The flood insurance market has been constantly changing for a couple of years. We've seen this happen for federal flood insurance and even for flood insurance availability.

One of the biggest changes came in form of allowing private flood insurance for property owners who have an FHA loan, USDA, or even VA loan. In this article, let's talk about how the private flood insurance market is changing the whole flood industry.

How Private Flood Is Changing the Flood Industry

Coverages

When it comes to understanding how the private flood is changing flood insurance coverage, we first need to get a basis or some form of comparison to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

So, let's just mention here that when it comes to federal flood insurance, you only get a maximum of $250,000 in building coverage and $100,000 in contents coverage or personal property coverage for residential flood policies. This coverage amount can go up to $500,000 if you're doing a commercial flood policy.

Now that we've established this, it's important to highlight that private flood insurance companies don't have these coverage limits. You can definitely still get more than $250,000. Even when it comes to personal items or content coverage, you can definitely go more than $100,000 for flood damage. That coverage also comes with the loss of use, additional living expenses, and/or replacement costs.

Flood Insurance Guru - Flood Risk Verification Tool

Pricing

When it comes to pricing, private flood insurance also offers more flexibility and is generally cheaper. This is especially true if we look at how the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Risk Rating 2.0's impacts which will cause around 77% of the properties to get an increase in premium rates.

To know more about private flood insurance pricing, watch the video below to know more:

Claims Payout and Wait Period

Now, let's jump into what may be the most crucial parts of your flood insurance policy: claims and wait periods.

When it comes to wait periods, private insurers generally have a quicker turnaround time for your policy to take effect on your property. Most private flood insurance policies can be available and take effect on your property within a maximum of 15 days.

This is relatively shorter than federal flood insurance with a strict 30-day period. This can be helpful since you immediately get coverage and flood protection on your property quicker.

This type of faster wait time is also applicable for a claims payout. When filing for a flood insurance claim with private insurers, you may get the payout on your private policy within a maximum of 60 days. Now, it's important to note here that this generally depends on private carriers, so your flood claim may be available at an earlier time.

Payment Options

Payment options with private flood are almost similar to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). So you can pay this out of your pocket or through your mortgage bank. When we say that you pay out of your pocket, this means that you pay for the whole premium via cash or using your own funds.

This is drastically different from mortgage payments since carriers would generally bill your bank for your flood insurance. What is important to note here is that there will be more mortgage payment options moving forward as the private flood is now available even for FHA, USDA, or VA loans.

Additionally, some private flood carriers may offer quarterly payments. This may provide more flexibility in paying your flood premiums, but there will be no delay in your flood protection and coverage. This can really be beneficial for premiums that are relatively high. Although banks may not be able to push through with this, paying $2,000 quarterly is way easier than paying it whole upfront.

It's also important to mention here about payment grace periods which, depending on your carrier, may have a 29-day grace period, 7-day, or even no grace period at all for payments to be made.

Want to know more about the difference between NFIP & Private flood in 2023?
Watch this video below to get started:

CHANGING FLOOD MARKET

So this is how the private flood is adapting to the constant changes in the flood insurance market. It's important to keep in mind that this generally doesn't guarantee that it's the best option for your needs. Sometimes, private flood may not be available because most of its assessment isn't based on flood zones alone.

If you want an in-depth understanding of private flood insurance, make sure click below to access our Private Flood Insurance Course:

Flood Insurance Guru | Private Flood Course

We will have to wait and see if federal flood insurance will also follow the path that private flood insurance is taking or one-up it by doing more to fight flood risks and provide more substantial flood protection for residents across the United States.

If you want to start your flood insurance, follow these three simple steps:

  • Fill out this form — Get A Quote
  • Talk with our flood education specialist.
  • Get back to the important things in your life.

If you have additional questions that are related to flooding and flood insurance, make sure to visit our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer all your questions. Click below to start your flood learning with us!

Flood Insurance Guru - Flood Learning Center

When it comes to coverage on flood damage, it's important to know what insurance policy can provide this for you. Sometimes, you may receive a flood coverage rejection letter. Now, you might be wondering what is this document and why is it important.

