things coming to Huntsville City first. We'll divide these good changes into two to specify the changes coming to flood insurance rates. This good change will bring an immediate decrease in the premium rates of those impacted. About 14.3% or 632 of the policies in the city will get impacted by this change.

The first half will impact about 9.1% or 403 policies will be getting a decrease that ranges from $0, which means there'll be no change at all, to $50 per month ($0 - $600 per year). The other half of this good change impacts 5.2% or 229 policies which will get a better deal since the decrease ranges from $50 to more than $100 per month ($600-$1200 per year). 

This decrease can help a lot of people who might not want to risk the private sector holding back on their services. Generally, since the private flood insurance companies aren't bound by the government's red tapes, they can easily move out of an area once the risk of flooding becomes too uncomfortable for them. 

The Bad

Now, let's move into the bad news and bad changes that the Risk Rating 2.0 will bring to residents of Huntsville in Alabama. A whopping 75.2% or 3,320 policies in force from FEMA will get an increase ranging from $0 to $10 per month ($0 - $120 per year). This is drastically smaller compared to other major cities we'll cover across this series.

You may want to prepare for these premium rate increases with this new Risk Rating considering how this portion of bad changes generally covers the bigger chunk of these changes.

This is why it's so important to understand these changes because you want to get the most out of your investment in flood policies when in proportion to the flood insurance coverage you'll get. Nobody would want to pay a higher amount, only to get covered for only $250,000 in a $500,000 home.

The Ugly

There are also ugly changes coming however this will only impact one policy in the city. It's important to note that these changes will be escalating as we move further in the range, meaning there's the ugly, the uglier, and the ugliest change impacting about 461 or about 10.4% of the policies that FEMA has in Huntsville.

First, we have to cover the ugly change. This will impact 6.8% or 298 policies that will get an increase of about $10 to $20 per month ($120 to $240 per year) on that flood insurance policy's price when it comes to premium rates from FEMA.

Now, there's still that uglier change which will be bringing an increase that ranges from $20 to $50 per month ($240 to $600 per year). This will impact 149 policies in the city (3.4%) once the Risk Rating 2.0 update kicks in these policyholders' flood insurance.

Lastly, there's the ugliest change which is mainly due to the drastic increase it will bring to policyholders covered under this umbrella. We're talking about an increase that ranges from $50 to more than $100 per month ($600 to $1200 per year on premium rates) and will affect about 0.3% or 14 policies in the city.

This type of change can really hurt anyone's financial stability especially when we're talking about those who already find it hard to keep up with their flood insurance premiums. This is why we also recommend either prepare for these changes way ahead of time or prepare for moving into a different flood insurance company from the private flood insurance market.

When Will It Happen?

Now, the date when you can adopt this program really depends if you're doing a renewal or if it's a new business policy. You see, you can expect these changes to start on October 1st and you're going to adapt to these rate changes if you're buying flood insurance from FEMA on or after that date. 

On the other hand, if you're doing a renewal with FEMA after that date then you don't have to take in these new rate changes until April 1st, 2022, or the date of your upcoming policy renewal.

If you have questions on these upcoming changes, what are your flood insurance options in Alabama, or anything about flood, reach out to us through the links below. You can also watch this on our YouTube channel.

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation and we want to help you understand flood risks through education and awareness in flood insurance and preparedness.

Get Your Flood Risk Score Here!

We've already completed the first part of this big series on the upcoming changes to federal flood insurance. We have covered each state however that only gives a small idea of the changes coming. In this new series for Risk Rating 2.0, we want to cover the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) changes to communities in each state.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Anniston, Alabama: New Federal Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0

Today, we will talk about Alabama and the city of Anniston to dive deeper into understanding the upcoming changes to your flood insurance policy from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The NFIP

First, let's have a quick look back on the federal flood insurance scene which is specifically what's called the National Flood Insurance Program. Let's go through what the NFIP is and why the Risk Rating 2.0 is happening.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance cover both damages to the building and contents. When we say building, this generally pertains to a residential property or a commercial structure that gets flood coverage that maxes out to $250,000 (up to $500,000 for commercial flood policies only). At the same time, you'll also find contents coverage of $100,000 or the personal property you have listed with the insured building.

FEMA and the NFIP also help in other ways as well since policyholders are eligible for their Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) and what's called the Community Rating System (CRS).

