So you want to buy a flood insurance policy from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Well, you won't have to worry about how to get a policy directly from FEMA because there is the Write-Your-Own (WYO) Program.

What is NFIP's Write-Your-Own (WYO) Program?

In this article, we talk about everything you need to know about WYO policies and why the Write-Your-Own Policy helps make the process of getting flood insurance coverage from FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) easier.

Write-Your-Own Policy

When looking at flood insurance options, you'd be remiss to think that the NFIP and Private Flood Insurance are two separate worlds that can never meet.

This is far from the truth as FEMA and the NFIP actually built a cooperative in 1983 as a form of partnership with the private flood insurance industry. This is called the Write-Your-Own (WYO) Program.

This created a system wherein you don't need to bother and go through all the hassle of getting a flood policy from FEMA.

What is NFIP's Write-Your-Own Program?

Generally, the Write-Your-Own (WYO) Program helps you find an alternative way to process your NFIP policy through other insurance companies. At the time of writing, FEMA reports that there are at least 50 participating insurers or carriers.

If you want to see what insurance companies are participating in the WYO program, CLICK HERE to go to FEMA's official list.

What's The Difference?

Now, you might be starting to wonder: what's the difference then?

When it comes to the Write-Your-Own, it basically allows other insurance companies outside of FEMA and the NFIP to provide insurance support for operations and everything needed to write an NFIP policy. This makes it easier and quicker to understand your flood risks, especially with the updated Risk Rating 2.0.

What is NFIP's Write-Your-Own Program?

The insurance companies participating in the WYO are allowed to both process the writing of your flood policy, managing of the documents, and use their resource to help you get your flood insurance easier.

The same also applies when you file a flood claim where you will see the participating company to help you get your flood insurance claim get processed.

It's important to note, however, that policies that are written under the WYO still follow FEMA and NFIP's coverage and rates. This should be your heads up especially considering that all federal flood insurance policies are now officially following the new Risk Rating 2.0 program.

What is NFIP's Write-Your-Own Program?

Generally, this means that you will still see a $250,000 limit for building coverage for residential properties or up to $500,000 max for commercial properties with a $100,000 contents coverage.

Getting a WYO policy also means that floodplain management regulations (i.e. flood insurance rate map) set by the federal government will be strictly in place and participating companies are expected to follow it.

Want To Learn More?

If you want to know more about the benefits and differences between the Write-Your-Own Program and NFIP Direct, listen to our podcast below or read our blog post on Write-Your-Own and NFIP Direct:

 

If you still have questions on flood insurance, click below to go to our Flood Learning Center. You could also contact us so we can discuss your flood insurance needs.

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The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

As the U.S. moves out of the moist cold winter weather, the risk of flooding also presents itself. Most can expect to see spring runoff and snowmelt, but fires?

Fire to Floods: Hoover Brush Fire Creates New Flood Threat in Alabama

Let's talk about the recent brush fire in Hoover, Alabama, and how this can impact both flooding and flood insurance in Hoover and its neighboring counties.

Not an April Fool's Joke

The typical quiet Wednesday night (March 30) for most people was disturbed by a brush fire in Hoover, a city in Jefferson County, and Shelby County in Alabama. The brush fire was reported to be driven by strong winds and began just before 7:00 PM.

The brush fire was enough to displace at least 26 units in City Heights apartments on Alpine Village Drive. The impact, although not direct, was substantial thermal damage that presented a lot of risks for the residents.

Fire to Floods: Hoover Brush Fire Creates New Flood Threat in AlabamaHoover Brush Fire as recorded by a resident, Joshua Johnson (from: abc3340.com)

We're talking about at least two dozen families needing to get away from their property. At least two people were treated for smoke inhalation. The good news is that the fire was extinguished completely by 8:40 PM and there wasn't a single death during the fire.

Now, you might be wondering how this and floods can be related? That's understandable since we're talking about literal fire and water here. Let's unpack that question for you.

Floods and Fires

Despite being the polar opposite element of flooding, fire can have a great contribution to flooding in an area. In this case, Hoover might also be facing increased flood risks due to the recent brush fire.

Wildfires like this can damage the soil and vegetation which naturally helps mitigate the severity of a flood event.

Fire to Floods: Hoover Brush Fire Creates New Flood Threat in Alabama

The soil absorbs all that rainwater during heavy rain reducing the excess water flowing into an area. The vegetation also does the same thing while supporting and holding the soil under them reducing mudflows and landslides.