In this article, we talk about this flood coverage reject letter, your flood insurance coverage, and how knowing this can really help your property be saved from flood loss.

What is a Flood Coverage Rejection Letter?

Understanding Insurance Coverages

In order to understand this letter, first we need to go back to the coverage process and terms when it comes to other insurance policy types.

This is the best time to really mention that when it comes to homeowner's insurance policy, you don't really have coverage for flood damage built-in or included with your standard homeowner's insurance. Most of the protection that this insurance will provide will be for water damage, disaster damage like tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, and sometimes even mold damage. However, this does not really cover damages or losses from flooding. What is a Flood Coverage Rejection Letter?

You also have auto insurance on this topic, but the coverage with this policy is only for your vehicular damages. This can be through natural causes like disasters that we mentioned or accidents.

But one thing that you may get from your insurance agent for both of these policies is the flood coverage rejection letter.

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What is Flood Coverage Rejection Letter?

This letter is a document that you are expected to sign to acknowledge that when it comes to your homeowner's or auto insurance policies, you are aware that you won't get coverage for the damages due to flooding from these policies.

The purpose of a flood coverage rejection letter is to really get your confirmation that you are aware that you won't get any flood insurance coverage from these policies.

Sometimes, your agent might send you this letter and if you sign it, you directly reject or decline the flood coverage offered by them. Now, this is important because when a flood loss happens, you may not file for a flood claim since you already signed the rejection letter.

Basically, signing this letter simply means that you agree to not get coverage for flooding.

What If You Didn't Get One?

On the other hand, if you didn't get a flood coverage rejection letter from your insurance carrier for your property or vehicle, then that simply means that they didn't offer any coverage.

Generally, you might need to get a separate flood insurance policy if you want to be covered for flood damages. So, you might be wondering, what are your flood insurance options?

A standard flood insurance policy with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can provide you coverage for a maximum of $250,000 for building coverage and a maximum of $100,000 for content or personal property coverage for flood losses. This is especially true if you have a policy with the NFIP and even with its recent Risk Rating 2.0 update.

What is a Flood Coverage Rejection Letter?

On the other hand, private flood insurance is where you can find more flexibility as their standard flood policy coverage doesn't really have limits. You can generally go way above that $250,000 and $100,000 coverage with federal flood insurance.

To learn more about the NFIP and Private Flood insurance, WATCH the video below:

Get Flood Insurance

Nowadays, flood insurance is a must because flood damage can happen anywhere. As we always say, all properties should have coverage from flooding since floods can happen anywhere even in places that aren't considered high-risk areas for flooding.

Flood Insurance Guru - Flood Risk Verification Tool

Getting the right flood coverage with your home can really help you reduce the impacts of flood risk and bounce back from a natural disaster like this.

So if you have additional questions that are related to flooding and flood insurance, make sure to visit our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer all your questions. Click below to start your flood learning with us!

Flood Insurance Guru - Flood Learning Center

Let's start simplifying your flood insurance. You only need to follow our three easy steps:

  • Fill out this form — Get A Quote
  • Talk with our flood education specialist.
  • Get back to the important things in your life.

We've recently covered one of the biggest changes coming to flood insurance and options. We're talking specifically about getting the private flood insurance option available for FHA-insured loans.

How To Switch FHA Flood Insurance to Private Flood insurance

You might be anticipating how you could do this and in this blog, we want to talk about how you can switch to a private flood insurance policy even if you have a loan with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

 

FHA Accepting Private Flood

You might be wondering why this change is a big thing for the flood insurance market. It's important to note that if you have an FHA loan you can only get a flood insurance policy with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

However, on December 21st, property owners will be able to get the private flood insurance option with the proposal that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced just his month. One of the goals of this proposal is really to give promote consumer options.

How To Switch FHA Flood Insurance to Private Flood insurance

This upcoming change can really help homes find more security and openness to private flood. It's important to note that, unlike federal flood insurance, private flood insurance coverage doesn't have limits.

