We recently recognized the award winners for best private commercial flood companies in 2022. Now it's time to look at the residential side. We are going to look at some similar factors in determining the winners.

Let's define residential private flood insurance real quick. When we discuss residential private flood insurance we are generally talking about single-family homes and individual condo units.

There was a time when the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was the only option for flood insurance. However, Private Flood Insurance has started to change this market over the last 20 years. The FDIC ruling in 2019 about private flood insurance being accepted has helped push this movement forward.

So now let's get into how this award was determined and the winners.

We reviewed more than 25 different companies. Here are the factors that we used in determining the winners:

  • Coverage limits
  • Availability to property owners
  • Properties with previous claims
  • Long-term rate stability
  • Ease of use
  • Claims experience

So let's look at the winners in no specific order. Neptune Flood, Sterling Underwriters, and The Flood Insurance Agency

Neptune Flood

Since its creation in 2016  Neptune flood has become popular extremely quickly for many reasons. One reason is the way they use technology. You could go get a quote on their platform in less than 2 minutes.

I bet you think that's great but will I get the coverages I need?

Flood Education Award Winners for Best Private Residential Flood Insurance in 2022

      Coverage Limits

Neptune system can offer to cover up to $4 million on residential buildings in many situations. Unlike the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), they can also offer replacements costs on contents coverage. Also unlike the NFIP, they offer additional living expenses.

One of the great benefits of Neptune Flood is they can over basement content coverages in many situations. This has historically been a struggle with getting a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program.

       Access

What about access to property owners? The great news is you can access Neptune flood through a traditional insurance agent or directly through the Neptune website. The availability of getting flood insurance has become a big discussion over the last couple of years and Neptune currently offers coverage across the United States.

Flood Education Award Winners for Best Private Residential Flood Insurance in 2022

       Previous Claims

There is this myth in the private flood insurance industry that private companies will not insure a property that has had previous losses. Not sure where this crazy idea came from but it simply isn't true. Generally, Neptune Flood can insure a property if it has had one claim under $25,000. 

       Claims Experience

We have been helping file flood claims with Neptune flood since 2018. In almost every situation we have seen a quicker payout and response than the NFIP.

We have continued to see this be consistent during the New York flood of 2021, multiple flood events in Alabama from 2018 to 2022, the Nashville flooding in 2021, and the North Georgia flooding in 2021.

Flood Education Award Winners for Best Private Residential Flood Insurance in 2022

So now let's move on to the next winner, Sterling Underwriters

Sterling Underwriters

Sterling Underwriters is a unique flood company to work with because of their response time. Over the last four years, they have shown one of the quickest response times on flood questions.

Flood Education Award Winners for Best Private Residential Flood Insurance in 2022

       Coverages

Like other private flood insurance companies, they also offer coverages that exceed the $250,000 that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers. They also offer additional living expenses like many of the private flood insurance companies.

       Availability

To get access to Sterling Underwriters, you do have to access them through an insurance agent. Where Sterling separates itself is with its online quoting platform. While this program does have to be accessed by an insurance agent that agent can typically have an option in less than 5 minutes.

Sterling offers coverage throughout the United States. One thing that it offers that other private flood insurance companies do not offer is coverage in CBRA.

There are very few companies that offer coverage in these protected areas. The National Flood Insurance Program does not offer coverage in these areas if a structure was built or improved after 1982. 

Flood Education Award Winners for Best Private Residential Flood Insurance in 2022

       Rate Stability

In dealing with Sterling Underwriters for the last four years we have seen extremely stable rates. Does this mean your rate will not go up? No, but it does mean their rates seem to be more stable than the industry average. It's always important to work with a company that can create what we call long-term rate stability this means they are analyzing the risk properly which creates a consistent premium for more than 12 months. 

       Claims Experience

Like many private companies, Sterling Underwriters will consider a property with a flood loss. We have seen great claims experience from Sterling Underwriters. The response time has been accurate and so has the payout. One thing we have also seen from them that we haven't seen from many private flood insurance companies is to continue to insure a property after a claim.

It has become known in the insurance industry that after a flood insurance claim you can expect a nonrenewal letter from the private flood insurance company. 

Flood Education Award Winners for Best Private Residential Flood Insurance in 2022

However, this has not been the case in many situations with Sterling Underwriters. In fact, after the recent flooding in Pelham Alabama, we expected all these policies to be non-renewed because of claims and that did not happen. 

