If you live in Alabama, flooding might not be new to you however these flood events still surprise homeowners across the state. So you might be wondering, how can I fight these flood risks that I face especially in Birmingham, Alabama in Jefferson County, and Shelby County.

Birmingham, Alabama Flood: One Year Later

In this article, we take a look back at how this flood event of October 2021 impacted flood insurance in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Birmingham Flood of October 5th

On October 2nd and 7th of 2021, Central Alabama was met with off-and-on heavy rains and storms. This is when around 6-10 inches of rain was dumped on the area causing widespread flooding. The Birmingham area alone received at least 4 inches of rainfall with central Birmingham receiving more than 6 inches of rainfall. This immediately led to flash flooding in the area.

 

The flooding caused a total of 66 emergency calls between October 6th and 7th which lead to 16 water rescues from flooded properties and stranded vehicles. Sadly, this flood event also caused a total of 4 fatalities in Marshall and Shelby Counties.

In less than 3 days, Central Alabama was easily ravaged by this flood event. So how did this flooding impact flood insurance for Alabama?

Birmingham, Alabama Flood: One Year Later

The Impacts of the Flood of October 2021

For those who have active flood insurance policies, regardless of whether it's from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or private flood insurance companies, this flood event meant filing flood claims. You might be wondering, how will these insurance claims ripple into the present day.

NFIP Risk Rating 2.0

First, let's discuss what this could mean for policyholders of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). When it comes to the NFIP especially considering that this flood event already was when Risk Rating 2.0 first went live. If you filed a flood claim and got payment from the NFIP due to this flood event, this could impact your flood insurance premium rates.

This is because Risk Rating 2.0 uses a claim variable wherein your previous flood claims will be forgiven. However, once you file a flood claim, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the NFIP Risk Rating 2.0 will do a 20-year lookback. This means that you will be rated on how many claims you have made in the last 20 years and it gets included in the calculation of your flood insurance premium upon renewal.

Birmingham, Alabama Flood: One Year Later

Private Flood

On the other hand, a private flood might also present some unpleasant situations upon filing a flood insurance claim. Some flood insurance carriers might stop providing to your community or also known as moratoriums. Equally, if moratoriums won't happen in a specific community, policyholders might find it difficult to renew their flood insurance policy

This also means that if you get to renew your flood policy, you might see an increase in your flood insurance rates.

You may be asking, does paying off my mortgage lower the cost of flood insurance for me?

Birmingham, Alabama Flood: One Year Later

Mortgage & Flood Insurance

Sad to say, paying off your mortgage will not really impact the cost of flood insurance for you. This means that you won't see any decrease in flood insurance costs. Regardless if it's an annual or monthly mortgage payment, it won't really have any influence on your flood insurance rates.

This will, however, impact flood insurance requirements. Keep in mind that even if you're in a low-risk flood zone, your mortgage or lender may require you to buy a flood policy for the property. This is especially true for properties that sit in high-risk areas. High-risk flood areas include properties that are mapped into Flood Zone A, Flood Zone AE, or the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't buy flood insurance even if you're in a low-risk area or flood zone like Flood Zone X. Remember, 30% of flood insurance claims from these zones. 

If you want to know your flood insurance options, how to handle your flood insurance in Birmingham, or anything related to floods, click below to go to our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer these questions for you.

 

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Just a week ago, we've seen another case of flooding in Birmingham, Alabama. The city just couldn't get a break from floods.

Why Flood Insurance is Important for Birmingham, Alabama

In this article, we look back at the plans to lower flood risk in Jefferson County and help reduce the amount of flooding that happens in communities in Alabama. We also talk about how this can impact flood insurance in the long run.

Birmingham, AL Floods

Last week, a storm went past Birmingham, but it didn't leave without a mark. As water came down on the Saturday of July 9th, roads were easily flooded. This left a lot of drivers to find ways to navigate flooded roads.

This type of scenario isn't really new to Birmingham, Alabama. This is why National Weather Service (NWS) hydrologist Roger McNeil looked at the flood-prone creeks that easily help to flood in Birmingham and other nearby communities in Jefferson County.

These flood-prone creeks include the Village Creek in Birmingham wherein a $4.8 million project is planned to relocate sewer lines. It's important to note that the areas around the creek are in a high-risk flood zone which some would call the 100-year floodplain or flood zone A and AE.

The Five Mile Creek in the Ketona-Tarrant area however is still looking forward to getting financial help to mitigate flooding and reduce flood damage in the nearby communities around the creek.

These are just some of the areas that Roger McNeil found to have a high risk for flooding. If you want to read the full article, click here.

But how does this relate to flood insurance?

Flood Insurance in Birmingham, Alabama

One thing you'll be able to notice in these communities is that most of them are being put in a floodplain due to being close to a water source. This is one of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) flood risk factors that now directly impact your flood insurance premiums. This is through the Risk Rating 2.0 program.

