Flood insurance — just like any insurance policy — is bound to have a lot of documents attached to it. It's important to know the purpose of these. In this article, we want to talk about federal flood insurance and what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) acknowledgment form is.

Everything You Need to Know about FEMA's Acknowledgment Form

Federal Flood Insurance

Communities across the whole United States have been getting a lot of changes when it comes to flood insurance on the federal side. This flood insurance is managed by FEMA and its most popular carrier, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Since April 2022, the whole NFIP system has been moved to follow the Risk Rating 2.0 which changed a lot of things when it comes to flood insurance especially when it comes to premium rates. There are good, bad, and ugly changes with this update however some things simply don't change.

Federal Emergency Management Agency - WikipediaEverything You Need to Know about FEMA's Acknowledgment Form

Just, for example, the definition of flood still stays the same when it comes to flood insurance. If two parcels of land or two properties are impacted by water then this is the only time it will be considered a flood event.

Everything You Need to Know about FEMA's Acknowledgment Form

Another thing that didn't change is how both FEMA and community officials still require flood insurance for properties or sometimes even communities that are in a high-risk flood zone like flood zone A or flood zone AE.

So, if you're thinking of going through FEMA, this information is good to know. Don't worry, we have covered a lot of topics when it comes to FEMA and its changes on our website.

FEMA Acknowledgment Form

When purchasing flood insurance, it's basically tradition at this point that you receive an acknowledgment form of your policy. However, one question that policyholders usually first think of is if this is legit.

Yes, this acknowledgment form is legit and it serves as some proof that you have received a copy of your flood insurance policy. The thing about FEMA is that they don't just have the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to help them support this new "equity in action" objective they have.

Everything You Need to Know about FEMA's Acknowledgment Form

What we mean by this is that due to FEMA being partnered with NFIP as well as Write-Your-Own flood insurance carriers, you may be able to see a different name that's not FEMA as your insurance provider. If you need to know more about Write-Your-Own (WYO) carriers, click here to go to our blog post on this topic.

Now, you might be wondering how you would be able to determine if the acknowledgment form is legit and valid. Well, here are something that you should be able to see with that acknowledgment form.

Declarations Page

This page — sometimes referred to as simply "dec page" — will tell you relevant information about the flood policy. The declarations page should include the name of the intended insured (usually the property owners' name), the property address being insured, the flood insurance carrier, and coverages.

Everything You Need to Know about FEMA's Acknowledgment Form

Before we move forward, it's important to reiterate that the flood insurance carrier isn't always the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as the Write-Your-Own (WYO) carrier's name might be your insurance provider. The declarations page with your acknowledgment form should be able to inform and show you this information.

When it comes to coverage, on the other hand, we need to remember that when doing a flood policy with FEMA, there are some coverage terms and limits you need to know. This includes the $250,000 coverage limit for residential properties and this will only go higher if you're doing a commercial policy with a $500,000 building coverage limit. Regardless of the property type, only a $100,000 coverage limit will be provided for content coverage.

Everything You Need to Know about FEMA's Acknowledgment Form

But what else should you expect when receiving an acknowledgment form in your mail?

List of Flood Losses

Another item that you might be able to see whenever FEMA is sending you this form is the list of the flood losses that the insured property has. Now, this is important as this may also serve as an explanation for your rates considering the claims variable that Risk Rating 2.0 has.

This list helps determine what claims variable the property is in and also helps you understand the potential flood risk you might face due to the property's flood history.

Everything You Need to Know about FEMA's Acknowledgment Form

NFIP Handbook

Lastly, you should be able to receive what's called the NFIP Handbook.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a lot of terms and conditions when it comes to flood insurance. This also covers your coverages and aims to help you understand how flooding and flood insurance works.

Everything You Need to Know about FEMA's Acknowledgment Form

So these are the things you should expect to receive when you're getting that acknowledgment form from FEMA. Flood insurance can be complicated at times and we want to help you avoid all of this hassle. If you have questions on flood insurance, go to our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer all of your flood insurance questions.

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  • Fill out this form by clicking here.
  • Talk with our flood education specialist.
  • Get back to the important things in your life.

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We want to help simplify flood insurance for you so that you can find more time in enjoying life's beauty.

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

Why Flood Insurance is Important for Birmingham, Alabama

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

Birmingham, AL Floods

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

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

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

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

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

But how does this relate to flood insurance?

Flood Insurance in Birmingham, Alabama

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

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

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

Why Flood Insurance is Important

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

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

Why Flood Insurance is Important for Birmingham, Alabama

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

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

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

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Remember, we want to simplify flood insurance through education so that we can help you avoid problems and keep the value of your property long-term.