Now let's discuss the last winner on the list and that is The Flood Insurance Agency.

The Flood Insurance Agency

The Flood Insurance Agency is based in Gainsville Florida and is associated with Lexington Insurance a member of AIG. 

Flood Education Award Winners for Best Private Residential Flood Insurance in 2022

       Coverage Limits

Like the other companies on this list, The Flood Insurance Agency offers coverages over the standard $250,000. They also offer excess coverage on top of the National Flood Insurance Program. They can also offer contents coverage that exceeds the limits the National Flood Insurance Program offers. 

Availability

The Flood Insurance Agency offers coverage throughout the United States. You can either access it through their website or through a licensed insurance agent. Like some of the other carriers, you can usually get a rate indication within 5 minutes and can normally have a policy within a copy of hours once a signed application has been submitted.

Flood Education Award Winners for Best Private Residential Flood Insurance in 2022

Previous Claims

The Flood Insurance Agency seems to have the most flexibility on claims we have seen. Does this mean they will insure a property with 5 claims?  No, it means they look at the full story of how a claim occurred and how the risk might have been reduced after the loss.

Rate Stability

One of the greatest benefits of The Flood Insurance Agency is its rate lock program. We have seen property owners long in rates over a 3 year period. This goes a long way in providing long-term rate stability. In many situations, you can lock in 1, 2, or 3 years if you would like.

Flood Education Award Winners for Best Private Residential Flood Insurance in 2022

Each one of these companies brings something unique to the residential private flood insurance market. This is why they are our award winners for the best private residential flood insurance company in 2022.

If you want to learn more about how to reduce the chances of your property flooding or understand your flood insurance options then contact us below.

Contact Us

You can also further educate yourself by visiting our flood education learning center.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

HOUSTON, TX — If you live in a rental property or looking to get one in Texas, you should know that there will be significant changes to flood insurance in the state. This generally covers apartments and those who rent a property from landlords. 

Texas Landlords are Required to Let You Know About Flood Risks

Today, we want to talk about the new law in Texas requiring landlords to basically disclose and notify renters of flood risks on their rental property before having these potential individual or family sign their lease. We also want to talk about how this can help provide more protection on flood risks and unwanted flood loss.

What's New?

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, it dumped more than 40 inches of rain over a short amount of time and flooded properties that had never been flooded before. Areas that were told they didn't need flood insurance got hit hard with flooding at that time. A lot of these areas were flooded because they sat between two reservoirs. 

Starting on January 1st, 2022, landlords are expected to notify potential people who are looking to rent their properties: from apartment to a single-family home, renters will get an idea and insight on the expected flood risks on the property you're looking to buy.

Texas Landlords are Required to Let You Know About Flood Risks

This is great news for more families in Harris County since most of these people rent properties. In a way, this is like a security deposit in a way that the renter will be aware of how much property damage they can expect once Texas gets flooded. 

Basically, if the property you're looking to rent got flooded at least once in the last five years or lives in the 100-year flood plain, your landlord has to give you a notification in writing as said by Texas Representative Armando Walle. The landlord failing to do so entitles the renter to break the lease agreement if the apartment gets flooded or substantially damaged due to floodwater. 

Why Change Now?

Now, most people would ask why is now the good time to have this law out there? Well, as we get through Hurricane Harvey, and now we've gotten through a whole year of back and forth with floods in Texas due to consistent heavy rainfall, this law is really coming in the right place at the right time.

As we fix these flooded properties or maybe some that are getting flipped when real estate investors buy them, they're going to have to disclose the flooding history of the property. This really does a great job protecting a consumer or buyer in the rental market. Now that we've addressed that side of the market, it's only fair that two years after we also provide the same amount of protection to renters.

Texas Landlords are Required to Let You Know About Flood Risks

A renter named Kenny Ryman was able to recall that during Hurricane Harvey, his apartment was flooded and he didn't have any clue about it. Despite living for 56 years in the rental property, he wasn't informed that the area flooded and caused a lot of property damage to Ryman.

Will this have an impact on the apartments and rental market in areas like Houston in Texas? Absolutely since these rental properties may not sell as much as they did before because you're having to notify whether or not these properties were flooded or not recently. 