More than the impact on premium rates, being close to any body of water speaks to your flood risks. We've seen this in the same article as businesses on Highway 31, that are close to Patton Creek in Vestavia Hills, are required to carry separate flood insurance. This is due to the fact that these businesses are in a floodplain or a high-risk flood zone.

These creeks in Alabama, especially in major cities like Birmingham, contribute to the increased flooding in the state.

Why Flood Insurance is Important

There is no other insurance that can cover flood damage. The fact that we're seeing increased flooding across Alabama shows that you don't need to be in a high-risk flood zone to get flooded.

Flood insurance can provide coverage for damages on both the building or the structure of the property and the contents and everything inside the insured property. Depending on where you're getting your flood insurance from, this coverage can be as high as $250,000 for building coverage with $100,000 for contents coverage.

Why Flood Insurance is Important for Birmingham, Alabama

But this is only applicable if you're buying flood insurance with the government-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). However, it's a different story when it comes to private flood insurance as they provide more flexibility when it comes to flood insurance policy coverage.

Watch the video below to see a more in-depth discussion of the difference between federal and private flood insurance.

Floods are becoming worse recently and are also becoming more frequent. Keeping a property without flood insurance is bound to really cause some big headaches. If you have questions on flood insurance in Alabama and Birmingham City, you can visit our Flood Learning Center by clicking below.

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Remember, we want to simplify flood insurance through education so that we can help you avoid problems and keep 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.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

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.

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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.

Business is booming as some would say to the real estate market in Alabama. Despite being in a pandemic, somehow real estate was able to keep up with the times. 2021 was one of these proofs as Alabama had an increase of 3.9% year-over-year (Y/Y) in real estate sales during the month of August.

Alabama Real Estate: Buying Properties in a Flood Zone

It's no secret that some of these listings sit on a high-risk flood zone, so today, we want to talk about things every realtor needs to know when it comes to buying and selling a property that's in a flood zone.

This is part one of a two-parter blog and for this article, we want to focus on the buyer's side of real estate.

Loan Types & Flood Insurance Options

When it comes to closing a house, most buyers don't really have the luxury to pay it all in cash. This is why loans exist to help ease up the expenses in maintaining a roof above your head. If you're reading this blog, you're most likely to be familiar with mortgages and how it works.

What you might not know is that mortgages and loan types can actually impact your flood insurance too.

You see, depending on the type of loan you have for your property, you'll get different options when it comes to flood insurance. We have different types of loans and we actually covered this topic on our podcast blog, but to further understand the situation especially after the Risk Rating 2.0 update with federal flood insurance let's give an example.

Alabama Real Estate: Buying Properties in a Flood Zone

If you have the Federal Housing Administration or FHA loan, you won't be able to get flood insurance through any private insurance carrier because your bank won't accept it. This only means that your only flood insurance source will be from the federal side which is through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

There was a time that if you have a loan that's under the government such as an FHA loan, Veteran Affairs (VA) loan, or United States Urban Development Administration (USDA) loan, the only option you have is through the NFIP when it comes to flood insurance.

This meant those people with conventional loans are the only ones who can get flood insurance through private companies before. This was changed way back and only homeowners with an FHA loan are required to get flood insurance through FEMA and the NFIP.

So this is important to keep in mind. Consider first what loan type you have in order to get a proper expectation on where you can get flood insurance from.

Flood Insurance Claims

Another thing you want to consider when buying a property is its history of flooding and flood claims history. This way you get to have an immediate idea of the flood risks or flood hazards that the house might face.

It's also important to note that when it comes to flood insurance, you might not get a policy from the private insurance companies once they detect that the previous owner or the property is prone to flooding.

It's important to keep in mind that flood claims aren't like medical insurance claims where it goes wherever you go. What we mean by this is that when you file a flood claim on the property, regardless of who the owner is, the claims will stay with the property basically for its entire life.

Alabama Real Estate: Buying Properties in a Flood Zone

When it comes to the federal side, however, there won't be a refusal to provide flood insurance to properties like this however with the Risk Rating 2.0, having multiple claims on a property is sure to impact the overall costs of your flood insurance premiums with that house. This is what's called the claim variable.

For this one, it's crucial to always know the flood and claims history of the property. This way you protect yourself from unwanted non-renewals as per the carrier's discretion or expensive flood insurance rates.

Flood Insurance Premiums

One of the biggest questions asked by a potential buyer of a house concerns flood insurance rates. This opens the door for asking, "will my premiums skyrocket after I buy the property?"