The ICC is an additional $30,000 flood coverage to give way for flood mitigation efforts for the insured property to avoid massive losses from a future flood event. The CRS on the other hand is a community-based rating system that measures the overall flood mitigation efforts made by the community in general; basically, this means that the higher your CRS score is, the bigger the discount

Now, it's important to remember that the NFIP was established by the federal government under FEMA in 1968. Some parts changed when it comes to how the program works however the last major changes and updates that the NFIP got were from 30 years ago. This is where the Risk Rating 2.0 comes in.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Anniston, Alabama: New Federal Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0

What is the Risk Rating 2.0

This is what FEMA calls equity in action when it comes to making the cost of flood insurance policies fairer per policyholder. This simply means that when it comes to flood insurance rates, a lot of things will start to change with the NFIP and FEMA. Generally, this is because property values for each individual property will be accounted for when finalizing your quote and flood insurance premiums with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

It's important to note, however, that this won't mean that the cheapest flood insurance will go automatically to lower-valued homes. It's equally important that we take into account, just like FEMA does and the private flood insurance industry, what's called flood risk variables which includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Designation in the flood zone maps.
  • History of flood incidents, flood damage, and flood loss
  • Flood claims made with the property
  • Flood hazard, flood plain devolvement, and impact of flooding
  • Risk of flood in the area, the chance of flooding, and flood frequency
  • Mitigation efforts made on the property. Is the lowest floor above the base flood elevation? Are there enough flood openings to let flood waters through?

Now that we've covered the NFIP and the Risk Rating 2.0, let's talk about its impact on Calhoun County and its seat, Anniston in Alabama. We'll cover the good, the bad, and the ugly changes coming to the residents of the city.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Anniston, Alabama: New Federal Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0

The Good

We want to cover the good things coming to Anniston first. We'll divide these good changes into two to specify the changes coming to flood insurance rates. This good change will bring an immediate decrease in the premium rates of those impacted. About 23% or 113 of the policies in the city will get impacted by this change.

The first half will impact about 13.6% or 67 policies will be getting a decrease that ranges from $0, which means there'll be no change at all, to $50 per month ($0 - $600 per year). The other half of this good change impacts 9.4% or 46 policies which will get a better deal since the decrease ranges from $50 to more than $100 per month ($600-$1200 per year). 

This decrease can help a lot of people who might not want to risk the private sector holding back on their services. Generally, since the private flood insurance companies aren't bound by the government's red tapes, they can easily move out of an area once the risk of flooding becomes too uncomfortable for them. 

The Bad

Now, let's move into the bad news and bad changes that the Risk Rating 2.0 will bring to residents of Anniston in Alabama. A whopping 60.3% or 296 policies in force from FEMA will get an increase ranging from $0 to $10 per month ($0 - $120 per year). This is drastically smaller compared to other major cities we'll cover across this series.

You may want to prepare for these premium rate increases with this new Risk Rating considering how this portion of bad changes generally covers the bigger chunk of these changes.

This is why it's so important to understand these changes because you want to get the most out of your investment in flood policies when in proportion to the flood insurance coverage you'll get. Nobody would want to pay a higher amount, only to get covered for only $250,000 in a $500,000 home.

The Ugly

There are also ugly changes coming however this will only impact one policy in the city. It's important to note that these changes will be escalating as we move further in the range, meaning there's the ugly, the uglier, and the ugliest change impacting about 82 or about 16.7% of the policies that FEMA has in Anniston.

First, we have to cover the ugly change. This will impact 10.2% or 50 policies that will get an increase of about $10 to $20 per month ($120 to $240 per year) on that flood insurance policy's price when it comes to premium rates from FEMA.

Now, there's still that uglier change which will be bringing an increase that ranges from $20 to $50 per month ($240 to $600 per year). This will impact 18 policies in the city (3.7%) once the Risk Rating 2.0 update kicks in these policyholders' flood insurance.

Lastly, there's the ugliest change which is mainly due to the drastic increase it will bring to policyholders covered under this umbrella. We're talking about an increase that ranges from $50 to more than $100 per month ($600 to $1200 per year on premium rates) and will affect about 2.9% or 14 policies in the city.

This type of change can really hurt anyone's financial stability especially when we're talking about those who already find it hard to keep up with their flood insurance premiums. This is why we also recommend either prepare for these changes way ahead of time or prepare for moving into a different flood insurance company from the private flood insurance market.

When Will It Happen?

Now, the date when you can adopt this program really depends if you're doing a renewal or if it's a new business policy. You see, you can expect these changes to start on October 1st and you're going to adapt to these rate changes if you're buying flood insurance from FEMA on or after that date. 

On the other hand, if you're doing a renewal with FEMA after that date then you don't have to take in these new rate changes until April 1st, 2022, or the date of your upcoming policy renewal.

If you have questions on these upcoming changes, what are your flood insurance options in Alabama, or anything about flood, reach out to us through the links below. You can also watch this on our YouTube channel.

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation and we want to help you understand flood risks through education and awareness in flood insurance and preparedness.

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