So we just wanted to do a quick rundown on this Texas law change as this will definitely change the course of the rental market in Texas as well as directly impact the flood insurance premiums for these houses.

If you have more questions on this Texas law change, federal flood insurance, the insurance industry in general, how the National Flood Insurance Program works, or anything about floods. Reach out to us by clicking the link below.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

You can also visit our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer your most common flood insurance questions.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation and we want to help you protect the value of your property long-term.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Blog | Flood Threat On Texas

Before the month of May came, San Antonio and other parts of Texas experienced heavy rainfall over the weekend. This caused properties to experience flooding with the state being in a flash flood warning throughout the time. Flash flooding remains a threat after up to six inches of rain poured over the state over the weekend. A lot of roadways were severely impacted by this flooding across Nacogdoches and San Augustine stranding cars and drivers due to the flooded roadways causing damages across the state of Texas. Houston was also threatened with river flooding and is expected to go like this across the month of May. This can also mean that Houston may be at a higher risk when it comes to coastal flooding.

So, today, we want to cover what this can mean for flood insurance for Texans, how it could impact the flood policies moving forward, and your flood insurance options as well.

Impacts on Flood Insurance

As we're less than sixty days from hurricane season, flooding is expected to be more common across the United States, and in cases as the one Texas had, this can cause a lot of changes for flood insurance moving forward.

First, we want to share a tip that if your property's not severely impacted by the flood and only small amounts are impacted, don't file that flood claim immediately as this can cause your flood insurance rate to go up when it comes to renewal.  Instead, you want to make sure that the flood claim won't be misused by collecting and gathering all the relevant information on the damages you had due to this flooding. This way, you can get more out of the flood claim and avoid having the property marked under severe repetitive loss.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Blog | Flood Threat On Texas

Severe repetitive loss means that the property has had a flood claim, disaster assistance, or federal assistance grant more than once in the last ten years. This can cause flood insurance premiums to really go up for these properties through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). When it comes to the private flood insurance market, this can mean that these insurance companies will avoid writing a flood policy for these properties due to the higher flood risks it has considering its flood history.

Also, since there will be people who will file flood claims from the state in this period of time, we can also expect that there will be higher flood insurance premiums across the area as it's possible that the next flood map will move these properties into a higher risk flood zone. This means that a lot of property owners in Houston, Sweeny, San Antonio, and places like that will be required to carry flood insurance for their property. Those closer to rivers, the coasts, or any body of water may be moved into flood zone AE which generally will be required to carry an elevation certificate. An elevation certificate will have a separate cost from the standard flood insurance policy payments, so this can really hurt a lot of wallets in the future.

You may be asking right about now how you can fight these negative changes in flood insurance and what your flood insurance options are.

Flood Insurance Options

The NFIP

The most common flood insurance option that policyholders would usually go for is the federal flood insurance from FEMA. Now, we've mentioned multiple times that they have a max coverage for buildings and contents or personal items. This coverage is maxed at $250,000 for residential properties and up to $500,000 if it's written for a commercial building. Regardless of the type of building, this will have a max of $100,000 when it comes to coverages on personal property.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Blog | Flood Threat On Texas

What we want to focus on here is for those who are asking, what if I have an active policy with the NFIP and FEMA, what can I do to fight these changes? Well, there are several things you can do which involve relevant flood insurance documents that can help you reduce the flood insurance premium for your property.

The first thing is to use the elevation certificate if you believe that your property shouldn't be in a high-risk flood zone. If your property is about four feet above the base flood elevation level in your area then you can get a letter of map change (LOMC) which can remove you from the high-risk flood zone and get you back to low-risk flood zones with low flood insurance rates. It's important to note that this isn't a certain remedy for your situation as FEMA and the NFIP will have to assess the details that you provided.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Blog | Flood Threat On Texas

Another thing you can use to your advantage is to check with your local floodplain manager to see if your community is participating in the NFIP. Participating communities may get up to forty percent discount on flood insurance premiums depending on the Community Rating Score (CRS). The CRS is rated depending on how much flood mitigation efforts are being put out by your community and the more efficient mitigation efforts you do, the higher the discount could be.

Lastly, if you're looking to get flood insurance through FEMA and the NFIP, it's best that you do it ahead of time since there may be a waiting period of 30-days before the policy takes effect on your property. Now, if the NFIP flood policy doesn't really fit your needs and isn't the best flood insurance option, you can always move into the private flood market after canceling your NFIP policy.