Private flood insurance policies have the ability to go above $250,000 (building coverage) and $100,000 (content/personal property coverage). This coverage amount is generally what a standard flood insurance policy with the NFIP offers. Additionally, you can generally also have the option to get excess flood insurance and additional living expenses with private insurers.

How To Switch FHA Flood Insurance to Private Flood insurance

So you might be wondering now how to switch your FHA flood insurance to Private Flood.

 

FHA to Private Flood

Before you start canceling your flood insurance, it's important to keep in mind that there is a process that will allow you to get a private policy with an FHA-insurance loan.

First, you need to keep in mind that you can't immediately switch from your NFIP flood policy to a private policy since you have to wait for your renewal date to switch to admitted private insurers. This means that the switch can only be done on or before your renewal date.

How To Switch FHA Flood Insurance to Private Flood insurance

If you miss this period then you will be stuck with the current flood insurance policy and you will need to wait until the next renewal date before you can get that chance again.

You can only switch to a private flood insurance policy with an FHA-insured loan if you are doing a new loan. Take note that this new loan cannot be a line of credit loan. So, this will only be valid if you're switching from an FHA to a VA or USDA loan.

 

Canceling Your Flood Policy

One of the crucial things that you should do first is to send a signed cancellation letter for your flood policy to FEMA and the National Flood Insurance (NFIP). You would need to have this sent within 30 days of your renewal. This is crucial because FEMA and the NFIP may not cancel your flood policy renewal because a payment was already made by your FHA-insured mortgage.

Equally, you also need to send a copy of this signed cancellation letter to your bank especially if you have a mortgage. This is integral for you to avoid force-placed coverage. Make sure to watch our video below to understand what force-placed coverage is.

Changing Flood Markets

Introducing the availability of flood insurance from the private flood insurance market can really spell good things for fighting flood risks across the country. This move may really help encourage homeowners to get flood insurance to find sufficient protection against flood damage. This is especially true for those who are in special flood hazard areas.

Giving property owners more flood insurance choices either with a federal or private flood policy can really help in making sure that everyone is ready against floods.

 

If you want to know your flood insurance options, how to handle your flood insurance in Birmingham, or anything related to floods, click below to go to our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer these questions for you.

Flood Insurance Guru - Flood Learning Center

Ready to solve your flood insurance problems? Here are the steps you can take:

  • Fill out this form — Get A Quote
  • Talk with our flood education specialist.
  • Get back to the important things in your life.

Flood insurance can be complicated especially when it comes to the coverage it offers. We're here to clear things out so you can make the most of your flood policy and get time back so you could focus on the best things in life.

In this article, we want to discuss full coverage when it comes to flood insurance. Does it exist? How does it work? What does it mean?

What is Full Coverage Flood Insurance?

Full Coverage

When it comes to flood insurance, it's best that we settle things straight. Technically, there is no such thing as full coverage. This phrase is only used by some insurance agents to describe the potential coverage that you will get for your property with a standard flood insurance policy.

It's important to remember that your homeowners' insurance policy generally does NOT have coverage for flood damage. Since a separate insurance policy is needed for flood damages, knowing your coverage can really help you avoid unnecessary headaches and flood loss.

What is Full Coverage in Flood Insurance?

So, you might be wondering what are your coverage options when it comes to flood insurance. In order to answer that, we'll have to break it down to your two options: federal flood insurance and private flood insurance.

NFIP Risk Rating 2.0

Your first option and you might already know about this is the federally-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This is also sometimes known as a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood policy.

When it comes to NFIP, and even with their recent overhaul of the program with Risk Rating 2.0, you will be seeing some coverage limits there. Let's say that you need to get flood insurance for your home, so this falls under a residential flood policy.

What is Full Coverage in Flood Insurance?

Residential flood policies actually have coverage limits with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This limit indicates that you can only get a maximum of $250,000 for the building or structure of your home and only a maximum of $100,000 for personal property and contents of that insured home.

On the commercial side of things, the NFIP will offer only a maximum of $500,000 for building coverage and another $500,000 for business content within that insured building. This may make you ask, will this be enough?

