Better watch out and bring out your umbrella with you if you're in Alabama. This may get rough soon!

Alabama is expected to receive rain starting Thursday, February 3rd, and until Friday, February 4th. This is pretty normal if you'd think about it however there are some flooding concerns that may be seen during this time.

Alabama Faces a Potential Flood Event in 2022

In today's blog, we want to talk about this weather event in Alabama and the flood concerns arising from it.

Heavy Rain Brings Higher Waters

Alabama is up in arms as weather forecasts expect heavy rainfall to drop on the state. This heavy rainfall is expected to be averaging 2 to 4 inches of rain and will persist from Thursday to Friday as reported by the National Weather Service (NWS). Flood watches are being sent out already since we are already expecting 3 to 6 inches of heavy rain getting dumped on Alabama just for the night of February 3rd. This means that flash flooding has an up to 10% chance of happening across the state.

This event is also expected to have some major storms as seen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which places the south and south-central parts of the state at a marginal risk for severe weather this Thursday.

Alabama Faces a Potential Flood Event in 2022Photo courtesy of NOAA

This puts cities Mobile, Montgomery, Greenville, and Tuscaloosa at a high chance of facing an isolated major storm in the next two days. These types of storms usually create the biggest concerns are damaging wind gusts, which could take down trees and knock out power, and tornadoes.

After Friday (February 4th), the rain will begin to move out however it doesn't really mean that everything ends there since there are chances of additional rain happening during the weekends because the cold air will be rushing behind.

Flood Concerns

One of the biggest concerns that we should be aware of is that this type of weather event will surely create big flood threats and increase the overall flood risk for the whole state in the next two days.

This ranges from what we call a pluvial flood, where collected water has nowhere else to go so it starts to pile up and inundate the area. This isn't really impossible considering that we still haven't moved out of the winter season. During this time, we expect the ground to be oversaturated which generally means that it won't be able to take in as much water as it should.

Another reason why flooding may occur from a life-threatening storm surge as water levels rise due to the precipitation. This is most likely to happen in coastal Alabama like Mobile City. Generally, this means that we might see a cocktail of floods as all three types may occur during this weather event: pluvial, fluvial, and coastal flooding.

Alabama Faces a Potential Flood Event in 2022

Fluvial flooding is only different from pluvial because the source of the floods comes from a water source like a river, lake, pond, creek, and such. Generally, this type of flood has a very strong flow to it and most of the time can easily damage properties along its path.

Other than these flood concerns, when that rain starts to happen, it's most likely that roads and bridges are going to be slippier than ever. This is why we always remind people to not drive into standing water or flood, or even during a rain event like this if it's not really necessary. We don't want to be dark and grim, but most of the casualties and injuries that happen in times like this are located and involve roads.

Why Flood Insurance is Important

When it comes to floods, most people would say that they wouldn't want to leave their properties unattended because something might happen to them. This same thinking causes a lot of trouble for these property owners when water starts to inundate the property.

Flood insurance can really help you cover for this flood damage and flood loss that may occur during a time like this. More importantly, you get peace of mind that you will still have a home to go back to even after a flood.

You have two options when it comes to flood insurance in Alabama: the federal-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and its new Risk Rating 2.0, and Private Flood Insurance. Let's talk about these two.

NFIP

The federal flood insurance is gearing towards a fingerprint of flood risk for properties that get a policy from them since rates will be based on the individual flood risk. Although this makes it more affordable for flood insurance coming from FEMA, this may still bring an increase to rates for some property owners.

This type of change makes them a big contender to take the spot when you ask people where best to get flood insurance however it's integral to point out that other than how you're going to be rated, some things never change with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance.

When it comes to coverage, we're still talking about the same $250,000 maximum on dwelling or building coverage and $100,000 maximum when it comes to contents

Other than these, these are all that the federal government can offer when it comes to flood insurance even with the Risk Rating 2.0 update. Here's a quick breakdown of the NFIP 2.0 card compared to the current version we have at the time of writing:

Alabama Faces a Potential Flood Event in 2022

Private Flood

Private flood insurance has made a big push in the last 15 years. There have been a lot of changes in the last 5 years that allow private flood insurance to be a great flood insurance option for many property owners. Let's look at exactly what private flood insurance is.