The Private Flood

Private flood insurance is managed and provided by private insurance companies like Lloyds of London. This means that the red tapes that you have to go through with federal flood insurance won't be there. This can also have a faster effectivity date for those buying flood insurance since the maximum waiting period is fifteen days

When it comes to the private flood, coverage on buildings or properties and contents can be very different from the NFIP since they don't really have any coverage limits. This means that the amount they will cover won't be maxed out as long as the insured needs it. Property damage coverage can go up to $10,000,000 and personal items coverage can go up to $1,000,000. There are also additional coverages on private flood policies like additional living expenses, replacement costs, and loss of use

The Flood Insurance Guru | Blog | Flood Threat On Texas

Flood insurance premiums are expected to be significantly lower in the private market compared to the NFIP which can really help you when it comes to immediate flood preparedness actions.

As the risk of flooding become higher as we approach the hurricane season, we can expect dangerous flash flooding, flood waters becoming higher, threat of storm surge, torrential rains, and intensity of rain to be more frequent. This is why we always advise you to look out for tornado and flood warnings during this season and establish better flood risk communication with your local floodplain management team.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Blog | Flood Threat On Texas

At the end of the day, these types of floods can't be predicted nor controlled accurately, so you want to make sure that you're protected at all times.

If you have any questions about flood insurance or anything about flood, reach out to us. Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation and we want to help you protect the value of your property long term through flood education and awareness. You too can be flood-ready so you won't be caught off guard when crap happens. Click the links below to get started.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294  Get Your Quote from Flood Insurance Guru    The Flood Insurance Guru | Chris Greene | YouTube

 

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Have you ever been in a deli line and seen the options for cheese. Why would someone pick the cheese that has holes in it?

Well this is what I was thinking when I was standing in the Madison Georgia Walmart a few weeks ago.

You are getting less cheese for the same amount of money and sometimes more money.

The same can be said for flood insurance policies in Madison Georgia and other areas.

Everyday we see flood insurance policies that look like a piece of swiss cheese. This policies have all kinds of holes in them.

Some have more exclusions than they have inclusions.

Some mirror the National Flood Insurance Program and some don't.

So what can you do to make sure your flood insurance policy in Madison Georgia  does not look like a piece of swiss cheese?

The first thing you want to do is work with an insurance agent that has experience with private flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program.

Ask the following questions

  1. Have you ever handled flood insurance claims?
  2. Do you recommend replacement cost or actual cash value.
  3. What is covered below grade?
  4. Have you ever had someone use additional living expenses?

These are some of the major areas where we see people having gaps in coverage when it comes to flood insurance.

Understanding how loss settlement on claims is handled will help you understand what might actually come out of your pocket.

 

Replacement cost and actual cash value is another area where we see major gaps in coverage.

 

Imagine your home has 4 feet of water in and the house ends up being a total loss.

The cost to rebuild your home is $200,000 but the claim check you get is $125,000. That is the kind of scenario an actual cash value policy could cause you to be in.

Something else that most people don't think to ask about is coverage below grade. In many situations there is no coverage for contents if they are below grade. In fact its a major question on most private flood insurance applications.

 

The last thing we want to look at is additional living expenses. This is something that is not offered on flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program.

 

As a result many times people do not ask about it when looking at a private flood insurance option.

I remember us setting up a customer with a private flood insurance policy in Nebraska.

This was the first time the customer had heard about additional living expenses being available. It's a good thing we included it because she was the only one on her street that had that coverage when a flood occurred along the Missouri river 6 months later.

So if you have further questions about making sure you don't have Swiss cheese gaps in your flood insurance policy then click here.

Want to learn more about flood insurance?

Then make sure to check out our YouTube channel and podcast below.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. That means we can help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property long term.

 

 

If I had a dime for every time I was asked the question how much flood insurance cost in San Antonio Texas I might just own a private island.

It's a valid question of course you want to know how much flood insurance is going to cost on your San Antonio Texas property.

The problem is that there is no simple answer. There are many things that can impact the cost of flood insurance in San Antonio Texas. Two things we want to look at are

  1. Location
  2. Elevation

Location is a driving factor of flood insurance cost in San Antonio. Whether you are located in a special flood hazard area or not can be a big price difference.

