Hurricane Ida is getting closer to about to leave, but it won't leave quietly.

New York Flooding: Not a Flood Zone Problem, A Flood Risk Problem

At the time of writing, the remnants of Ida caused New York City to receive their first flood warning. At least 8 people are already confirmed dead due to this terrible weather we're getting from the hurricane and this flood warning is a testament that the impacts of any hurricane can come from many ends, not just rain.

Today, we want to talk about what this could mean for flood insurance, how to best prepare and protect yourself from any flooding damage caused by Hurricane Ida.

The Empire State

The concrete jungle of New York City is currently holding on tight as its streets are starting to get inundated by floodwater. A flood warning was issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) earlier today to give a heads up as there is an expected rainfall amount of at least 3-6 inches of rain.

NBC New York (NBC News) reports that 6 people are already confirmed dead in New York just yesterday and this number is still going up. It's no surprise that the NWS has declared multiple flash flood warnings across New York and New Jersey.

New York Flooding: Not a Flood Zone Problem, A Flood Risk Problem

Among the other deaths reported in New York City, a 48-year-old woman and a 66-year-old man died after being found at separate residences, and a 43-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man both died after being found inside a home. This also includes a 19-year-old man who was found dead in Montgomery County. Causes of death and identifications are yet to be announced. 

Police in New York City reported seven deaths, including a 50-year-old man, a 48-year-old woman, and a 2-year-old boy who were found unconscious and unresponsive late Wednesday inside a home according to Providence Journal.

Subway lines also had to shut down due to this weather event and a lot of commuters were stranded for a good while. Twitter is equally flooded with videos of locals showing the heavy flooding inundating cars. Subway Riders also posted videos showing that they had to stand on their seats in cars filled with floodwater.

New York Flooding: Not a Flood Zone Problem, A Flood Risk Problem

All throughout this week, we've been covering a lot about the impacts of Hurricane Ida when it made landfall on Louisiana and caused brutal flooding. After that, we also saw areas in Virginia also face the impacts of Ida just a couple of days ago as a small town in Waverly gets washed away by this weather event.

As of now, a flash flood emergency is declared for the Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), Western Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond (Staten Island), and Southern Westchester areas in New York as heavy rains are still expected.

New York Flood Insurance

This hurricane hitting the northeast may be impactful when it comes to flood insurance as this proves that given the perfect cocktail of conditions, any place can flood. As we're fast approaching October 1st where the new Risk Rating 2.0 program will start to take place it's important to keep in mind some changes in federal flood insurance that may be impacted by this weather event.

As the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is about to take on a new face when it comes to flood insurance, we should also start seeing the big changes when it comes to understanding flood risks. At our current federal flood insurance program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) doesn't really consider things like climate change and the nature of floods when it comes to their rating system.

Now, we'll start seeing a deeper look into the fingerprint of New York properties' flood risk. Each homeowner will be able to experience the same "equity in action" as FEMA pushes through with this new program. This simply means that property owners are rated based on multiple flood risk variables, which most of the time aren't the same as your neighbors.

New York Flooding: Not a Flood Zone Problem, A Flood Risk Problem

It's equally important to be ready once the flood insurance rate map (FIRM) or flood maps start to change to address this type of flooding incident across New York. Although with the Risk Rating 2.0, the flood zone determination is only needed from a regulatory standpoint, it still is crucial to find the time to understand your risk better.

It may not be a tornado, storm, or flood that will surprise you, but your flood premiums blowing of the roof can really catch you off guard when it comes to these changes with the NFIP.

Equally, this also impacts people who are getting flood insurance from private insurance carriers. If you were to file a claim with your private carrier for the flooding you receive, it's not impossible that you might not get flood insurance from them again since you have had a successful claim in the last 5 years.

Hurricane Ida also showed some of the lapses in understanding how floods work. Looking at New York, one can say that it's not really a flood-prone area in recent years however this doesn't ring true now that we've seen how one hurricane can start severe flooding — even torrential rains can be enough to start major flooding in the area.

New York Flooding: Not a Flood Zone Problem, A Flood Risk Problem

How To Best Prepare

The first thing that we want to remind people is to not ignore flash flood emergency warnings issued by the National Weather Service (NWS). I was scrolling through a tweet on Twitter when I saw a bunch of replies saying that they don't need to worry about all these floods because they're living on the fourteenth floor and things like that. However, water doesn't know the time and when to stop.

You can use your weather app on the phone to check how it's going with or without a hurricane. This also gives you enough visibility for your entire city. Maybe even Spider-Man and Captain America use these apps to get up-to-date.

