Today we are discussing the upcoming flood insurance map changes for Sitka Alaska. Here are four things we want to address today.

Why are the maps changing?

Who will be impacted?

Can you fight the changes?

What are the flood insurance options?

 

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Why are the Flood Insurance Maps Changing in Sitka Alaska

So why are the flood insurance maps changing in Sitka Alaska?  Well Sitka has had a history of flooding and flood exposure. Being a coastal area on the West coast it is exposed to the Tsunami risk. There are other risks like inland flooding that occurred in 2015 creating landslides, mudslides, and other flooding issues. The area requested a FEMA study in 2013 to review the risk and many times these studies can take several years to review. In 2017 FEMA and Sitka agreed on what they thought the new maps should be but still needed the residents input and feedback. Now that these new maps have been agreed up on  a date has been set for them to go into place which is August 2019. 

 

Who is Being Impacted in Sitka Alaska?

The impact for Sitka Alaska will be fairly large from a percentage standpoint. 9.9% of the population could be impacted by these changes. It does not mean its a bad impact . Some will be remove from high risk flood zones and some will not.

Right at 300 property owners are predicted to either be moved into a high risk flood zone or have flood insurance rate increases as a result of the zone changing. This means they will either be moved from a flood zone x to a flood zone A, flood to a zone AE, or Flood Zone VE. Those looking at higher premiums will be moved from a flood zone A to a flood zone AE or VE, or from a flood zone AE  to a flood zone VE.

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Can You Fight the Flood Zone Changes?

So can you fight the flood zone changes? Yes you can fight it because of the way FEMA makes their flood maps and determines the flood zones these changes are not always accurate. For example FEMA might say your property is in a high risk flood zone but your house sits on a hill. FEMA is using the entire parcel in determining the risk and not necessarily the structure. 

So what do you need to fight it? Well generally the easiest thing is to have an elevation certificate. What is an elevation certificate? This is a certificate done by a surveyor that shows the different elevations of the home and how they compare to the base flood elevation.  How much do elevations cost? The national average on these range from $500-$700.  Who can help you fight it? At The Flood Insurance Guru we help people fight these everyday. So how do you know if you are a good candidate to get your flood zone changes? The best place to start is by looking at the lowest adjacent grade on the elevation certificate. If it is more than a foot above the base flood elevation then you might be a good candidate. If not then we recommend letting us  do a deeper flood zone change review for you.

 

What are the Flood Insurance Options in Sitka Alaska?

When it comes to flood insurance in Sitka Alaska or other parts of Alaska you have two options for flood insurance. You can go through FEMA or NFIP and the private flood insurance market.

 

         FEMA or NFIP

FEMA or the National Flood Insurance program is the flood insurance program that is is run by the government. Most people think this is the only option especially when it comes to good coverages. There are a few things a NFIP flood policy will cover the first thing is the building up to $250,000 if it is residential building and $500,000 if it is a commercial building. NFIP will also cover contents up to $100,000 as long as those contents are located above ground. So then what does private flood insurance cover?

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       Private Flood Insurance

Private flood insurance is done a little bit differently than NFIP. First of all it is backed by private flood insurance. So while NFIP has to accept all risks private flood insurance can pick which risks it wants. Because of these many times private flood insurance rates can be 50% less than NFIP policies. So what does a private flood insurance policy cover?

Private flood covers the building and contents like NFIP does but does not limit the coverage. Some other things they offer are contents coverage in basements, temporarily living expenses, and replacement costs on contents. 

 

Understanding the upcoming flood map changes for Sitka Alaska can be overwhelming. Is it impacting you, how much it is impacting you, and when will you be notified?  Maybe you have more questions about these changes or want to get a flood insurance quote. You can click the link below to start this process. Remember to visit our website Flood Insurance Guru, our YouTube channel The Flood Insurance Guru, and our Facebook page The Flood Insurance Guru where we do daily flood education videos.

 

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Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

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