So you have found out you are in a special flood hazard area. So now its time to find a flood insurance policy. 

So how do you pick the right flood insurance agent?

 

 

I mean all flood insurance is the same, right??

Today we are going to look at two approaches flood insurance agencies take when setting up flood policies. At the end we hope to help you pick the choice that is right for you.

First if a flood insurance company tells you all flood insurance is the same this is a great sign that they are not the right flood insurance agent for you.

All flood insurance is not the same. Even flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program might now be the same.

There are many things that could give someone a different rate. There are three things below that we will take a quick look at.

  1. Elevation certificates
  2. Policy assumption
  3. Grandfathering

 

Elevation certificates could show a big difference in rate. If this elevation certificate shows you are above the base flood elevation it could give you a great rate while without it the rate maybe much higher.

Policy assumption is another way that National Flood Insurance Program rates could be different. This is when one policy is signed over from one property owner to the next.

We have see more than $3000 rate here. You see when you set up a new policy with National Flood Insurance Program its based on current rates and guidelines.

However when a policy is assumed it is going off the guidelines of when the policy was set up. If this policy has been in place even more than a year it could be much cheaper rates. This is why we recommend looking at a policy assumption when possible.

So what about grandfathering?

 

Trust me grandfathering can make a big difference in rates when available. I know I had to grandfather my own property in Monroe Georgia almost 10 years ago. 

I was told flood insurance would be more than $3000 a year. However because of my educational background in flood mitigation and understanding grandfathering my rate $350 a year.

So as you can see there can be a lot of differences in rate with the National Flood Insurance Program.

However you also don't want to forget about private flood insurance. If someone tells you it doesn't exist or they don't offer it then they might not be the right flood insurance agent for you. Private flood insurance can offer some unique coverages and pricing.

Now lets look at transactional and consultative

Transactional Flood Insurance Agencies

Transactional flood insurance agents or agencies many times are trying to make the process as quick and painless for you. There can be some benefits to using them like the cheapest rate some times and getting things done quickly.

These type of agencies are usually based on volume so they are doing a lot of these policies everyday.

However many times where this can be a danger is picking the right coverages and long term impacts.

On these transactional agencies many times they will have you pick the coverages or will put what the mortgage company requires. This can be dangerous if you are like most consumers you probably aren't sure what coverages are needed for flood insurance.

To give you an example of these I spoke to a client yesterday that wanted 8,000 in contents coverage for his lake cabin. We started talking about furniture and personal belongings in the cabin. It had at least 50,000 worth of stuff. So we recommended about 100,000 in contents coverage for them.

You generally may not get this with a transactional flood insurance agency. Now let's look at the long term impacts. Many times these transactional flood insurance agencies do not look at long term impacts on the customer.

We are talking about long term rates and the impact of flood insurance claims. Wouldn't it be nice to know how stable flood insurance rates are in an area over a 5 year period. Wouldn't also be nice to know how flood insurance claims might impact you before filing them.

These are some of things you don't get with a transactional flood insurance agency. Now let's look at consultative flood insurance agencies.

 

Consultative Flood Insurance Agencies

Have you ever had a problem you needed help walking through and wanted to know what solutions are available. You might even need help getting to these solutions. This is exactly what consultative flood insurance agencies do.

They walk property owners through the following things

  1. Flood insurance coverages
  2. Flood insurance options
  3. Flood zones
  4. Flood mitigation
  5. Long term rates
  6. Impacts of flood claims

So let's look at flood insurance coverages first. These type of agencies or agents walk customers through understanding building coverage, contents, coverage, loss of use when available, and deductibles.

Consultative flood insurance agencies generally do a good job of using examples of when each coverage would be needed.

For example the difference in coverage for appliances and furniture. One might be part of the building and the other one may not.

Then there is flood insurance options. This is where a consultative flood insurance agency could save you a lot of money and headaches long term.

A good consultative flood insurance agency shows the customer the difference in the national flood insurance program and private flood insurance companies.

 

They show them the benefits and negatives. For example what if you saved a $100 by switching to a private flood insurance policy this year. However it cost you a $1000 more next year. Wouldn't be nice if someone could show you that.

Now when it comes to flood insurance rates a consultative flood insurance agency may not have the cheapest rate but it can be the best policy. No one cares how much money they saved when a flood insurance claim occurs and they have nothing.