However, when a fire like this happens, both of those things will face significant damage. As the heat dries out the soil, it won't be able to take in water and all that charred remains will add to the floodwater. There will also be a lot of debris flow due to the burnt flora. We've seen this flood threat before in California.

What It Means for Flood Insurance

One of the things that came out of the recent flood insurance update on the federal side with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is the Risk Rating 2.0 and how it perceives flood threats.

The new Risk Rating 2.0 will be assessing a lot of flood variables when it comes to determining the premium rate for your property.

For Hoover residents, this type of event can add to the amount of flooding and flood type variables. Instead of just expecting potential flooding due to runoff or rising of bodies of water like Parker Lake and Cahaba River, property owners in Hoover will also be assessed for possible flash flooding and mudflow caused by this brush fire.

This could badly hurt your flood insurance premiums with the Risk Rating 2.0 especially once your renewal kicks in.

Fire to Floods: Hoover Brush Fire Creates New Flood Threat in Alabama

— Good thing I'm doing a private flood insurance policy, right?

Although Private Flood generally has cheaper premium rates, private insurance companies were first to assess a property's flood risk by looking at its flood data and not just the flood zone alone. This may still present a shift in your Hoover home's flood risk hence flood insurance rates.

Better Than No Flood Insurance

At the end of the day, it's best to still secure that flood insurance since we can't really tell how Hoover would respond to flooding in the next few weeks. We're looking at spring runoff, snowmelt, heavy rainfall, and now, fire scars of this as flood risks in Hoover.

If you need flood insurance, Alabama has been opened to more options due to increased risks from previous years. This way, you can get your flood insurance through either the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the NFIP or through multiple private flood insurance companies.

If you want to know how they are different, watch the video below:

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand flood risks like brush fires, your flood insurance, and how to best protect the value of your property long-term.

If you've got questions, click the link below to go to our Flood Learning Center:

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You can also use this link below to call us:

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

Be safe out there, Alabama.

As the whole country moves out of the winter season, saying goodbye to all that snow might not be quick after all. One of the secrets of this transition from the snow-filled streets to blooming trees is the threat of flooding.

What Snowmelts Mean for Flooding in Ohio

Today, we want to talk about snowmelt, how it impacts flooding, and how flood insurance helps in protecting yourself from snow.

Spring Floods in 2022

Farewell to our cool friends from the month of December (see what we did there?) and hello to a warmer climate. For some this is a breath of fresh air since, let's be honest, the winter season had its fair share of annoyances like slippery pavements and the need to constantly shovel snow for areas that experience a lot of snow like the midwest region.

However, this shift might be presenting a bigger concern for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as the warmer climate also presents the possibility of drought and spring floods across the West, Midwest, and Southeast.

What Snowmelts Mean for Flooding in Ohio

Why are NOAA and other National Weather Service (NWS) are worrying? We got a lot of moisture from winter, Chris.

This is exactly the case when you start to look into flooding. As we move into the warmest season of the year, Summer, it's important to note that all that ice and snow will start to melt.

When you have oversaturated soil, it only takes a small rainfall to transform these into water.

Lookout! Spring Floods in 2022

NOAA considers a lot of factors other than snowmelt when it comes to what's called the spring flood that we may see in May. These things include drought, the current status of snowpacks, saturation levels, frost depth, and streamflow.

These things separated don't really cause floods, but they are ingredients to the worst cocktail you might experience. However, it's important to note that flood threats don't just pertain to that overflow of water from rivers, lakes, or creeks. We all know by now that even consistent rainfall can create damaging floodwaters.

We've actually seen this happen last year in the state of Colorado. You can read our blog on it by clicking here (Snowstorm in the Centennial State: Impacts of the May Spring Runoff).

What Snowmelts Mean for Flooding in Ohio

Considering that there was very late precipitation in fall and winter, the ground that we have during the first months of Spring would still be too wet to take in more water. Major flood risks are being expected from areas near the Red River, Ohio River, and the James River.

This isn't a problem that's specific to areas covered by snow like Ohio where there can be 2 to 4 inches of snow on average, but also to low-lying areas. Once these areas' respective ground couldn't take any more water, all that water won't stop and actually go to low-lying areas.

What Snowmelts Mean for Flooding in Ohio

 

Once you include drought in the equation, then you're just looking at heavy rain and even small amounts of precipitation to be water hitting cement.

This is why NOAA's recent outlook sees areas like the Ohio Valley to be at above-average levels when it comes to flood risks during the spring. This simply means that Ohio is expected to see more floods and runoff during the blooming season. This is the concern of NOAA due to the melting of ice, snow, as well as precipitation as we move into a warmer climate.

