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