This could help you as a property owner make a better decision on flood insurance.

So what about the long term impact of flood insurance claims.

Flood insurance claims work differently than property claims. When a traditional home insurance claim occurs it might stay on the insured and property record for 3-5 years. If the insured goes to buy another home this claim might hurt them. This is not the case with flood insurance claims as they follow the property.

However flood insurance claims can stay on the property forever. For example many private flood insurance companies will not insure a property that has ever had a claim. Others may not want any claims in the last five years.

So what if you filed a $1500 claim on a policy with a $1000 deductible? Well if it s a private flood insurance policy then the policy could be non renewed.

In fact we recently saw this happen with a property owner 2 weeks before renewal. They ended up having to go back to the National Flood Insurance Program with a rate that was $5000 higher.

These are the type of things that consultative flood insurance agencies can help you avoid.

So you might ask what is The Flood Insurance Guru?

We pride our selves on being a consultative flood insurance agency.

So if you have further flood insurance questions or how to pick the right agent click here.

You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel.

You can also tune into our podcast by clicking here.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. This means we are here to help you understand your flood insurance, flood risk, and mitigating your property long term.


 

 

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

There are few things that get my blood boiling more than when I hear someone say I am not in a flood zone or they tell someone is not in a flood zone.

 

 

Everybody is in a flood zone. It might be a low, moderate, or high risk flood zone.

Low Risk zones

 

Moderate flood zones

 

High Risk flood zones

 

It might be a special flood hazard area where flood insurance is required.

One thing that gets me more than this is only pay for the flood insurance you need.

I see companies advertising everyday only pay for what you need.

In fact I use to work for one of them and they promised to never go down that path.

What a terrible message

You see most people don't know what they need until a claim or loss happens.

Recently one of our flood insurance customers In Decatur Georgia had a home insurance claim.

They bought their home insurance online and went with coverages offered online.

The fire was a total loss for the property. Thankfully the mortgage was paid off. However they were out over $75,000 in improvements. The home was underinsured by about 30% causing a major hardship to the customer and forcing them to walk away from the property.

We see this happen everyday on flood insurance as well. Recently in Texas we had someone come to us on flood insurance. They had some previous claims and were wanting help fighting the flood insurance claim amount.

They had a $150,000 policy but was only getting $20,000 on the claim. Her mortgage was for $150,000 so thats what she insured for. She was told she didn't need any more than the loan amount.

The problem is she didn't insure for 80% of the replacement cost or the max amount of coverage available through the National Flood Insurance Program. As a result her policy was an actual cash value policy resulting in a lower claim amount.

 

Now lets look at a customer that we had on Weiss Lake in Centre Alabama during the 2019 flood. This customer had a total loss on their lake home.

Customer was nervous because his wife's wedding dress had been destroyed. Thankfully the contents coverage on his private flood insurance policy covered the dress and the other things in the home.

When he came to us he did not want contents coverage but we advised him why he needed it. He sure was glad he took our recommendation after this claim.

This is why its so important to have someone advise you on what insurance coverages you may need. You may not know what you need until after the flood insurance claim.

If you have questions about picking the right flood insurance coverage then click here.

You can also learn more by visiting our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos. You can also check out our podcast here.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation so we are here to help you understand your flood insurance, flood risk, and mitigating your property long term.

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

2019 and 2020 has brought some serious flood threats to Alabama during the winter months. 

So today we will look at the following

  1. Why the flooding occurred
  2. Impacts on insurance
  3. What to expect in 2021

 

Why Flooding Happened

Alabama received a large amount of rainfall in 2019 and 2020. As a result then water tables were full for a long time. According to WAAY 31  rain continued to fall there just wasn't anywhere for the water to go.

 

Even the power companies through out Alabama had a hard time managing the amount of water coming through the state. Water levels on the Tennessee River, Lake Logan Martin, Smith lake, and Weiss lake set records.

Some people on Weiss lake had total losses to their properties as a result of flooding.

In Muscle Shoals Alabama Nathan estate residents lost everything to flooding. This area was not even in a special flood hazard area so many people did not have flood insurance.

As a result they had to depend on disaster assistance to help them which is a very little amount of money.