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It's the question that gets asked probably a hundred times a week. Insurance agents, property owners, and even banks want to know the answer.

Everyday we see FHA loans fall apart because of flood insurance. Many times flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program can be higher. Then you might have to pay the cost of an elevation certificate.

In 2019 FDIC made a major move in the industry when it started to allow private flood insurance.

People assumed this meant FHA would start accepting private flood insurance. However, because FHA insures loans they have different guidelines they do not accept private flood insurance. As of July 2022 FHA still only allows flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, but hopefully, that will be changing soon.

On November 10, 2020 FHA made an announcement they were looking at accepting private flood insurance. They opened up a 60 day comment period for people to leave comments on this possible action.

So what happens next and what will be the impacts?

 

What's Next

After this 60-day comment period FHA will look at the comments and probably make a decision by the 2nd quarter of 2021. If they decide to approve it then they would probably delay it going into effect by 6 months. This is what FDIC in 2019.

So what could the impacts be?

 

The Impact

Well if you currently have an FHA loan then these could possibly cause a major decrease in your mortgage payment. You might see a 40% rate decrease in the private market.

 

However if this is passed don't go and try to jump to the private market right away.

FEMA has strict guidelines for cancellation. Unless you are refinancing your house you may not qualify until your policy is up for renewal.

 

In 2019 we saw a lot of people lose money because of FEMA cancellation rules. Many times private carriers require payment up front and charge minimum earned premiums.

This means you might be out 25% of the money you paid for a private policy because FEMA won't let you cancel.

 

We will continue to monitor this situation and continue to educate the public as this process moves forward. If you have questions about your flood insurance options then click here.

Want to learn more about flood insurance?

Check out our YouTube channel and Podcast.

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

 

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Flood zone AE also referred to as the 100 year flood zone has the highest premiums other than coastal areas. These are generally because most of the structures have a negative base flood elevation. So what determines the premiums of these zones?

Well there are a few things that have a major impact on flood premiums in these zones. The age of the structure, the foundation type, flood loss history, and the elevation of the home.

Let's start with the age of the structure depending on when the house was built it will have a different rating model through FEMA. Its based on the first flood map for structure which generally occurred after 1978. If it was before the first flood map its called a PreFirm structure and if its after the first flood map its called a PostFirm structure. One of the big differences between these two types of structures is called grandfathering where you can keep the property in a preferred flood zone that no longer exists. This is allowed on PostFirm structures but not PreFirm structures.

The next thing that has a major impact on flood insurances rates in flood zone AE is the foundation type. Let's start with crawlspaces above grade compared to subgrade. Above grade is a crawlspace that sits above ground and subgrade is going to be crawlspace that sits partially below ground. The big difference here is subgrade generally will sit a certain level below the base flood elevation which increase the premium. While above grade sits above ground it could still be below the base flood elevation. The difference is things like flood vents can significantly lower the premiums with above grade crawlspaces.
The next type of foundation that will have a major impact on premiums are basements. As you can imagine basements can sit a good distance below the lowest adjacent grade creating a significant negative elevation. This can have a big difference on the rate so its very important to understand this when owning a house and purchasing a house. Also just because a basement is below grade does not mean that it is below the base flood elevation. Now that we have talked about foundations lets talk about how the elevation of the home in a flood zone Ae can impact the rate.The only real way to know this is to have a survey or elevation certificate completed. Now that we have discussed how the elevations of a home can have a major impact on flood insurance rates as you can see from the different foundation types.

Lets 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 a low risk flood zones causing a big improvement to property values. Now lets talk about the impact of negative elevations. As mentioned above basements can cause a home to have an extreme negative elevation. The higher the negative elevation a 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 non coastal properties. However the other problem is the higher the negative elevation the less likely that a private insurance carrier will offer coverage on a property. So these are some things to think about when buying a home with a basement or building a home. we have discussed the impact foundation types can have on a structure lets talk about flood loss history.

Flood losses 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 severity loss property which has to follow certain mitigation guidelines in order to get insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance is not available on these type of properties. This is why you should really review things closely before filing a flood insurance claim.

Have questions about flood insurance? Click the link below or visit The Flood Insurance Guru Find My Flood Risk and Flood rate

Buying flood insurance doesn't have to be complicated or confusing.  Our goal is to simply flood insurance and understand flood risks through education.

Flooding is the number 1 natural disaster in the United States. Today we are going to discuss 5 tips for buying flood insurance.  So the five things you need to know about are:

5 Tips to Buying Flood Insurance


Flood insurance policies are not all the same so it's important to ask the right questions.