How Flood Insurance Helps

We're going, to be honest, a mere flood policy won't be able to change the flood threat that you're facing in Ohio or control its flood stage. However, just like a role-playing game, flood insurance has all the defense stats you would need to avoid getting snared by the violent spring runoff.

Buy Flood Insurance Now!

Flood insurance actually covers damages from all types of flooding including spring runoff or spring flood. This simply means that regardless of the floodwaters coming from snowpacks melting, storms, or major rivers cresting, you will find peace of mind knowing that you can fight those losses.

What Snowmelts Mean for Flooding in Ohio

A standard flood insurance policy can cover all of the damages due to flooding on both your home or dwelling and everything inside of it. Depending on where you're getting your flood insurance, you might see different coverage amounts.

For example, getting a flood policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will cap your coverage amount for building damages to $250,000 and $100,000 for contents.

The same can't be said for private flood insurance companies. Private flood is known for its quick turnaround time to have a policy take effect on an insured building and more flexible coverage amounts.

Need more help in preparing for spring floods? Click here to read our guide on "How to Prepare For 2022 Spring Runoff Season".

Bloom in Spring

Spring flood is becoming a yearly concern for the United States, so it's best to know why such an important change from winter to spring can impact you. After all, we are talking about our safety.

If you've got questions on spring floods or anything about flood insurance, click below to go to our Flood Learning Center where we answer your flood insurance questions.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand flooding, flood insurance, and protecting you from all types of flood risks.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

 

 

Birmingham — Water is the source of life, right? But for Birmingham, Alabama, water can be a real problem and danger as floodwaters become more dangerous.

Just this month of March, we've already seen substantial flash flooding that inundated streets, establishments, and roads rendering them unusable and unsafe.

This begs the question, why do these floods keep happening in Alabama?

We'll talk about that and more in this blog.

Birmingham Last Week

Many residents across multiple counties in the State of Alabama are being bombarded with heavy rainfall due to severe storms since last Wednesday (March 16th). There were numerous areas of heavy rain and storms on First Alert AccuTrack moving in all sorts of directions. We expected this when we discussed potential flood events last month. However, this is was not at a level anyone can expect to impact Alabama.

Flash flooding immediately occurred after cities get dumped with about 2 to 4 inches of rain. At this point, it shows that it doesn't really need to be the heaviest rains to cause a flooding event in Alabama and in the city of Birmingham.

Source: www.al.com | Elizabeth D. Madison

Yesterday evening (March 22nd), a lot of vehicles in the suburbs of Birmingham were stalled by the flash floods. The drivers faced huge problems when they got caught in a flood causing a lot of cars to simply shut down in the middle of flooded roads.

This is one of the biggest concerns that FOX News' Jonathan Hardison tweeted about last night. Add this to severe storms literally busting the roof off of multiple properties ranging from mobile homes to common residential buildings.

Unfortunately, such weather conditions became very bad that one man, Joseva Lawrence Speed, 60, reportedly drowned in Wednesday's flooding after trying to get into a family members' car, and sadly he got overwhelmed by the flash flood.

So with all these flash floods caused by 1 to 5 inches of rain, you might be wondering, what's causing all these constant floods in Alabama and Birmingham City?

Birmingham Relentlessly Battles Floods

Geographical Reasons

For us to understand why Birmingham keeps on getting flooded, we have to acknowledge that Alabama and the city of Birmingham itself sit on a valley which at least 8,000 acres of land being zoned into a Flood Zone A or AE. This means that whenever there's precipitation, you can't really avoid or prevent that excess rainfall to flow downhill into low-lying areas.

These include multiple creeks such as the Shades and Little Shades creeks. You can also count the Black Warrior and Cahaba River watersheds in the areas that receive all that water from excessive rainfall.

Although there are systems in place like stormwater drainage that helps in redirecting where the floodwater goes to avoid potential damage to properties, Jonathan D. Yates, Birmingham's director of the Department of Public Works, had different findings.

These systems are simply not cut out anymore for what's happening in Birmingham. Yates even said that the stormwater drainage system is not built to handle that big and severe of a storm. So it's not just blockage or blocked drainage that's causing all these floods, it's also the behavior of water itself.

Commercial Flood Insurance Map

Urbanization: Water Hitting Cement

Other than the geographic consideration, you also need to look at progressive urbanization which turns natural soil into hard concrete. There are a lot of building projects which remove our natural protective measures against flooding such as flora like trees, vegetation, and grasses.