If you are lucky enough to be in the minimal risk zone also called flood zone x then you may have access to preferred rates.

So what is a flood zone x in San Antonio Texas?

 

As mentioned above this is an area that FEMA has determined to be in a minimal risk area. This means that the chance of flooding should be lower than the special flood hazard area. However the recent study by the first street foundation shows us that the risk for flooding is still there. San Antonio is in their top 20 list of cities with the greatest number of properties at substantial risk for flooding.

If you live in Texas then you know minimal risk doesn't mean no risk. Just look at hill country areas like Wimberly Texas and the flooding they have been through the last 5 years.

 

So what about the second factor elevation?

Elevation can play a major role in flood insurance cost in San Antonio. Something we want to pay attention to is base flood elevation.

So what is base flood elevation in San Antonio Texas?

 

According to FEMA base flood elevation is the elevation of surface water resulting from a flood that has a 1% chance of equaling or exceeding the level in any given year.

So the further you are below the base flood elevation the higher your rates through the National Flood Insurance Program could be. The further above the base flood elevation the lower your cost could be.

Are all flood insurance rates based on this? These are some of the factors that the National Flood Insurance Program uses for their rates.

Private flood insurance carriers may use these factors combined with other factors. In fact some private carriers even look at 20 year flood plains.

What are 20 year flood plains?

 

In many situations private flood insurance could be half the cost of the National Flood Insurance Program in San Antonio Texas.

Its also important to know that your loan type could determine if you qualify for private flood insurance.

 

Many government backed loans require property owners to purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Past claims could also determine if you qualify.

If you want to see if you qualify for private flood insurance then click here.

So as we mentioned at the beginning determining flood insurance cost in San Antonio Texas can be a complex answer.

The good news is we have an educational background in flood mitigation so we are here to help you understand the answer, understand your flood risks, and flood insurance.

If you want to learn more about flood insurance, flood education, and flood zone changes you can check out our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos. You can also checkout our podcast.

 

Contact Us

 

 

Over the past month I have done a lot of traveling shooting flood education content. On those travels I have been in places that have been hit hard by flooding over the last few years. I traveled to Houston, Galveston, and Wimberly Texas. These areas have all see major flood damage over the last few years.

These areas also house many secondary and vacation homes for property owners. Some of these properties have seen minor flooding and some have seen major flooding. Many of these areas have seen loss of life as a result of flooding.

Blanco River flooding Wimberly Texas

As Tropical storm Beta approaches these areas and is expected to drop large amounts of rainfall and storm surge we want to look at what you can expect when it comes to your Texas flood insurance policy.

Through out these two areas in Texas people have two different types of flood insurance. They have the National Flood Insurance Program and they have private flood insurance. These two programs can be pretty different when it comes to coverages. Most people jump to the private flood insurance market when they can because it's cheaper and you can get better coverage. I think many people through our Port Aransas, Houston, and Galveston will tell you to read your policy.

galveston Texas coast

We mentioned earlier many of these properties are secondary or seasonal properties. What you may not know is many private flood insurance companies default to an actual cash value basis on these policies.

So what exactly does that mean for your Texas property?

Well it means you won't generally get the full amount on your policy. If you have a $250,000 flood policy you may only get $125,000. That could be a big surprise couldn't it. Thats exactly what happened to a lady in Houston after hurricane Harvey hit. She had a $150,000 flood policy that only paid out $15,000.

So you ask why?

Well she did not insure to 80% of replacement cost or the $250,000 max that the National Flood Insurance Program offers so her policy defaulted to actual cash value.

Thats a big shocker. So when you are setting up this flood insurance policy or if you ever change your flood insurance policy in Texas you want to have your insurance agent highlight these areas of the policy. When switching private flood insurance carriers make sure you are truly getting replacement cost on your policy up to the amount you have listed on the policy.

Maybe you don't have an agent that has done this or you don't have an agent at all?

Then click here and we will be glad to do a review with you.

While there are multiple options for flood insurance in Texas you want to make sure you are getting the policy that is right for you.

So if you live in Texas and want to learn more about your flood insurance options then make sure to check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel. You can also checkout our podcast for this video here.

 

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. This means we can help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property to help you minimize flood losses and flood premiums.

 

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