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Sorry you need an elevation certificate for us to give you a flood insurance quote in Alabama.

Have you ever heard this when shopping for flood insurance in Alabama?

I know I have heard this almost everyday.

So is it true?

Well it could be and couldn't be.

We are going to look at some scenarios to give you an understanding of when it maybe required and when it may not.

Lets look at two things

  1. National Flood Insurance Program
  2. Private flood insurance

So does the National Flood Insurance Program require an elevation certificate in Alabama?

This could depend on a few things. First thing is the flood zone. If you are in the special flood hazard area also known as the 100 year flood zone then it could be required. We are talking about the following zones.

Flood zone A

Flood zone AE

 

Flood Zone V

 

So if you are in these zones and your property was built after the first flood map then generally an elevation certificate will be required.

What if it was built before the first flood map?

Well if the property has been substantially damaged or improved then an elevation certificate could be required.

Now let's answer the question you came to this blog for.

Does Alabama private flood insurance require elevation certificates?

This is a moving target question. Some private flood insurance carriers will require an elevation certificate if it is a post firm structure and in the special flood hazard area.

Some will the more negative your elevation is below the base flood elevation. Many times carriers use this as part of their flood score. So they may decline the risk but if you have an elevation certificate they may approve the risk.

Click here to order an elevation certificate

Thankfully the majority of the time private flood insurance carriers in Alabama will not require an elevation certificate.

Maybe you have been told all flood insurance is the same?

Then it maybe time to do a flood insurance review.

So if you have further questions about elevation certificates then click here.

You can also learn more about flood insurance by visiting our YouTube channel or tuning into our podcast.

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

 

Contact Us

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

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

Flood insurance in Alabama can be confusing. Many insurance agents in areas like Birmingham and Montgomery want nothing to do with it and others think people may not be in a flood zone.

Birmingham, Alabama Flood Insurance

After the 2019 Alabama flooding I can't tell you how many times I spoke to someone who said their insurance agent told them they were not in a flood zone.

Yikes!

Try explaining that to someone after they lost everything to a flood. Thats exactly what happened with people in Houston Texas and residents of Nathans Estates in Muscle Schoals Alabama.

So today we are going to look at 5 things that could cause flood insurance e and o claims to happen in Alabama.

  1. Building coverage
  2. Contents coverage
  3. Proper documentation
  4. Mistakes on application
  5. Cobra zones

 

Building Coverage

One of the leading causes of e and o claims on flood insurance can be building coverage. Many agents either don't offer building coverage or don't offer replacement cost on the building in Alabama.

It's important to understand these because a policy could default to actual cash value if the 80% rule is not followed.

 

The National Flood Insurance Program generally requires either the max coverage available or 80% of the replacement cost. So for example if the replacement cost of a building is $400,000 they would require $250,000 to be on the policy.

This is also the opportunity to have excess coverage which could cover the proper replacement cost.

 

Contents Coverage

The next area is contents coverage. We see many policies that do not have contents coverage. This ultimately is up to the customer but many times we see where it was never offered. 

Imagine losing all your personal belongings and not knowing you could have had coverage for it.

You would probably be pretty upset.

Recovering from not having contents coverage can be just as hard as recovering from not having building coverage.

Proper Documentation

Proper documentation on Alabama flood insurance policies is another area where we see alot of error and omission claims occur.

In many situations if the National Flood Insurance Program or FEMA does not receive the documentation they need they will drop coverage down.

I remember speaking with an insurance agent a few months ago. They had called us on this exact issue. The carrier had submitted some documentation to them but they did not see it in their insurance agency management system.

The customers coverage was lowered from $250,000 to $25,000. A claim occurred and to the agent and insureds surprise there was not enough coverage to cover the damages.

Some of the documentation that maybe needed is a signed application by the insured and the agent. Proof of payment, possibly an elevation certificate with color photos.

A big area we see mistakes everyday on is the application. So many times we will see agents mark a home has a basement not truly understanding how FEMA defines a basement.

 

If a property does not have all four sides below ground then FEMA may not consider it a basement. Things like this could cause problems during the claim process.

COBRA Zones

Lastly is writing coverage when it's not available. One big area this happens is Cobra zones and other protected areas.