You see, in wooden areas, all that rainwater is getting absorbed by the soil; however the same can't be said for cities like Birmingham where rain simply just stays and moves around there.

Just imagine spilling water over your wooden dining table versus the water that's poured on a sponge. It's basically changing all that rainwater into stormwater runoff from higher areas of the state and Birmingham City.

Impacts of Climate Change

Lastly, you also need to consider how climate change has drastically worsened how these usual storms, rainfall amounts, and flooding behaves.

The drastic change from cold weather to a very warm one is only going to cause more precipitation or rain in an area. It's basic evaporation, condensation, and precipitation in Science. 

Extreme heat can also cause droughts which are generally like hitting the water to a hard concrete or cement. Take note, this is natural soil not being able to seep in water due to these severe weather conditions.

How to Best Protect Yourself

A lot of things come into play whenever you start thinking about flood mitigation. You can consider the area and flood zone to determine the overall chances of getting flooded you may have.

This is why we really encourage property owners, from restaurants to residential houses, to create flood protection for their property. This includes installing flood vents that help floodwater pass through your property and not really inundate it that much. You can also prepare sandbagging in order to slow the flow of water on your property.

These are just short-term steps in protecting yourself. The best way is to really get yourself flood insurance. This isn't really something that you can see like flood vents or sandbags, but it's the most efficient way to protect your valuables and property from flood damage.

Flood loss is the biggest concern of people in Birmingham especially with these constant floods happening in the city and the only way to take that off your chest is to be sure that someone's got your back.

Birmingham has a lot of flood insurance options that you can choose from.

You can do it through the federal government with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which got an update through Risk Rating 2.0.

You can also go through the Private Flood Insurance market which offers multiple and various insurance carriers to help you get coverage for your property.

Getting flood insurance also helps you avoid the worry of not having anything to go back to. This is because regardless of where you get your flood insurance from, you will be covered for the damages on your building as well as everything inside it.

It's hard to say that all this will be over since we can't really predict and dictate how floodwater behaves. We hope that you stay safe out there!

If you have any questions, click below to go to our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer all your flood insurance questions.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

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

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

Facts can be Stranger than Fiction.

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

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

Alabama's Shocking Weather Today 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flood Insurance and Vehicles 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do Flood Zones Still Matter in Alabama?

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

Not anymore. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

Alabama has been always front and center when it comes to concerns of flooding. It's no surprise then that one of the biggest worries of property owners is their flood risks and equally where they land when it comes to flood maps.

In this blog, let's talk about the different flood zones in Alabama. We also want to discuss what areas are in a required flood zone and what areas aren't in a required flood zone.

Finding My Flood Zone in Alabama

Flooding in Alabama

Just in the last 2 to 3 years, the number of flood risks in the state of Alabama has drastically increased compared to the last 10 to 15 years. This is very much evident in how common it became for some areas in the state that receive 10 inches of rain in a 12-hour period. This immediately shows how higher the chance of flooding is becoming for most of these areas which become flood-prone. This is also why some areas find it uncommon to see at least 4 inches of rain just within 2 hours.

Finding My Flood Zone in Alabama

About a week ago, Limestone County in Alabama was immediately terrorized with flash floods to a point where Chapman Hollow Road at Alabama 99 had to be closed by Commissioner Townsend because due to all of the water that was over the road. This is after Limestone County got about 1.49 inches to 3.20 inches of rain last Tuesday.

This type of scenario shows how much floods have changed in the last few years in Alabama, and it warrants a proper explanation of how flood zones have a hand in this concern.

Understanding Flood Zones in Alabama

The first thing you need to know about flood zones in Alabama is that we generally separate these between low-risk flood zones and high-risk flood zones. Historically, low-risk flood zones were also called preferred risk zones, but as we move out of using flood zones as a basis for flood insurance premiums due to the Risk Rating 2.0, this isn't applicable anymore.

When we talk about low-risk flood zones, we mostly look at flood zone X. Before we move forward in discussing these low-risk zones, it's important to always remember that there's no such thing as "not in a flood zone". Each property across the United States is in a flood zone. It's crucial to understand that "not in a flood zone" are properties that are simply mapped into a low-risk zone.

Finding My Flood Zone in Alabama

Flood Zone X was called a preferred zone because generally properties in this type of flood zone have a lower risk of flooding and don't really have a requirement to carry flood insurance. However, it's becoming more of a myth now that floods don't happen in Flood Zone X as we're seeing more common flash flooding in Alabama.