For many years the only option for many property owners was the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). There were many limitations with this program like wait periods, coverage amounts, and cost of the policy.

It's important to understand not all private flood insurance options are the same. There are admitted and non-admitted carriers in the private market. Each one of these types of policies has different requirements they follow.

The private flood insurance market still offers flood coverage that doesn't really have any maximum amount. You can definitely still get more than $250,000. Even when it comes to personal items or contents coverage, you can definitely go more than $100,000 for flood damage. That coverage also comes with the loss of useadditional living expenses, and/or replacement costs.

We've also seen a lot of homeowners coming to us for flood insurance and were able to get it in just a few days. The maximum waiting period for a flood policy from a private insurance company is only 14 days.

Alabama Faces a Potential Flood Event in 2022

What This Means for the Future

Considering that both Risk Rating 2.0 and private flood insurance companies base flood insurance rates on flood risks, this type of weather event can really add up to the things that increase your risk of flooding. This can also be a hard-hitter when it comes to flood mitigation since more risks require more efforts to lessen the flood damage on your property.

If Alabama were to get dumped by heavy rainfall more frequently, this could mean that flood insurance rates will also skyrocket in most areas especially when such rain event causes huge flooding in the area.

We're starting the Month of Arts and Hearts with such a concerning scenario, so we hope that you stay safe during this time. If you really don't need to head out, please stay at home and follow your local government's guidelines on what to do when flooding starts to happen. The thing is flooding can happen anytime.

So if you've got questions on flood insurance in Alabama, what this rain event could mean for your flood risk score, or anything related to flood insurance, click below to access our Flood Learning Center.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

If you want to speak to us about your flood concerns, click below to contact us:

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

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

Maybe it's not nature that causes our issues with natural disasters. Sometimes we have a hand on it too.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

For the last 15-20 years Alabama has been known as tornado alley. It's known for one of the deadliest tornado days in history during the April 2011 tornado outbreak. This super outbreak lasted for 3 days, 7 hours, and 18 minutes with the highest winds that went to more than 200 mph on Hackleburg and Phil Campbell, Alabama. The damages of this outbreak surpassed the $10 billion mark and unfortunately took more than 300 lives and 3000 injuries.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

As you can imagine tornado awareness and preparation have been very crucial and is the flavor of the hurricane season so much that flood threats were sidelined, if not fully benched at the back of people's minds.

However, a question we have been getting a lot lately; what should we all be asking too, is flooding in Alabama increasing? If so, then why is it happening?

In this article, we're going to take a look at some recent flood events throughout the state and see why these events might have occurred. We are also going to look at some things that might be contributing to flooding in Alabama.

Alabama and Flood

In order to understand to answer these questions, we want to look at the recent data we got on flooding across the state from the last 3 years as these historic floods can really show the changes happening to flood in Alabama.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

2018

May 2018, the United States was ravaged by Tropical Storm Alberto even before the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. This disaster event caused both Alabama and Florida to be in constant flash flood warnings due to how strong Alberto was. Now, this was one of the biggest storms that the country faced, but for this article, we want to focus on its impacts on Alabama.

Alabama faced more than 3.5 inches of rainfall and in Cloverdale, this even went up to more than 8 inches. Ever since the storm started to cause heavy rainfall to the country, Alabama faced a lot of issues when it comes to floods. This caused a lot of flooding and winds that we've seen strong enough to have localized tree damages within the state. 

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

September 2018, Alabama faced another headache through Tropical Storm Gordon. Eight counties were in a state of emergency during this period. Brighton faced about 4 inches of rainfall and the state also saw a number of floodings during the storm event. Dauphin Island faced a storm surge of 3 to 5 feet causing minor flooding. Further inland, we've seen rainfalls going up to 8 inches which caused a lot of streets to seem like rivers, dirt roads being washed away, and flooding in several rivers.