What is Full Coverage in Flood Insurance?

Well, that really depends, but the way we see it now with increasing costs of materials, these limits might not be the comprehensive coverage you really need. Keep in mind as well that your flood insurance also needs to follow the 80% Rule.

This 80% Rule states that you should have a building coverage that is 80% of the total costs to replace or rebuild the property if you can't max out the coverage limit set.

Private Flood

On the other side of the coin, you have private flood. Being handled by private companies, insurers don't really have certain limitations on the coverage they can provide. Before we move forward, let's mention one of the biggest things you should know about private flood: flexibility of coverage.

Unlike the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), private flood insurance companies can provide additional living expenses and business loss of use with their flood policy. Although this may cause some form of an increase in premium rates, you might also be looking at an increase in protection against flood damages.

Private flood insurance can provide more than $250,000 and $100,000 in building and content coverage respectively for residential flood policies. The same can be said for commercial flood insurance policies with private flood, you can go more than $500,000 on your coverage.

This really helps a lot of property owners bounce back from flood events and if you have a somewhat expensive home or business, this coverage flexibility might be the best option for you.

5 Tips When Purchasing Flood Insurance

Additional Living Expenses

As mentioned before, you may also get additional living expenses coverage. You might be wondering what this could be for and that's no worry since this may be new to you too considering that the NFIP doesn't really offer it for policyholders.

Picture this, you just got flooded and a lot of repairs are bound to be made to your home. Basically, during this time, the house would be unlivable in order to give way to rebuilding or repairs.

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Additional Living Expenses coverage is what you can use to pay for the costs of rent or utilities. This can really be helpful relieve yourself of the stress of what just happened and the worry of finding a way to financially support yourself during this time.

What is Full Coverage in Flood Insurance?

This additional coverage can go up to $25,000 with private flood and this will only kick in with private flood insurance or when a presidential disaster declaration is announced for your community. 

Your Vote on Flood Insurance

Although there might not be full coverage with flood insurance, you still get all the necessary security you need. It's now left in your hands which one you would choose: the NFIP or private flood insurance.

If you want to know more about your flood risk, click below to see your flood risk and price.

Flood Insurance Guru - Flood Risk Verification Tool

Learn more about flood insurance with us by visiting our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer all your questions when it comes to flooding and flood policies.

Flood Insurance Guru - Flood Learning Center

Ready to solve your flood insurance problems? Here are the steps you can take:

  • Fill out this form — Flood Insurance Guru | Get a Quote
  • Talk with our flood education specialist.
  • Get back to the important things in your life.

Midterm elections are happening right now and considering that this will change the future state of our individual communities, we also want to look at what this could mean for your flood insurance.

So where should you cast your ballot between the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and private flood insurance? How will your vote impact flood insurance long-term for you and your property?

 

Midterm Elections

The midterm elections are getting really interesting as things heat up for the Governor and Senate positions. This is especially true even here in Georgia. The same can be said for flood insurance, not just for the state of Georgia, but for the entire country. 

First, let's talk about your coverage benefits from both the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and private flood.

What Gets Your Vote: NFIP or Private Flood?

National Flood Insurance Program

Coverage

When it comes to flood insurance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has moved into a new system of coverage with the NFIP Risk Rating 2.0.

For residential properties and homes, you'll be able to get a maximum of $250,000 on building coverage and $100,000 on residential content. There will be no additional living expenses coverage. So it's pretty simple.

For commercial properties, however, the coverage will be maxed out at $500,000 for buildings and $500,000 for commercial contents. This still won't have any additional living expenses coverage.

What Gets Your Vote: NFIP or Private Flood?

What's important to remember here is that FEMA and the NFIP generally won't non-renew your policy. So you won't really be seeing a midterm cancellation with federal flood insurance. There are exceptions however, a flood insurance policy will be canceled if you're listed within the builder's risk or within 12 months to get your property built or after that, you'll have to take out a new policy.

Risk Rating 2.0

It's important to also remind ourselves that Risk Rating 2.0 presented a new system on how your premium rates are getting calculated. This new rating structure is the main focus on concern for the cost of flood insurance.