Alabama Real Estate: Buying Properties in a Flood Zone

The thing about flood insurance premiums is that the rate is generally guaranteed only for 12 months. This means that after that, you may see some changes like a minor increase or decrease. This is considering that you weren't flooded. On the other hand, if the property was recently subjected to flood damage and there was a claim filed for it, the flood insurance premium can increase substantially.

Verifying the Flood Zone

One of the most important things a buyer or realtor should know about a property when it comes to flood insurance is its flood zone. Despite being removed from the rating consideration in FEMA and the NFIP, the private flood insurance market still look at this factor when it comes to rates. This means that flood zones directly impact your rates and risk of flooding.

Additionally, regardless of it being removed from the rating system, flood zones still have absolute control on whether or not the property is required to have a flood insurance policy with that property. Keep in mind that if you fall in flood zone A or AE, also known as high-risk flood zones or special flood hazard areas (SFHA), you're going to be required to carry flood insurance.

There are many cases where an incorrect flood zone is put in a policy — maybe because there was a recent flood insurance rate map or flood map update that wasn't known by the seller or confusion between different flood zones.

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.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

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.

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, real estate selling and buying, and mitigating your property's value long-term.

Shelby County's own University of Montevallo (UM) is celebrating its 125th anniversary and this is really something worth noting. However, during this time a concern that doesn't look like affecting flood insurance surfaced; local restaurants and the general population of Shelby County are experiencing supply chain issues.

The Impacts of Supply Chain On Flood Claims in Shelby County, Alabama

Today, we want to talk about what this could mean for flood insurance, its coverages, and what to expect as we celebrate the 125th anniversary of UM.

Supply Chain Issues

Local restaurants in the southern parts of Birmingham are having a rough start to the year as supply chain issues resurface. This is causing a lot of problems not just for food supplies, but even necessary utensils and such. From containers to equipment, business owners are having trouble handling the potential economic impact of the issues with supplies.

This issue is just a few weeks after President Joe Biden implemented a presidential declaration to help homeowners across Jefferson County, Mobile County, and Shelby County when it comes to recovering from the October 2021 flooding.

The Impacts of Supply Chain On Flood Claims in Shelby County, Alabama

A local business owner, Naseem Ajlouny, shared with Shelby County Reporter how he's struggling with the supply chain issues. He quoted to have "spent around 30% of work now trying to source product". Moreover, there are also concerns with food supplies through crops such as the availability of corn on the cob and other protein products.

This is creating an increase in costs for menus across the county just to make ends meet. Worst case scenario, the item just has to be removed from the menu.

So what does this mean for flood insurance?

Supply Chain & Coverages

Now, when it comes to the concern of the supply chain, it's important to keep in mind that this doesn't just impact how businesses run. This also means that there may be unwanted impacts to flood insurance.

Let's all remind ourselves that Alabama, especially Shelby County, can be very prone to floods. There are a lot of flood hazards in the area which only contributes to the high-risk flood zones that the county is in when it comes to flood insurance rate maps (FIRM). So, this isn't really just a concern for business owners, but it can also impact homeowners.

You see, when it comes to flood insurance coverages, those replacement costs for recovering and rebuilding the building still need to come from sourcing out materials — the same goes for content coverages or the personal items included with the insured building.

If business owners are having trouble getting materials outside of flood insurance coverages and to keep their businesses afloat, what more when water starts overflowing from the floodplain?

This type of issue can cause a limited amount of coverage when it comes to additional living expenses from your flood insurance claim. This means that you won't really get an increase in premiums or payment, but you can expect to face higher costs when it comes to repairing the building.

The Impacts of Supply Chain On Flood Claims in Shelby County, Alabama

When flood insurance covers the repairs or recovery of an insured building, the market can still have an impact on the costs of materials like wood, bricks, metal, and things like that. Since the county is experiencing some challenges with importing these things, it's safe to expect that there will be higher costs on the materials.

This could also mean that if you have that $250,000 standard coverage for your $200,000 home, it will easily be maxed out when you file a flood claim when the reparation begins.

Even if we say that you will get 100% coverage on the repair of your insured building, there will be no room for flood mitigation measures since the building coverage or replacement cost is already maxed out.

The Impacts of Supply Chain On Flood Claims in Shelby County, Alabama

This can be very concerning especially since we're moving out of the winter season very soon and that also means that Alabama will face runoff from all directions. We've seen this happen before and it's not impossible to happen again. Despite the clearer skies in North Alabama, it's important to mention that Cullman County in the north-central areas of the state, faced 2 to 3 inches of rain in September before the October flooding.

Are you prepared to face possible flooding in the next few weeks?

If you have any questions on supply chains and flood insurance, how to review your insurance coverages, where to get flood insurance or anything at all, you can click our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer all your flood insurance questions.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

You can also click below to call us and we can discuss your flood insurance needs.

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 mitigating the value of your property 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.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

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.

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.

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