October 2018, Hurricane Michael caused catastrophic $25 billion in damages across the country, but to Dothan, the strong winds and heavy rainfall were just the beginning. Farmers faced a lot of trouble on their livelihood as their expected great batch of cotton crops was turned to nothing. Orange Beach was also flooded due to the Hurricane.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

2019

In July 2019, Hurricane Barry dumped more than 8 inches of rainfall in Fairhope city. Mobile County also saw most of its roadways underwater due to coastal flooding and torrential rainfall overwhelmed the sewer systems that it spilled over 80,000 gallons of floodwater into the streets.

In December 2019, Tennessee and Alabama faced huge flash flooding after a record rainfall where the former saw 2.5 inches of rainfall. This, unfortunately, took two lives, one for each state. Lauderdale saw its roads also submerged with this flood.

2020

February 2020, strong to severe storms was expected to go through the state. This caused power loss for about 5,000 people at the time, damage to Highway 43 and County Road 54, and sadly taking one life.

This storm also saw water coming over banks that evacuation efforts needed to be done in Crescent of Lakeshore Apartments in Homewood. The same apartment saw cars with only the top of it above water. The overflow in Shades Creek also saw Lakeshore Trail look like a river during the storm.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

September 2020, Hurricane Sally dumped 30 inches of rain in Orange Beach, Alabama. This caused storm surge flooding to occur in Dauphin Island. We also saw flood damage in Spanish Fort where one gas station was completely destroyed after being inundated with water. This was also enough to have some sewer systems overflow contaminating Dog River and Rabbit Creek. Overall damages from this disaster were well over $300 million and took two lives in its wake with one missing.

For years Mobile and Baldwin counties have been known as the main flood areas. These are Alabama coastal areas that can receive flooding from tropical systems.

Simply put, these counties are ones that experience much stronger storms due to coastal storms they experience and deeper floods since one of the known coastal flood risks are facing that water level rise significantly due to heavy rains.

Are Floods Increasing?

Now, we've seen how progressively worse flooding has been changing throughout recent years. This is also the same when it comes to the cost of flooding when it comes to damages to properties. This immediately answers the question, but the more important is the follow-up: Why?

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

It's important to acknowledge that storms, weather patterns, extreme heat, and extreme rain events are results of climate change and we've already covered this in our previous blog. Today, we want to focus on a more unnoticed contributor to flooding across Alabama: development efforts.

The United States has been consistently becoming more urbanized, this means that most of the areas where there is natural vegetation, trees, and flora are being removed, graded, and then these efforts will simply build a drainage system that generally streams into natural bodies of water like lakes or in this case with Alabama, creeks, rivers, and coasts.

Generally, an untouched area where the flora or plants aren't interfered with can collect 90% of the rainfall as a resulting impact of storm systems. However, due to these types of developments, it can go down to only absorbing 10% of it.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

In 2003, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) researched on this and found that heavily urbanized areas, including ones that are still being developed, saw a 100% increase in large floods and a 200% increase in smaller floods. The depth of flooding is also impacted as we are experiencing more overflows due to channels like drainage or sewer systems being overwhelmed by floodwater. This type of issue puts low-risk properties at risk of facing floods that they've never experienced before.

The research also found that floods in areas where developments cause sediments to somewhat clog water channels and as we've discussed before with Flood Zone AO and causes of flooding in low-risk flood zones, the water is being redirected to another area and mostly ones that are heavily populated.

The chance of flood is also directly impacted by these developments if we're not putting the right channels for water to naturally flow. Once this type of water, which should be scattering and being sipped by the soil, starts to rapidly flow into communities. What was before shallow flood events can easily become biblical flood events for those who are impacted.

This research shows future projections of what we can expect in the near future if we're not careful. This is why it's always important to understand flood maps and check with flood risk modelers to understand how a development project can cause problems for the natural flow of floodwaters.

If you have questions on flooding in Alabama, how to utilize your flood insurance policy to protect yourself, what are your flood insurance options, or anything about flood, reach out to us. Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation and we want to help you understand flood risks through education and awareness in flood insurance and preparedness.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Chris Greene | YouTubeGet Your Quote from Flood Insurance GuruThe Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

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.

 

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Its 2020 and everyone is using google for everything. Google knows more about us than we know about ourselves.

 

I remember sitting in a college e-commerce class when google first came out. NO one took it seriously, I know I didn't or I would have bought stock in it.

So what does google have to do with flood insurance?