A lot of people might say that they didn't have enough time to prepare for the possible catastrophic damage that hurricanes and floods can cause, but I digress. Let's all keep in mind that once that hurricane season starts, once winter ends and spring starts, or once rainfall is expected to drop on your area, floods may — most times will surely — follow. Water doesn't know time and flood zones so be safe out there.

If you have questions on flood insurance, how Hurricane Ida will impact flood insurance, what role does time really plays in flood insurance, or anything about floods, click below to reach us:

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Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand flood risks, your flood insurance, and mitigating your property long-term. You too can be prepared when events like this happen.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is rolling out changes when it comes to flood insurance rates across all states in the country. Today, we will unpack these changes coming to New York and how they can impact your flood insurance in the future.

The Flood Insurance Guru | New York Flood Insurance: New Federal Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0

Today, we have to come down to the concrete jungle where dreams are made of, New York. The Empire State is one of the most colorful places you can go to, surrounded by multiple lakes, a river, and the Atlantic coast itself however when it comes to floods, the state is facing a lot of risks. 

We're going to talk about the upcoming changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Risk Rating 2.0 which is expected to arrive on October 1, 2021.

The NFIP 2.0

Keep in mind however that property values won't be the only thing that will determine whether or not you'll get a price increase or decrease with your flood insurance rate. You also have to consider that there are a lot of things that will contribute to the final flood insurance costs you will get such as:

  • Overall flood risk and flood frequency
  • History of flood damage and flood loss
  • History and frequency of flood claims
  • Flood map designation. Are you in a low-risk flood zone or the high-risk flood zone or the special flood hazard areas (SFHA)?
  • Mitigation efforts on the insured property. Is your lowest floor above the base flood elevation?

The Flood Insurance Guru | New York Flood Insurance: New Federal Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0

When it comes to the rate changes happening across the country, you're going to see these colors in ranges which represent these changes with flood insurance rates from FEMA. Now, each of these colors represents the good, the bad, and the ugly changes coming to each state.

The National Flood Insurance Program will provide coverage from flood damage on the insured property, which generally are residential properties or commercial properties, that maxes to $250,000. This is also with that coverage on contents or personal things within that property that maxes to $100,000.

It's important to note however that if you're planning to go through FEMA and the NFIP, you better start as soon as possible since you will have to follow a strict 30-day waiting period before your policy can take effect. 

The Flood Insurance Guru | New York Flood Insurance: New Federal Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0

The Good

Starting with the good news we have for the residents of the Empire State, there will be 32% or 54,017 policyholders who will receive a great deal with the Risk Rating 2.0.

We'll show this as the green portion of the pie graph and a good change because this will bring an immediate decrease in rates of more than $100 ($1200 per year). This can really help ease out that premium with FEMA that averages $1300 or more especially for commercial policies in New York.

This decrease in premiums is very helpful for those lower-valued homes since the amount you need to pay for FEMA flood insurance won't seem so absurd for those who are impacted. 

The Bad

Now, let's move into the bad news and bad changes that the Risk Rating 2.0 will bring to residents of New York. About 54% or 93,697 policies in force from FEMA will get an increase ranging from $0 to $10 per month ($0 - $120 per year).

This means that if you're part of this blue portion in the graph, you're either going to get $0 or no change with the rates you're paying or pay an increase of $10 per month once the Risk Rating 2.0 kicks in.

The Ugly

Lastly, let's move to the farther end of the graph and talk about the ugly news. This is shown by the pink/magenta and grey portions. It's important to note that the grey portion is significantly uglier of a change compared to the pink one. Let's understand these two.

The pink portion will impact 7% or 12,042 of the policies in New York. This will create an increase for those impacted once the Risk Rating 2.0 kicks in. The increase will be ranging from $10 to $20 per month ($120 - $240 per year).

However, when it comes to that grey portion, we're going to start to talk about a more drastic increase in flood insurance rates. Another 7% or 11,354 policies in New York fall under this change. The increase in rates will be more than $20 per month (>$240 per year). This simply means that there's a chance that your increase will be at that $100 mark.

This price hike can easily be deemed as an alarming increase especially for the low-income communities that might be impacted by this change. This is why it's equally important to understand your flood insurance options as this increase may not help your situation and only cause more headache than peace of mind.

You also have the private flood insurance market and since private insurers are the ones who will cover your policy, you can get a great deal and won't have to deal with all that red-tape FEMA has to go through. The private flood insurance market doesn't have any coverage limits and has a shorter waiting period of 10-14 days. You wouldn't want to pay for a $3,000 premium only to get covered for only $250,000 on a $500,000 home.

You can see the full pie graph of these changes to New York below:

The Flood Insurance Guru | New York Flood Insurance: New Federal Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0

When Will It Happen?

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

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

So, you want to be very ready for this. We've been talking about this since last year since basically the NFIP is already 30 years old already and is in need of this change. 

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

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

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