1. Wait periods

Almost all flood insurance policies have some kind of wait period. There are different wait periods for each situation. Let's look at the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) first.

National Flood Insurance Program

There are three common wait periods with the National flood Insurance Program

  • Loan closings
  • New mapped policies
  • Standard wait periods

Let's look at loan closings first. Generally, if a property is requiring flood insurance for a loan closing this means that there is no waiting period. This means if a claim occurs a week after closing then you would have immediate coverage. It's important to know that in order for a claim to be paid out payment has to have been received.

Now let's look at newly mapped policies. These are properties that in the past were not required to have flood insurance but they are now because of flood map change. This is generally when a property is moved from a flood zone X to something like flood zone a or flood zone AE.

Watch the videos below to get an understanding of the different flood zones.

 

When it comes to newly mapped policies you are going to be looking at a 1 day wait period. So if the policy is set up today then it would be effective tomorrow. These types of policies had a larger financial benefit before the release of risk rating 2.0. This is because flood zones no longer determine flood insurance rates with the National Flood Insurance Program.

Now let's look at the standard wait period with the National Flood Insurance Program. The standard wait period is 30 days. So if we set up a policy today it won't be effective until 30 days from now. 

5 Tips to Buying Flood Insurance

Now you remember when we discussed no waiting period with loan closings? Well, there could be an exception if payment is not received within a certain time frame. If you are an insurance agent or an insured then you have 10 days to make the payment. If you are a mortgage company then you have up to 29 days to get this payment in. 

 

So what happens if payment is not received within that time frame?

Then you would have a 30-day wait period kick in from the date the payment is received. This is important to remember when you are talking about flood coverage, flood claims, or possible flood damage.

Private Flood Insurance

Now let's take a look at private flood insurance when it comes to flood insurance wait periods. Private flood insurance works completely differently than the National Flood Insurance Program. While they also do no wait periods for loan closings their other wait periods might range from 1 day to 15 days.

Each insurance company has different guidelines for their wait periods.

5 Tips to Buying Flood Insurance

2. Deductibles

Flood insurance deductibles are completely different than homeowners insurance policy deductibles. On a home insurance policy, you may only have one deductible. However, a flood policy could have three different deductibles. 

These deductibles could have some impact on insurance costs as well. The higher the deductible the lower the insurance premium could be. Let's take a look at where these different deductibles could apply:

The coverages above are the three standard coverages on a flood insurance policy. It's important to know whether you have your flood insurance directly through the National Flood Insurance Program or with a Write Your Own Carrier that additional living expenses are not currently an option. Currently in 2022 additional living expenses are only offered by private insurance companies.

5 Tips to Buying Flood Insurance

When picking these deductibles you want to add all three together because there is a possibility you may have to pay three deductibles at one time. This is one thing many people do not think about so instead of maybe a $5000 deductible they really have a $15000 deductible.

Yikes!

3. Will the Bank Accept the Policy

Every day we see property owners take out a flood insurance policy and we see the bank deny it. So why would they deny the flood policy?

This could happen for a couple of reasons, some are due to coverage amount and type of policy. Recently, we saw a bank deny a policy for one of the craziest reasons too much coverage. Yes, you read that right too much coverage.

This property owner in Vestavia Alabama was told by their bank they would only accept a policy for the standard $250,000. This customer wanted to insure the property for replacement cost coverage but was told they could not.

5 Tips to Buying Flood Insurance

Generally, when we see this happen it's because there is not enough coverage on the policy or at FEMA's max residential coverage of $250,000.

Now let's look at the type of policy.

If you are doing an FHA loan then, generally, they will not accept private flood insurance. This is where we see a lot of property owners get in trouble. They get a couple of days before closing and are told that flood insurance is not acceptable because it is a private policy. They call their insurance agent to get it changed and the flood insurance premium goes from $800 to $4200.

Why is that? Well, insurance companies look at flood risk differently. So when looking at purchasing flood insurance you want to make sure you inform your insurance company of what type of loan you are doing.

If they tell you it doesn't matter, then you want to find an insurance company that understands loan types and flood insurance options.

 

4. Difference Between NFIP and Private Flood

When purchasing flood insurance you want to make sure whoever you are working with has access to private flood insurance and flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

There are a lot of differences between these two. Until risk rating 2.0 came out one of them was an elevation certificate might have been required. 

Some of the other differences are how flood zones are viewed. Flood zones have minimal impact on rates in many situations. Instead, a flood risk score and the actual flood risk are used with other factors to determine flood rates.

You can find your flood risk score by clicking here.

Get Your Flood Risk Score Here!