What Gets Your Vote: NFIP or Private Flood?

For one, the rating system no longer uses flood zones and flood maps as a basis for flood insurance premium rates. This is because Risk Rating 2.0 is more concerned with flood risk variables. These items are everything that may influence the risk of flooding on your property. This new system can really confuse a lot of property owners on how your risk is calculated. These factors include types of flooding, flood frequency, lowest-rated floor, replacement cost, distance to water, and flood claims history to name a few.

What Gets Your Vote: NFIP or Private Flood?

Now, this is somewhat presenting somewhat of a trust issue for property owners as you don't really get to have a view of how many percentages of your premium rates are from each variable/factor.

Private Flood Insurance

Coverage

Now, when it comes to private flood insurance, you might be able to see more flexibility when it comes to coverage. So that coverage limit of $250,000 and $100,000 for residential and $500,000 for commercial won't really be taking effect for private flood policies.

This generally provides more room to bounce back in the event of flood damage without worrying about premiums. Depending on your flood insurance carrier, you may also get some additional living expenses coverage, business loss of use, and other additional coverage with your flood policy. So outside of coverage for property damage and personal property, you also get more from the private flood.

What Gets Your Vote: NFIP or Private Flood?

However, what you should know is that since these policies are from private insurance companies, they aren't held back by the government hence they can easily non-renew your policy. They can also pull out any existing flood insurance policy in a specific community.

So these are some things that you want to consider before casting that ballot your vote for your flood insurance option. However, the most important thing here is to vote for the flood insurance option that works best for you and your needs.

If you want to know more about flood insurance, visit our Flood Learning Center:

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Ready to solve your flood insurance problems? Here are the steps you can take:

  • Fill out this form —

Flood Insurance Guru | Get a Quote

  • Talk with our flood education specialist.
  • Get back to the important things in your life.

 

 

2020 has been a year that no one will ever forget. There are three things we want to look at in 2020 and how they could impact the future of coastal private flood insurance.

  1. Covid
  2. Social Injustice
  3. Hurricanes

 

                                                           Covid

When Covid hit in March of 2020 it caused many businesses to come to a crashing halt.

The hospitality industry has basically been non existent and you couldn't pay someone to get on a cruise ship. Airlines are barely surviving. As this happened businesses turned to their insurance companies for coverage.

However many were surprised to find out that most insurance policies don 't cover this type of disaster. Government put pressure on insurance companies to provide coverage. However its difficult to provide insurance coverage when a premium was not charged for a risk.

As these businesses started to close they started to cancel their policies. This started to impact insurance companies as businesses were no longer needing insurance for a closed business. While this was a minimum impact on the bottom line when you add the next two things it creates a major problem.

 

                                 Social Injustice

2020 has seen the rise of social injustice and unrest across many parts of the country. Portland Oregon has seen many businesses burned and even Atlanta Georgia saw businesses damaged after a man was killed in an altercation with police. 2020 was problem the first time in 50 years that you have seen moratoriums put in place by insurance companies for selling business insurance.

At one point Target had to close its Minnesota stores because of looting.

 

                                                Hurricane Season

Now onto the third maybe the biggest thing to impact insurance companies in 2020. The 2020 hurricane season was predicted to be busy but no one predicted it to be this busy. In fact NOAA has had to make several adjustments to their hurricane predictions for 2020.

As we write this blog at the end of October in 2020 we have had 27 named storms, 11 hurricanes have made landfall in the U.S. and 5 hurricanes have made landfall in Louisiana.

This ties the record for most landfalls in a year within one state. Florida set the same record in 2005.

Hurricane Sally, Marco, and Delta have all created major damage in the gulf states. In fact Delta and Sally made landfall only 15 miles a part.

Like most people in 2020 insurance companies are eating through their reserves fairly quickly and they are discovering that many of their risk models were off.

So what does this mean for coastal states like Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

In Mississippi we are already seeing some private carriers halt business completely and we have seen this in Louisiana for a few years. Texas has also had this issue since Harvey.

