The flood insurance world is constantly changing. You have flood maps being changed every year, you have new floodplain management guidelines, and you have rates all over the board.

 

 

Today we want to look at roles a realtor could play. Many people do not realize that realtors can play a major role in the flood insurance world. You have these different lobbyist groups pushing for change and you have some fighting change in Washington D.C.

So let's first look at how the flood insurance world could be impacted by realtors?

Let's start with a story from about a year ago where a realtor listed a property and sold a property in a special flood hazard area.

About 6 months after the new homeowner moved in the property flooded. After the flood claim the property owner got a notice that this was the 6th flood claim on the property.

However when they bought the property they had been told it flooded one time with less than 1 inch of water.

Now this property owner could have a very difficult time selling this property. This is one of the exact situations why Texas created a new property disclosure law in September 2019. After the hurricanes hit Houston many people were not disclosing all the facts and people were buying properties without knowing they had flooded.

As you can imagine if you were a potential buyer you may not buy a property that had flooded before.

Now let's look at another scenario where a realtor disclosed the proper information. The potential home buyer was able to work with FEMA and local flood plain manager to make sure the flood threat was minimized in the future. Even though this property had flooded 10 times before the risk has now been significantly lowered.

As you can see both of these scenarios could have an impact on flood insurance. One could cause claims to continue to be paid out and another could cause claims to be minimized.

You could see why the National Flood Insurance Program is close to broke and why rates can be very high.

Realtors work very hard every day to get properties sold. Many people do not realize that realtors do not get paid if a property does not sell.

So as you can imagine having properties listed in special flood hazard areas can create some significant obstacles.

This is why it's so important to make potential buyers understand what the flood insurance options are and how to minimize the flooding.

We see this in the Homewood Alabama area everyday. This is one of the most desirable areas to live in Birmingham Alabama. However if you don't know what to look for can also be one of the most expensive areas when it comes to flood insurance.

We see people in this area paying more than $5000 every year simply because they did not know how to minimize the flood threat which could help their flood insurance premiums.

So if you have questions about how to minimize the threat of flooding on your property or the flood insurance options, then click here.

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 against flooding.

 

Homewood Alabama Flood Insurance Options

 

Anyone who knows me knows I really enjoy cooking. This past week I had gathered all the ingredients to cook a pot roast.

I had the roast

 

pot roast and flood insurance

 

I had the potatoes

 

Huntsville flood

 

I had the carrots

 

Muscle Shoals flooding

 

I was ready to cook an awesome meal. There was only one problem I broke the crock pot a few weeks ago and threw it out.

 

Living without flood insurance

 

Great the one time I needed it and its not there.

My fault for not preparing

Its alot like flood insurance. Do you really need it in Huntsville Alabama if your bank doesn't require it?

Before answering that question lets look at some areas that thought they didn't need it. Houston Texas during hurricane Harvey is the first example where many people did not have it because it was not required. Then there were the residents of Nebraska City Nebraska and Tulsa Oklahoma in 2019. We could also look at the Muscle Shoals Alabama where Nathans Estates had almost every property flooded.

All these areas were whats referred to as flood zone X or the non mandatory flood zone.

 

Even though the bank doesn't require flood insurance you can clearly see these areas are still at risk of flooding. Like my pot roast experience you want to make sure when your property floods you have the flood coverage that you need.

So to answer the questions do you really need flood insurance in Huntsville Alabama? The answer is yes everyone needs flood insurance.

So how much does flood insurance cost in these zones?

In many situations it can be less than $500 a year.

So where can you buy flood insurance in Huntsville Alabama?

There are lots of resources out there with FEMA and there are also options through private companies. Any insurance agent should be able to set up a policy for you. You do want to be careful to work with an agent like The Flood Insurance Guru that specializes in flood insurance everyday. This could help to speed up any process after a claim and know exactly what would be covered by flood insurance.

So if you have further questions about flood insurance make sure to check out our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

YouTube Channel

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

 

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Everyday we field questions about flood insurance in Homewood Al. So today we want to look at why flood insurance is so high in Homewood Aland what you can do about it?

 

Homewood Al is one of the more desirable areas to live in around Birmingham Al. Trust me I know I moved to 280 when there was one red light and my brothers first house was in Homewood.

So why are flood insurance premiums so high in Homewood Al?

It get a better understanding of these we need to understand a couple of things

  1. Flood threats in the area
  2. Foundation type of homes

Why most parts of Homewood Al have not flooded it does not mean the risk is not there. One major thing that poses a serious risk is Shades Creek. Not only does this river run through parts of Homewood, but Hoover Alabama as well.

As a result this puts many Homewood properties into a special flood hazard area.

What exactly does this mean? It means you are in the 1% annual chance of flooding and if you have a mortgage flood insurance will be required.

Something else that hurts many Homewood properties is the foundation type.

In our blogs and videos we have discussed all types of foundations from slabs to basements to crawlspaces.

One thing that hurts some Homewood properties when it comes to flood insurance is subgrade crawlspaces. remember these are crawlspaces that are actually underground.

As a result of this it can place the property more negative from the base flood elevation which can result in higher flood insurance premiums.