Since this flooding in 2019 and 2020 hit it has caused a ripple effect when it comes to private flood insurance options.

Some carriers are not currently writing flood insurance in certain parts of North Alabama and East Alabama.

As a result many property owners have had to find either get a higher private flood insurance option or go back to the National Flood Insurance Program.

What to Expect in 2021

So can we expect the same thing to happen in 2021?

It's important to make sure to have flood insurance in place if this flooding was to occur again.

However 2021 is bringing some different challenges with it. Unlike 2019 and 2020 the water tables are not nearly as high as they were. This will allow for more water absorption, less runoff, and better water management by local watersheds.

This doesn't mean that winter flooding won't occur in Alabama in 2021.

So what can you do to be prepared if this flooding does occur?

As we mentioned making sure your have your Alabama flood insurance in place is the first step.

Waiting until the end of January to try to do this is a bad idea.

Almost all flood insurance companies have wait periods. This is the time frame between when a policy is issued and when a claim would be covered.

 

The National Flood Insurance Program generally has a 30 day wait period. Private flood insurance companies can range from 1 day to 15 days.

Flood Insurance Options

So what flood insurance options are available in Alabama?

As we have mentioned before you have the National Flood Insurance Program and you have private flood insurance companies.

One is backed by the government and one is backed by private flood insurance companies.

It's important to understand that National Flood Insurance Program should be the same price no matter where you get it from, but private flood insurance will widely range on price.

Each private flood insurance carrier has their own rating model so coverages and pricing are unique. If you want to learn more about your options then click here.

You can also check out our YouTube channel where we put our daily flood education videos.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. So we are here to help you understand your flood insurance, flood risk, and mitigating your property long term.

 

Contact Us

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

Today we want to answer a question we hear very often. Is flood insurance a waste of money on my Homewood Alabama property?

The video below look a little bit at flood insurance, basement homes, and if it's a waste of money.

 

Today we want to take a deeper look at Homewood Alabama properties.

 

Homewood Alabama has a lot of historic homes. Many of these homes have subgrade foundations.

 

These maybe subgrade crawlspace or basement homes.

So is purchasing flood insurance on these Homewood Alabama properties a waste of money?

You may or may not know this but flood insurance coverages are limited on basements.

The video below shows some things that are covered in basements.

 

Many people decide not to purchase flood insurance for theses properties as they do not believe water will ever reach the living area.

What many people do not think about is water pressure.

When your basement fills up with water or has water pressed against the the outside structure it can add major stress to the structure.

Eventually this pressure could cause the foundation walls to collapse causing a total loss. 

Flood damage to a basement could also cause major damage to safety systems.

These are things like a furnace, air conditioner, circuit breaker, or stair case. These are things that make the structure safe.

So is flood insurance on your Homewood Alabama a waste of money?

Not when it can do a lot more than just protecting your basement.

It's also important to understand that certain private carriers to offer some additional contents coverages on basements.

Its not uncommon to pay over $2000 a year for flood insurance on your Homewood Alabama property. It's very important to work with someone that understands all the factors that go into a flood insurance rate and a flood insurance score.

So if you have questions about flood insurance in Homewood Alabama then click here.

You can also check out our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos. You can also visit the podcast by clicking here.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. This means we are here to help you understand flood education, flood insurance, and mitigating your property long term.

 

Contact Us

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

 

When you think of flooding you probably think of areas like Houston Texas or even Miami Florida. You probably don't think of Alabama as many residents of Alabama do not.

 

Tornadoes and Flood Insurance in Alabama

The majority of Alabama's flood policies are in five counties

  1. Mobile
  2. Baldwin
  3. Limestone
  4. Jefferson
  5. Montgomery

Outside of these areas flooding hasn't been an issue for about the last 15-20 years.

 

However what happens when a flood occurs?

Will these other areas be prepared?

Has enough prevention been done locally?

If you live in Alabama then you know the weather can be crazy. Trust me I know I was an Alabama resident for over 20 years. One day it can be 70 degrees and the next day it can be 30 degrees.

Something Alabama has become known for over the last 20 years is tornadoes. There have been some major tornadoes that have hit Alabama in the last twenty five years that have caused loss of life and property.