We could see this pattern start to work its way towards Florida and Alabama.

Does this mean flood insurance will not be available?

No

The National Flood Insurance Program is available for properties where communities participate. It just means that the private flood insurance options could be limited for a while.

This will be a crucial time for you to work with an insurance agency that can defend your risk?

What does this mean?

This means being able to show how a risk may have changed because of mitigation efforts even if it has flooded. We see customers rejected everyday because someone did not defend their property correctly.

If you have questions about what your flood insurance are in these areas then click here. You can also check out our

where we do daily flood education videos. You can also check out our

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

 

Contact Us

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

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

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

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

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

So what happens next and what will be the impacts?

 

What's Next

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

So what could the impacts be?

 

The Impact

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Want to learn more about flood insurance?

Check out our YouTube channel and Podcast.

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

 

Buy Flood Insurance Now!

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

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

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

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

Lets talk about positive elevations first and how they can have a big impact. The further your home is above the base flood elevation the better the rate is going to be. If all the elevations of your home are above the base flood elevation your home might even qualify for a letter of map amendment. This means that your property might be removed from the high risk flood zone and placed in a low risk flood zones causing a big improvement to property values. Now lets talk about the impact of negative elevations. As mentioned above basements can cause a home to have an extreme negative elevation. The higher the negative elevation a home has the higher probability of a flood occurring. This can create a double edged sword because the NFIP rates can be through the roof sometimes exceeding $10,000 a year for non coastal properties. However the other problem is the higher the negative elevation the less likely that a private insurance carrier will offer coverage on a property. So these are some things to think about when buying a home with a basement or building a home. we have discussed the impact foundation types can have on a structure lets talk about flood loss history.

Flood losses can have a major impact on a property. It could even stop a property from selling if severe enough. Generally when one flood loss occurs you would lose the preferred rating with the NFIP if you had one. Having a flood loss can also eliminate most of the private flood insurance options as most will not insure a property that has had a loss. However when the second loss and paid claim occur is when disaster can strike. This can turn a property into a severity loss property which has to follow certain mitigation guidelines in order to get insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance is not available on these type of properties. This is why you should really review things closely before filing a flood insurance claim.

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

 

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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We're just a week away from the first phase of the new federal flood insurance program with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The new Risk Rating 2.0 will impact properties across the country when it comes to flood insurance rates.

NFIP Risk Rating 2.0: Fears and Concerns of Flood Insurance Purchase

This new program may also bring changes not only for the flood insurance from the federal government but also the private insurance companies. It's natural to expect that a lot of property owners and consumers find anxiety, fear, and concerns with the new program.

What are these concerns?

Rate Increase

One of the biggest fears and concerns is about flood insurance rates increase with this new program.

There's a bit of misconception coming towards this specific concern. Although we're expecting some increase with the rates since there will be changes to the flood risk variable or how your rates are calculated, it's not true that everyone will get a very big increase.

Like we've covered in our previous blog, this new program is most likely to cause some increase however this is mostly due to the fact that insurance premiums will be based on a lot of variables other than flood zones.

NFIP Risk Rating 2.0: Fears and Concerns of Flood Insurance Purchase

Generally, we can expect that one of the biggest variables that may cause your rate to increase is property values. This is just one of the new things coming into play when it comes to your rate and it will fall as the costs to rebuild whatever flood damage happened to your property.

If you have a cheaper or smaller property then this could really help your case and get that rate decrease with your insurance with FEMA and the NFIP.

Will Risk Rating 2.0 cause an increase in the cost of insurance once it takes effect on October 1st? Well, there's no accurate answer however it's important to keep in mind that you will only be paying for the policy that matches your coverage and flood risk.

To further understand the new rating structure let's do a quick recap of the things coming to FEMA and the NFIP Risk Rating 2.0

Everything Risk Rating 2.0

This new program's also called equity in action as the main goal that it has is to provide a more accurate insurance cost when it comes to FEMA and the NFIP through rates and/or premiums. This goal will be achieved by using multiple flood risk factors or what is also called flood risk variables.