On the other hand, you also have these high-risk zones which are also called the special flood hazard area (SFHA) that generally indicate an increased risk for flooding in that specific location. Flood Zone A is one of the most common high-risk zones you'll see in Alabama. Generally, when you start getting mapped into these zones, mortgage companies expect that properties in flood zone A should have flood insurance policies.

Flood Zone A is a high-risk zone due to the zone not having a determined base flood elevation. Generally, if you want to lower your flood insurance rates or be removed from being mapped into a high-risk zone like Flood Zone A, you will have to use an elevation certificate or a letter of map amendment. Generally, properties being moved into or are already mapped into these zones see a slight increase in their premium rates and flood risk.

Lastly, we have the Flood Zone AE which is somewhat similar to flood zone A however for these zones, the base flood elevation has been determined. This zone is also called the 100-year floodplain and has about 30% of flooding in a 26-year mortgage. Just like the previous flood zone, your mortgage lender will most likely require you to carry a flood policy if you're mapped into a Flood Zone AE.

Flood Zone AE's flood premiums are not determined by a single measurement alone. Most insurance companies, and even the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), now look into different flood variables such as the structure of your home, the type of foundation of your home, how much flood you get, what type of floods you get, and how much flood claims were made in a Flood Zone AE property historically.

Finding Your Flood Zone

When it comes to flood zones, generally you have to follow whatever's being indicated by your current flood insurance rate map (FIRM) from floodplain administrator. This generally means that if you're moving deeper into the SFHA, then you will have to adjust your expectations not just with the number of floods you will get, but also with your flood insurance rates. There's a directly proportional relationship between flood zones and flood risks after all.

However, this doesn't really mean that you will have to accept whatever expensive flood insurance premiums just because you're in a high-risk flood zone. In Alabama, a lot of new insurance companies are coming in to support the state when it comes to flood mitigation and protecting people from flood damage. This means that there are a lot of options to go through now.

Finding My Flood Zone in Alabama

Finding your flood zone in Alabama doesn't just mean knowing the flood zone you have, but how you can manage this better especially when it comes to the cost of flood insurance. Sometimes, you get into the wrong flood zone or maybe you want to remove your property from flood zones. Either way, we want to help you go deeper into understanding how the costs of flood insurance in Alabama are determined.

Flood Variables

Let's talk about positive elevations first and how they can have a big impact. The further your home is above the base flood elevation the better the rate is going to be. If all the elevations of your home are above the base flood elevation your home might even qualify for a letter of map amendment. This means that your property might be removed from the high-risk flood zone and placed in low-risk flood zones causing a big improvement to property values.

When it comes to the impact of negative elevations. As mentioned above basements can cause a home to have an extreme negative elevation. The higher the negative elevation home has the higher probability of a flood occurring. This can create a double-edged sword because the NFIP rates can be through the roof sometimes exceeding $10,000 a year for noncoastal properties. However, the other problem is the higher the negative elevation the less likely it is that a private insurance carrier will offer coverage on a property.

Flood losses also can have a major impact on a property. It could even stop a property from selling if severe enough. Generally, when one flood loss occurs you would lose the preferred rating with the NFIP if you had one. Having a flood loss can also eliminate most of the private flood insurance options as most will not insure a property that has had a loss. However, when the second loss and paid claim occur is when disaster can strike.

This can turn a property into a severe repetitive loss (SRL) property which has to follow certain mitigation guidelines in order to get insurance through the NFIP and private flood insurance is not available on these types of properties. This is why you should really review things closely before filing a flood insurance claim.

Finding My Flood Zone in Alabama

Flood insurance is now more important than ever in Alabama especially as we prepare for the sudden shift when it comes to rainfall amounts as we move into the Spring season.

If you have questions on flood insurance, we have a Flood Learning Center dedicated to answering all your questions and more when it comes to flood insurance. Click below to go to our Flood Learning Center page. 

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

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

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are stepping on the gas to upgrade their services when it comes to flood insurance.

FEMA Cancellation Reasons: Category #3 - Duplicate Coverage

In today's blog, we want to address one of the most important changes coming with the Risk Rating 2.0 when it comes to the cancellation federal side of flood insurance.

What happens when your coverage is duplicated between two policies? How will it be canceled now that's NFIP switched to Risk Rating 2.0?

Category #3 - Duplicate Coverage

When it comes to purchasing flood insurance, it's not impossible that a homeowner will get duplicate policies. After all, having an option is better than none at all. However, this type of situation creates a possible chance that the flood policy of the insured will be duplicated.

This is why FEMA and the NFIP allowed policyholders to have a flood policy canceled if there's an unintentional or, basically, accidental duplication of your flood insurance.