  1. 1998 Oak Grove tornado
  2. 2011 tornado super outbreak
  3. 2017 tornado outbreak

As a certified Alabama SKYWARN member I can tell you tornadoes are a major threat for Alabama but so is flooding.

So what stops flood prevention from taking the front seat in Alabama?

Like many states there is a certain amount of federal funding that is put into the bucket. So this funding usually goes to the highest risk or demand first. The last twenty years has shown us that threat seems to be tornadoes.

Flood prevention funding in alabama

The 2019 flood event in Alabama showed us this is still a major risk and flood prevention should continue to be important.

There are many things that go on behind the scenes to help lower the risk of flooding in Alabama.

One of these things is the green space that Jefferson county Alabama has created to help minimize future flooding.

Some of these activities have also helped take areas of Center point Alabama from high risk flood zones to low risk flood zones.

This has helped with property values as well as making flood insurance much more affordable in these areas. By going into a low risk flood zone it could drop flood insurance premiums on a home below $500 a year.

Flood is the leading disaster in the United States so stopping it is probably impossible. However when it does occur a lot can be done to help minimize its impacts.

It's important to understand if you live in a high risk, moderate risk, or low risk flood zone you are still at risk of flooding. Having flood insurance in place is one way to help minimize the impact that a flood event could have your property and life. Understanding exactly what that policy covers could also go a long way in the recovery phrase.

So if you have further questions about preventing a flood or what your flood insurance options are then click here.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. This means we can help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property against flooding.

 

Contact Us

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

So your Lake Eufaula property has been dealing with a drought for a few years. You think to yourself there is no way this place is going to flood anytime soon.

You decide not to let your flood insurance renew, and a few weeks later you realize it's a big mistake.

So what are some of the possible consequences in areas like Eufaula Alabama?

We want to look at three things

  1. Continued rates
  2. Waiting periods
  3. Impact on mortgage

    Check out the podcast below that takes this topic a little bit deeper for you.

     

Rates

So you realized that you made a big mistake by not renewing your flood insurance in Alabama. Will you get the same rate?

Let's look at the National Flood Insurance Program first. Let's say it been more than 30 days since you decided not to renew your flood policy. The National Flood Insurance Program will require you to start a new policy. You will lose the benefit of continuous coverage policy with them.

So what could be the impact?

Lets say you had a grandfathered policy on your Eufaula property and the rate is no longer available. This means you could be looking at a significantly higher rate with the National Flood Insurance Program. You may also be required to get an elevation certificate in order for them to give you a rate.

So what about private flood insurance?

This could work a little bit differently. Many private flood insurance companies have rates that change more often than the National Flood Insurance Program. This means that they may only honor the renewal rate up until the renewal date. The rate could be double if you have to do a new flood policy. It's important to understand the underwriting of each carrier when looking at this.

Waiting Periods

Will you be able to get coverage right away?

Maybe or maybe not.

If we are talking about the National Flood Insurance then they have the standard 30 day wait period.

Private flood insurance companies will have more options some may not have a wait period and others may have a wait period up to 15 days.

So does this mean you have to wait to do the flood application?

No it means when you complete the policy with them the effective date will show the start date so pay attention to that.

Mortgages

So what if you have a mortgage that requires flood insurance? There could be some major consequences here. If you decide to let your flood insurance cancel your mortgage company could force place coverage at 3x's the price under the mortgage portfolio protection program. This forced place policy also may not have the coverage that the other policies have in place. Generally these policies will just cover the loan amount and no contents.

So as you can see there can be a lot of consequences for not letting your flood insurance renew.Its important to keep this coverage in place as it is the number one disaster in the United States.

So if you have questions about what your flood insurance options are then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. This means we are here to help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property.

 

Start My Flood Insurance Quote

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

I come from a pretty educated family. My dad was a physicist, my mom was a school teacher, my brother is an engineer, and all my siblings have at least a masters degree.

However it wasn't suppose to be that way for me. If you have read my other blogs then you know I grew up with a learning disability and college was not even suppose to be in the picture but because of two special educators and determination I was able to graduate top of my class for my masters degree.

However sometimes it feels that this education can hurt people in life. I remember when i was in college all of my college professors had no real work experience.

 

Books on desk in library at the elementary school

What I mean by this is they went straight into teaching and many from a book they wrote. For example I had this college professor who had written every book on management but had never managed a single person in his life.