It's important to highlight that Risk Rating 2.0 will no longer use flood zones that are seen through flood maps as a basis for the rating. This means that being in a high-risk flood zone like Flood Zone A will only see flood insurance mandatory from a regulatory standpoint.

Here are the things that will be used to finalize your flood insurance rates with FEMA and the NFIP:

Other than the rating system, flood coverage with FEMA and the NFIP will stay the same at the time of writing. Building coverages will max out at $250,000 for residential property and will only go up to $500,000 if it's a commercial property. When it comes to contents coverage or personal property coverage, both will max out at $100,000.

So far, there will be no additional coverages like replacement costs or loss of use. Additional living expenses will only kick in if there's a presidential declaration. The other coverage you may get is the Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) which isn't really included in a standard flood insurance policy.

Claims Process

The second thing that most property owners will be surely concerned about is the flood claims process.

Well, the good news is that there's not much change with the flood claims process itself with FEMA and the NFIP.  When it comes to completing a flood claim after a flood, FEMA will be using the same format as they are using before.

NFIP Risk Rating 2.0: Fears and Concerns of Flood Insurance Purchase

You can either call FEMA's hotline or visit their website to file a flood insurance claim after a flood. You still have to make sure that you follow their guidelines such as reporting the damages to an insurance agent or insurance company, documenting the flood loss in full detail, doing the necessary clean-up to avoid further damage, and meeting with an adjuster before you can actually have your insurance payout.

Generally, if this isn't your first rodeo from filing a claim with FEMA and the NFIP, this can be very easy. If it's your first time, there's not really much of a change to its current format. You can definitely get an informed decision when it comes to these claims from us, your agent, or your insurance company.

Mortgage's Flood Policy Rejection

Now, let's move into something that many people don't really talk about and that's the fear that your mortgage lender might not accept your flood insurance policy.

You see, when it comes to mortgage lenders, they do have certain standards that may lead to your policy getting rejected overall. Government loans like USDA loans and VA loans can be one of these loan types that most mortgage lenders reject. This means if you're doing a government loan, the mortgage lender may reject your policy due to the said loan and this is can really be concerning since it mostly falls into the lender's discretion.

NFIP Risk Rating 2.0: Fears and Concerns of Flood Insurance Purchase

There are also cases where your mortgage will not directly reject your policy, but they will have to ask you to make sure that you get more coverage for the property. This is especially the case for a policy that came from the private market or a private insurance company where coverage is more flexible than FEMA's or the NFIP's.

You can also have your policy reject if your mortgage lender deems that it won't be needed. Maybe this is because your property is not in the special flood hazard area (SFHA) or a high-risk zone or was removed from the SFHA due to the letter of map revision (LOMR).

House Closing and Policy Refund

Lastly, what if you're trying to buy this house and you already completed the flood insurance purchase however the closing didn't go through. Your policy will no longer be valid since it's set for that specific property. The biggest question you will have is that "can I get a refund?" and we totally understand since that's a lot of money going nowhere.

The simple answer is yes, you will get your refund. Generally, in this type of closing where a property closing didn't happen (also known as the Valid Cancellation Reason Code 7 or simply Code 7) in FEMA's books, you will be able to get a full refund for the premium including fees and surcharge.

It's important to note however that the cancellation and refund will only go through if FEMA received the cancellation request within 1 year of the new flood policy effective date. All you need to do is to provide the complete documentation that the closing didn't go through and the verification letter which you can also get from FEMA.

Things To Think About

At the end of the day, this update will not get a final verdict since it hasn't even started yet. FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) may also add more as the Risk Rating 2.0 goes live. The real thing we should be more concerned about is making sure that you are protected especially during hurricane seasons.

We've seen how devastating these natural disasters can be, so not getting that chance to bounce back from all the loss and damages will be the bigger disaster than the actual flooding itself.

If you have any questions on understanding the level of risk for floods your property has, what the Risk Rating 2.0 means for you, what your flood insurance options are, or anything about floods and flood insurance, click below to reach us.

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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 mitigating your property long-term.

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