In the previous NFIP Legacy Program, this is known as either Cancellation Reason Code #04, #10, or #26. Let's talk about how these three are different from one another.

FEMA Cancellation Reasons: Category #3 - Duplicate Coverage

Reason Code #04 indicates that a policy may be canceled if there's a duplicate in coverage. This means that you might be registered under two different flood insurance policies for the same name, address, coverage amount for the building and its contents.

When it comes to this Reason Code, one of your duplicated policies will be canceled in order to either (1) establish a common expiration date, (2) the dwelling/building policy coverage due to RCBAP (more on this later), (3) there's a force-placed policy from the mortgage when the insured/borrower already bought a flood policy, (4) a policy of earlier date already expired, or (5) a Group Flood Insurance Policy (GFIP) needs to be canceled to move into a standard-rate policy.

Reason Code #10 mostly concerns renters. This Reason Code's cancellation indicates that the policy needs to be canceled due to either the policy with only building coverage is being replaced by the Residential Condominium Building Association Policy (RCBAP), or the unit owner or RCBAP building limits are more than what FEMA coverages offer.

Reason Code#26 is for those who bought a policy from private flood insurance carriers and didn't want to push through with their NFIP policy's purchase or renewal.

The NFIP policy will be canceled depending on your discretion, so they won't really cancel it for you without your confirmation. This is very helpful to keep in mind especially for FEMA policyholders who are switching to private carriers for their flood insurance needs.

FEMA Cancellation Reasons: Category #3 - Duplicate Coverage

What's Changing?

Generally, the details and conditions of the three aforementioned Reason Codes still apply to the new Risk Rating 2.0 program. However, in order to avoid confusion, FEMA and the NFIP decided to combine Reason Codes #04, #10, and #26 into one Category.

FEMA Cancellation Category #3 is basically what you'll need whenever you need to cancel a federal flood insurance policy because it's a duplicate. This change can really be helpful for homeowners and business owners alike who won't have to keep on reviewing the FEMA handbook to know what's the best Reason Code for their situation.

This is also a great tool for those looking to move into the private insurance carriers to get a more fitting policy for their coverage needs.

These changes can be confusing, so if you need help understanding how flood insurance work and how your FEMA policy can be canceled, where to buy flood insurance, 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 for your flood insurance concerns.

a person wearing a hat

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand your flood insurance, how it can be managed, flood risks, and mitigating your property to preserve its value long-term.

We moved out of the legacy program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and are now officially going to adopt the Risk Rating 2.0 program for the federal flood insurance. In our previous blog, we were able to establish what's changing with these cancellation reasons with the Risk Rating 2.0 program.

FEMA Cancellation Reasons: Category #2 - Common Expiration Date

Other than the changes coming to the overall rating structure of flood policies with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), we're also going to see some changes to cancellation reasons.

Today, we want to focus on Category #2 of FEMA Cancellation Reasons: Establishing a Common Expiration Date. Let's talk about it.

Category #2: Expiration Dates and More

When it comes to flood policies, it's important that you have the correct effectivity and expiration dates. This is a matter of life and death when it comes to your property's status.

When we say effectivity date, we're simply talking about when you're policy is going to start covering flood damages that may occur on the insured building or property. On the other hand, the expiration date is when the flood policy will no longer take effect when it comes to coverages to flood loss.

The thing about these dates is that it's pretty common to get it mixed up and two policies will be written for the same property with different effectivity and expiration dates. This isn't allowed even in private flood insurance.

FEMA Cancellation Reasons: Category #2 - Common Expiration Date

In order to resolve this issue, FEMA and NFIP handles the situation by canceling the other policy. The policy that will be canceled won't be based on when it was written, but whichever has the higher coverage.

Simply put, you will take up the FEMA flood policy that has higher flood insurance coverage for your insured building no matter what. This also means that the approved policy's expiration date will be followed and the rejected one will be canceled.

If you ever get into the situation where your policy is written for two different expiration dates, one obviously needs to get canceled. In the NFIP Legacy Program or NFIP version 1.0, the cancellation will be written with Reason Code #03.

What's Changing?

When it comes to the updated cancellation reasons for Risk Rating 2.0, Reason Code #03 will be changed into what's called Category #2. Generally, the numbering was moved up because the previous Reason Code #2 already gets covered in Category #1 alongside Reason Codes #01 and #07.

In order to have a policy canceled due to Category #02, the policy must meet two conditions:

1. The insurer must remain the same for the new flood policy with the same or higher amounts of coverage. The agent must submit a new application and premium.