 

Just a couple of months ago we where advising an agent in Savannah Georgia and Statesboro Georgia about these guidelines. They said well it let me write it. A couple of months later FEMA cancelled the policy for underwriting. We were able to help the client find coverage through the private flood insurance market but it was a difference of about $5000.

As you can see there are alot of things to pay attention to when setting up a flood insurance policy for a client. You want to make sure you have a good process of making sure all things are done.

Maybe you just don't want to offer flood insurance in Alabama and that is fine. We work with insurance agents across the country everyday because of our educational background in flood mitigation. Click here to learn more

If you want to learn more about flood insurance make sure to visit or YouTube channel where do daily flood education videos or our podcast.

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

 

Contact Us

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

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

Technology has come along way over the last 10 to 15 years. Insurance has also started to transfer to more of a digital experience. 

You can tell by just seeing insurance commercials on tv today. 

It seems like auto and home insurance has become more of a commodity over the last 5 years.

Many people just want what coverage is required and to move on. They want it done as a quick as possible. Maybe save 15% in 15 minutes but what if 15 minutes could cost you 85% of what you own.

So is flood insurance the next drive thru purchase?

 

As I am sure everyone has had a drive thru experience. I feel like I have a bad one almost everyday when i go to get my afternoon diet coke from the arch.

 

 

Each time I visit I pay close attention to the drive thru experience. They now have multiple lines that merge to one line. They seem to be attempting to push through more traffic but are making more mistakes than ever.

Imagine if you bought flood insurance this way. Can you imagine having to get your policy changed 3 times or more?

Can you imagine purchasing a policy that has no contents coverage?

Can you imagine purchasing a policy that would only cover half the building?

Crazy right?

Well this is what we see happen everyday when someone purchases flood insurance online.

Treating your biggest asset to a drive thru experience may not be such a great idea.

After your home or business has flooded is not the time to find out you don't have the right coverage.

This is exactly what happened to a customer that came to us when they dealt with an online bank.

So if you are going to buy online or want that quick process at least make sure a few things are done.

  1. Signed application submitted
  2. Proof of payment submitted
  3. Confirm bank has a copy

So if you have questions about the flood insurance buying process then click here.

Remember you can also check out our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

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

Contact Us

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

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

Should you buy flood insurance online?

It's a question we get often. Covid 19 has changed a lot of this where everyone is shifting online.

 

 

However as the purchasing of insurance online has increased over the years it seems insurance coverage advising has taken a major hit.

One of the great benefits of walking into an insurance office was that you could have a professional agent advise you on the right coverages.

Lately it feels like insurance has become the next drive thru purchase for consumers.

People are concerned with how fast they can get it 

Can we advise customers online without a physical interaction?

Yes video is one form that is helping to change the purchase of insurance online. Using video through the purchase price does a couple of things.

  1. Personal connection
  2. Coverage recommendation

The development of video has done wonders for us. Whether someone is 2 miles away or 2000 miles away it has helped us develop a deeper relationship with prospects and customers.

Video has also allowed us to show prospects examples of when they may use or need a certain flood insurance coverage.

Can you imagine going online to purchase something with no advisement?

If you didn't know exactly what you were looking for you might pick the wrong thing.

We talk to flood insurance policy holders everyday who have done this. In fact many times they don't know if they have a National Flood Insurance Program policy or a private flood insurance policy.

Want to know the difference click here.

Buying flood insurance online doesn't have to be a bad thing. It just needs to be an advisement experience.

What do mean by that?

We mean that someone needs to help navigate you through the process of coverage selection and policy selection.

Let's look at coverage selection first. When someone comes to us after purchasing flood insurance online the first thing we look at is replacement cost of property.

 

The majority of the time they are underinsured for about 30-40%

Getting only 60-70% of your home rebuilt would do you much good. It would probably look like the picture below.

Now let's look at policy selection. When consumers are faced with the choice to choose between private flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program price is usually the driving factor.

However many times they are not shown the long term stability of those rates over a 5 year period. While the National Flood Insurance Program might have a higher rate they may have had more stable rates over a 5 year period.

As you see buying flood insurance online can be scary but it doesn't have to be. If you want to actually speak with someone or even get a video proposal on your flood insurance then click here.

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

If you want to learn more about flood insurance you can also check out our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

Contact Us

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

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