Pricing might be one of the leading differences. Over the last 10 years, private flood insurance has shown to be much less in high-risk flood areas and high-risk flood zones. One reason for the pricing difference was also building occupancy.

The National Flood Insurance Program charges a $250 surcharge if a property is not a primary residence while most private insurance companies do not.

5. Mid-Term Cancelations

Cancelations have become a major talking point with flood insurance. One reason is a few years ago FEMA stated they would allow mid-term cancelations and then changed the bulletins. 

Most property owners think flood insurance is just like homeowners insurance on this topic. While flood insurance companies are very strict on mid-term cancelations.

5 Tips to Buying Flood Insurance

There are about 28 different FEMA cancellations, but for this one, we are going to discuss the top 3 most popular reasons that will be approved for a policy to be canceled mid-term.

  • Flood map change
  • Property sold
  • Mortgage no longer requires insurance

5 Tips to Buying Flood Insurance

Flood map changes are very common across the country they are constantly happening. When a property goes from a special flood area to a minimal flood area this qualifies for a flood map change. However, this does not mean that things like heavy rains won't cause flood water to enter your property.

5 Tips to Buying Flood Insurance

The next popular reason for a flood insurance policy to be canceled is if a property is sold. Generally, when this happens a signed cancelation letter and a closing settlement are required to get the flood policy canceled. The rule of thumb with most carriers to get a refund out is 30 days.

It's important to know that refunds could be different if it is a private flood insurance policy. You want to pay attention to if fees will be refunded or just the base premium.

5 Tips to Buying Flood Insurance

The last most popular cancelation reason is if a mortgage is paid off. if this happens you simply need to submit a signed cancelation letter and a letter from the bank showing they no longer require flood insurance.

5 Tips to Buying Flood Insurance

So these are the 5 tips to buying flood insurance. If these tips had been available when I was purchasing flood insurance then I may not have had the trouble I did. However, that might mean that we would not have been committed to flood education as we have for the last 10 years.

If you want to learn more about flood resources make sure to check out our learning center here.

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If you want to review the best flood insurance options then click below.

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Remember we are here to simplify purchasing flood insurance and understanding flood risks through education.

 

pelham al home buyers beware

Hello, Chris Greene, with the Flood Insurance Guru here, where we have an educational background in emergency management with a specialization in hazard and flood mitigation. So we can help you understand your flood insurance options, how to minimize your flood risk, and possibly even how to get your flood zones changed. Today we're going to be talking about the major impact that the new flood insurance rates to the National Flood Insurance Program are going to have in areas like Pelham, Alabaster, and Helena Alabama.
Effective January 1st, 2019 the National Flood Insurance Program has put in some rate increases. Today we're going to talk about those rate increases when it comes to residential properties, investment properties, secondary properties, lake properties, second homes, commercial properties, properties that have been newly mapped to a new high-risk zone, and preferred policies.
So the first thing we're going to talk about is a primary residence. This is going to be your primary home. Let's say you have a policy now through the National Flood Insurance Program. It costs you $1,000 a year. You're looking at a 7.2% rate increase this year, effective January 1st, 2019, which is going to have an impact on you of about $72 a year, which isn't too bad. The big impact is going to be in areas like secondary residences, and commercial properties like we've mentioned. These areas are having a 24.2% rate increase. So let's say that you have a rental house that you're renting out, and it can't be considered your primary residence. If your flood premium is $2,000 a year then you are looking at almost a $500 rate increase per year, and that's just this year. So this could have a big impact on the profitability for a rental house.
Some other areas. Let's say you have a commercial business that has to have flood insurance and your flood premiums are $2,000 a year, you're looking at almost a $500 per year rate increase, for this year. The good thing is on other things like your preferred policies or zone X It's only having a 1%. So on a $1,000 premium, you're literally talking about a dollar and that's it, which is great news for these areas.
Remember, minimal risk areas or zone X generally have flooding 30% of the time. So just because you're in that low-risk zone doesn't mean you don't need flood insurance. It just means that FEMA has not determined it to be a high-risk area, and has not determined the base flood elevation. Other areas where you're going to see a rate increase are what's called newly mapped areas.
So let's say that a property is mapped to a flood zone AE, which is a hundred-year flood zone out from a flood zone X. Of course, during the first 12 months, you can take advantage of new mapping rules, which basically give you that preferred policy rate for the first 12 months. Well, you're going to see a 15% rate increase on those policies now. Now also remember that rate is only good for the first year, and that is there to help you adjust to what your flood premium's going to be. So it's very important that you look at these things.
It's also important that you understand the private flood insurance options and all your flood insurance options overall in Pelham, Alabaster, Helena, Alabama all these different areas where you're going to start seeing a lot of these flood rate changes. 