This is one reason I have always said I would one day return to be a college professor and teach based on the experience I had gained in life.

Enough about that let's look at a recent article by AL.com that ranks the education across the state. This article ranked each county based on college experience and degrees. Overall the state fell about 9 points below the U.S. average.

There were three counties that ranked above the U.S. average which where Shelby, Madison, and Lee county.

I am sure no one is surprised by Lee county War Eagle!

However today we want to take a closer look at Shelby and Madison counties. These two counties represent a portion of the two largest cities in Alabama. Shelby county which is a part of the metro Birmingham area is home to some incredible schools like the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Madison which is near the NASA Rocket Center and the University of Alabama at Huntsville.

Something else these two areas have in common is they are some of the most flood prone areas in the state. It feels like since 2019 the Huntsville Alabama area has had a flood warning every other week. Then areas of Shelby county like Pelham and Alabaster have been threatened by flooding for years.

So knowing this you would think that these areas have a higher amount of active flood insurance policies?

Right....

Not exactly according to FEMA these areas do not even make up a combined 10% of the states active flood policies. In fact Shelby county is less than 1.6%.

Pretty crazy right?

When it comes to understanding flood awareness you need a little bit of book smart and common sense. Yes its a numbers game but its important to understand that everybody is at risk of flooding.

Common sense says if you are near a source of water you could flood.

I can't tell you how many people we talk to Alabama every week that say there is no way their property will ever flood.

Then there was the property owner in Centre Alabama that said if he knew his lake house was going to flood he would not have stored his wife's wedding dress there without coverage.

It's important to know if you have a college degree, a high school diploma, or not even a GED that every property is in a flood zone it's just a matter of how much water it takes to get to you.

So maybe you have more questions about how to protect your Birmingham or Huntsville Property from flooding? How to purchase flood insurance or if you have enough coverage. Then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our daily flood education videos on YouTube.

 

Contact Us

 

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

photo-1499958060387-dbdb8d0994fb

Flood insurance premiums in Birmingham, Alabama just keep increasing a fast pace but why. Parts of Birmingham like Trussville, Pell City, Leeds, Moody, Pelham, And Alabaster Alabama have not seen more flooding than other parts of the country. If anything flood insurance premiums in Birmingham Alabama should be going down shouldn't they?

Everyone thinks because an area hasn't experienced flooding recently that flood insurance rates should be going down. However you have to remember just because it hasn't happened recently does not mean the risk is not there. Flooding risks are based on probabilities lets discuss the two flood zones that use these probabilities.

 

           Flood Zone A

Flood zone A are areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event. Because detailed hydraulic analyses have not been performed, no Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) or flood depths are shown. Because of this many times flood zone A premiums can be very high.

 

          Flood Zone AE 

Flood zone AE areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event. The big difference between these zones and A zones is the base flood elevation numbers are known.

photo-1517605062388-2479b377c4d6

Why the high rates

Many of these high rates should really not be high for a few reasons. First of all many of these properties are in high risk flood zones when they should not be. Alot of these properties could be corrected with a simple survey or elevation certificate that shows how the elevations of the home compare to the base flood elevation. Just be careful before paying for an elevation certificate because in flood zone A it could be a waste of money if there is no flood elevation.

    Subsidized rates

Some of these rates are also high because FEMA subsidized flood insurance rates many years ago. They do this to make flood insurance affordable in many areas. Some of these subsidizations go away over time drastically increasing flood insurance rates.

So what can be done

Well as these subsidizations go away there is still hope with the Community Rating System these are discounts FEMA allows when communities do certain mitigation efforts to protect the community against flood hazards.

         Private flood insurance

Private flood insurance is another option that is helping alot of property owners in Birmingham Alabama. These are flood policies that are backed by private insurance companies. As a result they can pick what risks they want to insure while FEMA generally can not. So as result many times they can provide options with better coverage and rates that might be 40% less.

Technology online banking money transfer, e-commerce concept. Happy young man using smartphone with dollar bills flying away from screen isolated on gray wall office background.

Maybe your flood insurance rates just keep drastically increasing and you want to see what options are available? Visit our website Flood Insurance Guru, our YouTube channel or Facebook page The Flood Insurance Guru where we do daily flood education videos.

Start My Flood Insurance Quote

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com