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

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

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

Not an April Fool's Joke

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

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

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

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

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

Floods and Fires

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

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

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

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

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

What It Means for Flood Insurance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Better Than No Flood Insurance

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

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

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

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

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

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You can also use this link below to call us:

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Be safe out there, Alabama.

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

What Snowmelts Mean for Flooding in Ohio

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

Spring Floods in 2022

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

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

What Snowmelts Mean for Flooding in Ohio

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

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

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

Lookout! Spring Floods in 2022

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

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

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

What Snowmelts Mean for Flooding in Ohio

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

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

What Snowmelts Mean for Flooding in Ohio

 

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

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

How Flood Insurance Helps

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

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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.

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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.

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

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

Facts can be Stranger than Fiction.

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

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

Alabama's Shocking Weather Today 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flood Insurance and Vehicles 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do Flood Zones Still Matter in Alabama?

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

Not anymore. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding My Flood Zone in Alabama

Flooding in Alabama

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

Finding My Flood Zone in Alabama

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

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

Understanding Flood Zones in Alabama

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

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

Finding My Flood Zone in Alabama

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

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

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

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

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

Finding Your Flood Zone

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

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

Finding My Flood Zone in Alabama

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

Flood Variables

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

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

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

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

Finding My Flood Zone in Alabama

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

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

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

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

Rivian, an American electric vehicle automaker, and automotive technology company, already has plans underway for the development of an electric vehicles plant in Georgia. Considering that both Amazon and Ford already joined forces in order to help Rivian get a boost in the industry, these plans may be far from being canceled.

What Rivian's Electric Plant Development Mean for Flooding in Georgia?

Today, we want to talk about what impacts this type of development has on flooding for Georgia and some tips on what you need to do with your flood insurance.

Developments and Flood

First, let's look back into the overall negative impacts of urban development when it comes to flooding.

In research from 2016 from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), it's found that urbanization has a direct impact on flooding. In this research for Illinois alone, they were able to find that in a 2-year span, there's a possibility of seeing a hundred to 600 percent increase in flood peak discharge due to urbanization. This data was gathered from Mercer Creek and Salt Creek in Illinois and you should keep this in mind since it will be valuable info later.

When it comes to Georgia, a lot of development is also going on to cater to more housing and urbanization. The same could easily be said for our state. The thing about these floodings when it comes to developments and urbanization is that it simply doesn't increase flooding for high-risk flood zones only.

Generally, all those developments are causing an increase in water runoff because water has nowhere to go. Also, changing the soil that naturally sips floodwater into cement causes this issue with flooding. Most of these waters go to low-lying areas and even low-risk flood zones like Flood Zone X.

This has been proven in 2017 when research from Georgia State University (GSU) also found an increase of 26% in annual streamflow for areas that were developed or urbanized from 1986 to 2010, as well as a doubling of high-flow days for Suwanee and Big Creek.

So, how will this new electric vehicle plant impact flooding in Georgia?

Rivian's Developments

This new development for the electric vehicle plant is considered to be the largest economic development project that Georgia will see in its entire history. The development will cover about 2000 acres of land. 55% of these lands are intended for agricultural and residential zones.

Considering the scale of this planned site, it's no question that this will cause a lot of burdens when waters start to rise and rain starts to pour. We've already mentioned before how changing the natural soil to cement can cause a lot of water to have no place to go but the neighborhood. The city of Social Circle itself is creating a movement to thwart this $5-billion development plans ahead of time.

What Rivian's Electric Plant Development Mean for Flooding in Georgia?

The plant is planned to cover land across the Walton and Morgan Counties in Georgia. What is notable about these two counties when it comes to flooding is that Walton has an increased risk for roads, commercial areas, and infrastructure. This is something noteworthy because most of the fatalities we see when there's flood are located or involves road, so this could mean an increase in flooding for these locations can also present dangers for the lives of motorists.

On the other hand, Morgan county is facing more concern when it comes to flooding already as their increasing risks from moderate levels might also see some significant impacts of this development. It's notable that roads and infrastructures might move into a major risk level whereas residential, commercial, and social areas are going to move into more of a moderate risk of flooding.

Flood Insurance Protection

There's no other way out when floodwater starts inundating your property. Flooding has been considered for many years to be the most common natural disaster that happens in the United States. We might not be able to thwart these plans for the plant, but we can still ensure that we will be able to protect ourselves from the expected results of development on that scale.