 

Remember we simplify flood insurance and understanding flood risks through education. If you want to learn more about flood education please visit our learning center by clicking below.

 

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Find all the Pelham flood insurance options

In this article, we want to talk about escrow billing nightmares from both the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Private Flood Insurance Program. We discuss what you need to know about escrow billing flood insurance. We discuss how flood insurance claims might be covered if payment has not been received.

Flood Insurance: Escrow Billing Nightmares

We want to focus on everything that you should know to ask as a mortgage lender, an insurance agent, and as a property owner.

You could also listen to our podcast below while you read.

 

Everything NFIP

The insurance company that falls under that federal side of flood insurance is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

As you know by now, even with the Risk Rating 2.0 update, you will still find about a maximum of $250,000 for building coverage and $100,000 in contents coverage for flood loss with the NFIP and FEMA. For commercial properties, the building coverage maxes out at $500,000.

Flood Insurance: Escrow Billing Nightmares

Paying with Mortgage

It's important to point out a few things you need to know when getting your federal flood policy signed especially if you're paying it out of a mortgage loan or escrow payment.

One of these things is that you won't really be getting a declarations page or the actual policy with the National Flood Insurance Program right away. As a result, the signed application can serve as your proof of coverage for up to 29 days.

What does this mean?

Simply put, your mortgage company has 29 days to make a payment for your flood policy's insurance premium before the 30-day wait period kicks in. Think of this as a form of grace period for your mortgage company to pay your flood insurance premiums.

Flood Insurance: Escrow Billing Nightmares

REMINDER: The 29 days will only be for the payment of the policy. There will still be a 30-day waiting period for the actual flood insurance policy to be available.

What if you missed this grace period for your mortgage company to pay your flood insurance?

Well, because of the NFIP's strict guidelines, coverage would not start for 30 days. You might get set back when it comes to both your building and personal property coverage if this payment wasn't made in time because once payment is received after the 30th day is when the 30-day waiting period starts.

Paying Directly as an Agent or Insured

Now, when paying as an insurance agent or maybe you want to pay it out of your own pocket as a property owner, you will only get a 10-day period to pay your policy. The same thing goes, if you miss this 10-day period, your coverage will not start for 30 days.

Flood Insurance: Escrow Billing Nightmares

What If a Claim Occurs?

Let's keep it simple, so long as you made your payment before a claim occurs, you will get the respective coverage written in your flood insurance policy.

Equally, this means that if your mortgage company missed the 29-day payment period, then you will not get any of the coverage you have with your policy until the payment is made.

It is only AFTER payment is made will you be able to get coverage for your flood insurance claims.

Flood Insurance: Escrow Billing Nightmares

Everything Private Flood

So you might be wondering, what about the private flood insurance carriers? Where do they stand on this topic?

Well, it's important to note that just like their flood insurance coverage, payment terms when it comes to escrow billing or escrow account may vary from one private insurance company to another.

This may mean that you will be able to get only 10 days to make a payment up to 15 days. This is regardless if you're paying through a mortgage, an insurance agent, or out of your pocket.

Again, this really depends on the private insurance carrier that you applied with, so it's important to really know the guidelines that your private flood carrier has when it comes to these types of concerns.

Flood Insurance: Escrow Billing Nightmares

What if a Claim Occurs?

Private flood insurance has different standards and guidelines when it comes to payment and flood policies. So you might be shocked to know that some private flood insurance companies will outright reject or deny a claim if it's made before payment is made.

Yes, that means that you won't get any of the coverage with your policy if there was no payment before the flood claim was filed. This is why we highly recommend that you pay your flood insurance premium upfront, as hard as it may be, to avoid this type of situation.

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As an insurance agent, it's important to know which carrier has these guidelines or simply know the guidelines of the carrier that your client is going for. This really helps you, as an agent, avoid E&O Claims since you get to inform your client everything about their flood insurance carrier.

Flood Insurance: Escrow Billing Nightmares

In our experience, we've had many clients file flood claims two weeks and even two days after closing. Thankfully, they get coverage for the flood loss because they were able to get the payment made before these claims.

If you want to know more about the differences between the NFIP and Private Flood Insurance, watch our video below:

So if you need assistance with these payment guidelines for your flood insurance, so you can make sure that you have coverage on your property, understand flood risks, or anything about flood insurance, click below to reach us.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

We want to simplify flood insurance, so you can get a better understanding of flood risk, flood insurance, and mitigating your property long-term through education.

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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 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.

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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