As we mentioned google probably has more data than any other service out there.

Private flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program use different resources for determining flood insurance rates.

One of the benefits of private flood insurance is the advancement in technology they use in determining flood insurance rates.

While the National Flood Insurance Program or FEMA looks at a parcel many times they can not tell if a structure is elevated or not. So you may have a structure that sits 50 feet high but FEMA still thinks it is in the special flood hazard area. This is one reason why elevation certificates are required so many times.

So what is the private flood insurance approach to this? Private flood insurance uses many tools when mapping a risk. One thing they look at to determine the rating for a risk is location. Generally google earth is used to help determine this rate.

Google earth can be a great tool when locating a property. However if you have multiple structures on a property it may try to show the wrong structure. Let's look at an example of where this might happen. Imagine you have a lake house on Smith Lake in the Cullman or Jasper Alabama or maybe Lay Lake in Shelby, or Lake Logan Martin in the Pell City area. If you live on the lake you probably have a boat house as most lake home owners do.

Color image of earth planet in space

This could cause a major impact on your flood insurance if you are not careful. As the photo below shows this boat house is much closer to the water than the main house.

Screen Shot 2020-05-15 at 1.40.32 PM

So as you can imagine you will probably pay more for private flood insurance based on location.

So what exactly can you do to make sure this is accurate?

When getting a private flood insurance quote from The Flood Insurance Guru or any insurance agent ask for a picture of the map for accuracy. What you want to look at is where the red pin drop is at. It needs to be located on the structure that you will be insuring.

 

We recently saw where it was a difference of almost $1200 a year for the property owner.

As you can see you could be overcharged for flood insurance without even realizing it. Imagine if this error occurred for multiple years that could be a lot of money out of your pocket.

So can you get some of this premium back?

Maybe or maybe not

It depends on the private flood insurance company that you are dealing with, generally it can be difficult to get flood insurance refunds on prior policies.

So maybe you think you are being over charged or want to verify that your flood insurance is accurate then make sure to click here for us to verify it for you.

You can also visit our website or YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

 

 

 

Most people don't think residence type plays a big impact on Pell City flood insurance rates. However whether you are using a property as a primary, secondary, seasonal, or investment property can play a major role on your Pell City flood insurance.

We just spoke with an insurance agent this week where their client had gotten a flood quote from another company that was significantly less. Actually about $2500 less

road flooding

But why?

Aren't all flood insurance rates the same?

Yes they are but rates are only as accurate as the information that is put in there by the agent.

There are a couple ways that occupancy type plays a role on flood insurance rates in Pell City Alabama.

  1. Surcharge
  2. Rating factors

Let's look at surcharges first. When it comes to the National Flood Insurance Program and flood insurance in Pell City there is a surcharge called HFIAA also known as the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. This act put into place April 1, 2015 adds a surcharge to each National Flood Insurance policy. On a primary residence this surcharge is $25 and on a non primary its a $250 surcharge.

However where the big difference can come into play is the rating tables. Lets look at two homes in Pell City both built before the first flood map also referred to as Pre-Firm properties.

Lets say both have no basements but one is a primary residence and one is not. For the primary residence you would using rating 2a that has a rating factor of 1.18 for every $100 in coverage which would give you a rate of $1180 for a $100,000. Compared to that non primary residence that has a factor of 3.85. That would give you a rate of $3850 for the non primary residence. Its important that things on the elevation certificate can give certain rating credits that can bring this rate down, but this should give you a good idea of the rates.

So as you can see having the wrong occupancy type can have a major impact on your flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

 

Don't get too down if your residence is not your primary residence as many lake homes in Pell City are not.

 

There is a private market for flood insurance in Pell City that does not use these same factors in determining rates for properties. In fact we recently helped some residents in Pell City save more than 40% by switching from the National Flood Insurance Program to a private flood insurance policy.

Its important to understand the strict guidelines FEMA has in making this switch. If you want to learn more about how to make this switch or exactly what the guidelines are then click the link below.

Understand switching flood insurance

 

You can also visit our YouTube channel or Facebook Flood Insurance Guru where we do daily flood education videos. Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation so we can help you understand your flood insurance, flood risk, and mitigating your property against future flooding.

 

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