Flood insurance isn't just insurance for your property but also acts as an assurance that you don't really need to worry about what gets taken by flood damage because you will definitely have coverage for it. Georgia residents can get flood insurance from either front: the federal government-backed through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or through the private flood insurance market.

What Rivian's Electric Plant Development Mean for Flooding in Georgia?

Getting this type of insurance is one of the most important things to have for a homeowner, business owner, and even renters especially in the 21st century. Nowadays, a lot of factors come into play when it comes to the increased risk and amount of flooding we're getting; not just developments and urbanization.

To learn more about flood insurance, how you might be impacted by this development in Georgia, what your flood insurance options are, or any questions about floods, click below to access our Flood Learning Center.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

You can also click here to call us, so we can talk about your flood concerns.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

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

Shelby County's own University of Montevallo (UM) is celebrating its 125th anniversary and this is really something worth noting. However, during this time a concern that doesn't look like affecting flood insurance surfaced; local restaurants and the general population of Shelby County are experiencing supply chain issues.

The Impacts of Supply Chain On Flood Claims in Shelby County, Alabama

Today, we want to talk about what this could mean for flood insurance, its coverages, and what to expect as we celebrate the 125th anniversary of UM.

Supply Chain Issues

Local restaurants in the southern parts of Birmingham are having a rough start to the year as supply chain issues resurface. This is causing a lot of problems not just for food supplies, but even necessary utensils and such. From containers to equipment, business owners are having trouble handling the potential economic impact of the issues with supplies.

This issue is just a few weeks after President Joe Biden implemented a presidential declaration to help homeowners across Jefferson County, Mobile County, and Shelby County when it comes to recovering from the October 2021 flooding.

The Impacts of Supply Chain On Flood Claims in Shelby County, Alabama

A local business owner, Naseem Ajlouny, shared with Shelby County Reporter how he's struggling with the supply chain issues. He quoted to have "spent around 30% of work now trying to source product". Moreover, there are also concerns with food supplies through crops such as the availability of corn on the cob and other protein products.

This is creating an increase in costs for menus across the county just to make ends meet. Worst case scenario, the item just has to be removed from the menu.

So what does this mean for flood insurance?

Supply Chain & Coverages

Now, when it comes to the concern of the supply chain, it's important to keep in mind that this doesn't just impact how businesses run. This also means that there may be unwanted impacts to flood insurance.

Let's all remind ourselves that Alabama, especially Shelby County, can be very prone to floods. There are a lot of flood hazards in the area which only contributes to the high-risk flood zones that the county is in when it comes to flood insurance rate maps (FIRM). So, this isn't really just a concern for business owners, but it can also impact homeowners.

You see, when it comes to flood insurance coverages, those replacement costs for recovering and rebuilding the building still need to come from sourcing out materials — the same goes for content coverages or the personal items included with the insured building.

If business owners are having trouble getting materials outside of flood insurance coverages and to keep their businesses afloat, what more when water starts overflowing from the floodplain?

This type of issue can cause a limited amount of coverage when it comes to additional living expenses from your flood insurance claim. This means that you won't really get an increase in premiums or payment, but you can expect to face higher costs when it comes to repairing the building.

The Impacts of Supply Chain On Flood Claims in Shelby County, Alabama

When flood insurance covers the repairs or recovery of an insured building, the market can still have an impact on the costs of materials like wood, bricks, metal, and things like that. Since the county is experiencing some challenges with importing these things, it's safe to expect that there will be higher costs on the materials.

This could also mean that if you have that $250,000 standard coverage for your $200,000 home, it will easily be maxed out when you file a flood claim when the reparation begins.

Even if we say that you will get 100% coverage on the repair of your insured building, there will be no room for flood mitigation measures since the building coverage or replacement cost is already maxed out.

The Impacts of Supply Chain On Flood Claims in Shelby County, Alabama

This can be very concerning especially since we're moving out of the winter season very soon and that also means that Alabama will face runoff from all directions. We've seen this happen before and it's not impossible to happen again. Despite the clearer skies in North Alabama, it's important to mention that Cullman County in the north-central areas of the state, faced 2 to 3 inches of rain in September before the October flooding.

Are you prepared to face possible flooding in the next few weeks?

If you have any questions on supply chains and flood insurance, how to review your insurance coverages, where to get flood insurance or anything at all, you can click our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer all your flood insurance questions.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

You can also click below to call us and we can discuss your flood insurance needs.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

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