This simply means that your insurance agent must submit a new application finalizing your flood policy application to FEMA and NFIP in order to match the correct expiration date and the higher coverage limits for your property.

This condition also means that you can no longer change to another insurer. Generally, condition #1 asks the insured and agent to simply correct any mistake within the flood policy, especially the expiration date.

2.  The other insurance coverage for which the common expiration date is established must be for building coverage on the same building insured by the current in-force flood policy.

You can cancel your policy however according to condition #2, FEMA Cancellation Category #2 will only be written to establish the same expiration date of the policy. You can't insure a property that's different from the current one you have.

FEMA Cancellation Reasons: Category #2 - Common Expiration Date

Having the correct dates and coverage on your policy is really important and getting it wrong will only cause you more headaches once floodwater starts to inundate your property. Having two different expiration dates can mean that your policy will already lapse when you need it the most and you're not going to get covered.

These changes can be confusing, so if you need help understanding how flood insurance work and how your FEMA policy can be canceled, where to buy flood insurance, 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 for your flood insurance concerns.

a person wearing a hat

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand your flood insurance, how it can be managed, flood risks, and mitigating your property to preserve its value long-term.

We moved out of the legacy program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and are now officially going to adopt the Risk Rating 2.0 program for the federal flood insurance.

FEMA Cancellation Reasons: Category #1 - No Insurable Interest

Other than the changes coming to the overall rating structure of flood policies with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), we're also going to see some changes to cancellation reasons.

Today, we want to focus on Category #1 of FEMA Cancellation Reasons: No insurable interests.

Category #1: No Insurable Interest

First, we want to address the following conditions wherein this new category falls. In the previous version of the NFIP, "No Insurable Interest" actually falls under three separate reason codes. These reason codes are #01, #02, and #07. Let's do a quick review directly lifted from FEMA's handbook on cancellation rules.

First, let's cover the conditions wherein this cancellation reason can be considered under Reason Code #01.

The conditions mostly cover the idea that the property can't be insured either due to it failing to meet the standards of the NFIP and FEMA to be eligible for flood insurance coverage. These conditions are either (1) the building/property is at a total loss due to damages and it's basically unsavable, (2) when the developer or builder has requested to cancel the policy mid-term due to the homeowner moving into another property, and (3) maybe even due to a failure of the property transfer or the closing of a deal on the house's purchase.

FEMA Cancellation Reasons: Category #1 - No Insurable Interest

In Reason Code #02, the conditions are either (1) the property has been transferred to another owner, (2) the contents are completely removed or moved from another place due to the previous condition, and (3) the contents were destroyed by a peril like floods, earthquake, or a fire.

FEMA Cancellation Reasons: Category #1 - No Insurable Interest

Lastly for Reason Code #07, will consider either (1) an insurer issues a policy and the anticipated transfer of the property does not take place, or (2) the insured does not acquire an insurable interest in the property.

Based on these two items, this is mostly regarding homeowners who applied for flood insurance with FEMA and the NFIP before they purchase a property. Think of it this way, you bought a flood policy first to make sure that the property gets flood insurance coverage, but you haven't really bought the house or the transfer hasn't been completed yet.

FEMA Cancellation Reasons: Category #1 - No Insurable Interest

The cancellation reason will take place once this property wasn't transferred to the buyer, therefore, nullifying the proposed flood insurance policy on that property.

What's Changing?

In the new Risk Rating 2.0 update, this "No Insurable Interest" reason actually falls on Reason Codes #01, #02, and #07 when it comes to the legacy program of the federal flood insurance. However, the new update moves these three reasons into one Category that caters to any and all conditions where the property simply isn't there anymore to be insured by a flood policy.

In Risk Rating 2.0, this becomes Category #1 and is actually easier since if you can notice, there were multiple repetitions within the legacy program's Reason Code #01, #02, and #07. This avoids any confusion since we're talking about conditions which is a great move on FEMA and NFIP's part.

So if your house closing didn't push through, the property was completely destroyed, and/or builder requests for cancellation, this already gets covered in FEMA Cancellation Rule: Category #1. No need to go back into the three codes because this category already covers your concern and it's easier for both homeowners and insurance agents to help your policy get nullified and eventually canceled altogether.

These changes can be confusing, so if you need help understanding how flood insurance work and how your FEMA policy can be canceled, where to buy flood insurance, 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 for your flood insurance concerns.

a person wearing a hat

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand your flood insurance, how it can be managed, flood risks, and mitigating your property to preserve its value long-term.

Today, we want to answer one of the most asked questions ever since this new Risk Rating 2.0 program came into the picture when it comes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Will my rates double with the Risk Rating 2.0 update?

Will My Flood Insurance Rates Double in Risk Rating 2.0?

Risk Rating 2.0

When it comes to this new update, one of the things that people may think about and be haunted by asking if this new Risk Rating 2.0 program means that flood insurance rates across the board will double.

Before we dwell too much on that question, we want to address first what is going to happen with the Risk Rating 2.0.

Just because it says "2.0" doesn't mean that your rates will double. 2.0 simply pertains to the fact that this is a newer version of federal flood insurance. Think of it as an app in your phone updating from an old version to a new one; sometimes it even goes up to 7.0, but it doesn't really mean that the app will be seven times bigger.

Will My Flood Insurance Rates Double in Risk Rating 2.0?

This new program is deemed equity in action as it aims to provide the most accurate flood insurance rates by using each property's unique flood risks. The new Risk Rating 2.0 program will start to look at multiple flood risk variables or factors in order to finalize your rates and this way it hopes to make give everyone a transparent flood insurance pricing for each property owner when they pay.

With the flood risk variables kicking in, your property's going to get a final flood risk score that covers addresses your risks and how they contributed to calculating your rate. We'd like to put it simply as "the fingerprint of your flood risks".

These flood risk variables will cover multiple areas concerning your property and the nature of floods. One of the biggest changes is that this new program will only look at flood zones as a regulatory reference. This means that flood zones will no longer impact rates, but can still demand you to get flood insurance if you're in the special flood hazard area (SFHA).

Rate Changes with Risk Rating 2.0

The truth is when it comes to flood insurance policies and their respective flood insurance premium, Risk Rating 2.0 will can either cut your premium rates in half or create a rate increase that will double the price of flood insurance. All of this is dependent on your flood risk score.

Get Your Flood Risk Score Here!

The things that will determine your flood risk and flood insurance rates will cover both things from the legacy program and new things with the Risk Rating 2.0. We've put down a list of the things that are staying and the new kids in the block when in the federal flood insurance scene.

The remaining features are as follows:

The new things that will come with the Risk Rating 2.0 are as follows:

  • Types of floods. This can be either pluvial or the accumulated water due to rain, runoff of collected water that flows from higher areas, storm surge and coastal erosion, dam/levee damage or overflow, and even a combination of these things.
  • Flood frequency. How often do these floods happen on your property or in your area?
  • First-floor height and elevation of the structure. A new feature that determines your flood risk score is the distance between the ground (grade) from your first floor or the first habitable floor of your property.
  • Flood Risk Mitigation Measures made on the property. Is the lowest floor above the base flood elevation? Are there enough flood openings to let floodwaters through?
  • Replacement Cost. How much will it cost insurance companies to rebuild or repair your home when damaged?

Will My Flood Insurance Rates Double in Risk Rating 2.0?

Does this mean that higher-value homes will be the ones to double the cost of flood insurance since they will get annual premium increases and flood insurance policyholders with lower-value homes will be the only ones to pay half of their flood insurance?

If we really look at Risk Rating 2.0 closely, this will address each and every individual property's flood risk score. So the higher the risk of flooding within your property, the higher the increase you'll expect. Right now, we're currently seeing an estimate of 70% of the registered properties (both residential properties and commercial ones) will get an increase in flood insurance rates with the Risk Rating 2.0.

This 70% doesn't really contain solely higher-valued homes and the other 30% who might not see a price increase are lower-valued homes. This is a complete mix of the overall population across the country. It can really be hard to tell whether or not you're going to be one of the homeowners who will get their flood premiums cost cut in half since we're yet to see any impact of implementation from FEMA and the NFIP.

Will My Flood Insurance Rates Double in Risk Rating 2.0?

What is important to note here is that there will be places and properties that might even see a double-digit rate increase with their flood policies from FEMA and the NFIP.

That said, I think the best thing to really ask is how well you're protected because we're already seeing that floods can happen anywhere at any given time. Even low-risk flood areas like New York City, Atlanta, and Waverly saw huge flood damage even though they're well outside the flood-prone areas.

Make sure that you are protected at all times and that you also get to protect your property from floodwaters. If you have any questions on Risk Rating 2.0, how to determine your flood risk score or anything about floods and flood insurance, reach out to us by clicking below.

Contact Us

We also encourage that you visit our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer your questions on flood insurance.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets up help you understand the level of risk that you have when it comes to flooding, your flood insurance, and protecting your property long-term.