So what can be done to help minimize these premiums.

Well you could fill in the subgrade area but most people don't want to do that. Then you could get a survey or elevation certificate that shows the elevation numbers of the structure.

This could possibly help improve your National Flood Insurance Program insurance rates. We had a client a few months ago where this actually cut the flood insurance premium by 50%.

Something else you could look at is private flood insurance. This is a flood insurance product that is starting to take off. Its important to know not all private flood insurance policies are the same. Some will not insurance subgrade foundations and some will not insure properties in the floodway. This is important because some Homewood properties do fall within this floodway.

So when you get a high flood insurance premium on your Homewood property don't just accept it. Look at these different options to make sure your premium matches your risk.

If you want to learn more about flood insurance make sure to check out our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

If you want to review flood insurance options in Homewood Al then click here.

Remember we have an education background in flood mitigation. This means we can help you understand your flood insurance risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property long term against flooding.

I Have Questions

 

 

FEMA recently did a website redesign. According to the FEMA podcast this is the first time a full site redesign has been done in more than 5 years. As you can imagine technology changes a lot in 5 years.

So today we want to look at what this means for you as a website user. What are three important things that you should take away from this redesign.

  1. Culture of preparedness
  2. Reduction of complexity
  3. Local search

 

Culture of Preparedness

Historically one of the things FEMA has tried to focus on is preparedness. Whether its flooding, earthquakes, or another disaster. Having the United States prepared for disaster is one of the goals of FEMA.

However if you ever used the previous site you know this information could be difficult to navigate through. I mean according to the podcast the previous website had more than 74,000 pages. Thats alot of information especially when its not organized very well.

 

Complexity

If you are an insurance agent who has ever had to navigate the website you know it can be complex. This is is why one of the goal of FEMA with the redesign was to reduce complexity. They wanted to reduce the amount of clicks it takes to get information. As a marketer of multiple companies including the Flood Insurance Guru I can tell you the more someone has to do on a website the less likely they are to get to the finish line.

 

Local Search

Something else FEMA has added that should go a long way is the local search. Smart content is something we use to create a more personal and local experience for a website visitor. This means they may only see information that is relevant to their location. This is exactly what FEMA has done with the local search.

When you put your address in the local search bar you are going to see disaster assistance programs or active disaster declarations in your area.

What this means is if you live in Alabama you don't have to search through information for California anymore.

So whether you are preparing for a disaster or recovering from one this upgrade will hopefully be a great resource for you.

If you want to learn more about this upgrade you can also listen to our podcast on it above. Remember when preparing for a flood disasters that everyone is in a flood zone.

You can checkout our daily podcast here or watch our videos on our YouTube channel.

 

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

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lake oconee flood insurance

I have just returned from a nice three day camping trip with my family. If you haven't read some of our other blogs or watched our videos we are traveling in a camper this summer shooting our flood eduction videos.

This camping trip was at a local power company campground. My brother in law and sister in law recently bought a bought a boat and brought it.

boat

So this trip had many memories from kayaking to flying off tubes in the water. My 5 year old daughter Lydia absolutely loved it.

lydia

I wish I could say the same for my body. I never realized how painful riding an inner-tube in the water could be.

legs-1

Maybe it was all the swimming keeping my five year old daughter and 10 year old nephew on the float.

Sometimes we realize our bodies are not what they use to be.

When I was thinking about this trip I started thinking about flood insurance policies.

Maybe the policy we set up 10 or 20 years ago is not the same policy thats offered today.

Maybe it just needs some updating?

Like our bodies many things change over time.

There are a few things that change with flood policies over time

  1. Underwriting
  2. Rating
  3. Flood Zones

The flood underwriting world is a constant changing world. The more data that companies get the more changes they want to make to adjust their models. This could result in your policy getting non renewed or even your rate going up.

Then there are the ratings. The company that had the best rating 20 years ago may not be the same company with the best rate today. In fact the company from 20 years ago may not even be in business anymore.

So many factors are always changing like flood zones. You may be in the same flood zone you were twenty years ago or you may not be.

Below are some of the basic flood zones.

 

 

Maybe you are in a lower risk area but you are still paying the premiums of a higher rated area.

Like our bodies our flood insurance policies do require maintenance to make sure they can still serve us to the best of their ability.

required

Trust me my body told me this recently as I could barely move after the water experience, cutting my leg open, and cutting my head open.

So the next time your body is telling you to rest make sure not to forget about your flood policy.

Because when the time comes to file a claim you want to make sure you have a policy that has addressed all your needs.

So if you have more questions about flood insurance, flood zone changes, or understanding your flood risk then make sure to visit our website.

You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel. Who knows we might be in your neighborhood.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation which means we are here to help you understand your flood risk, flood insurance, and mitigating your property to keep your losses and flood premiums low.

 

Start My Flood Insurance Quote

In 2018 I made the shift to focusing all my time on flood insurance, flood education, and flood consulting. If someone had a flood question I wanted to make sure we had an answer, but more importantly I wanted to make sure we had the right answer.

So I thought to myself how do I do this? How do I climb this massive mountain and where do I start?

So I started doing some research on things. I started looking at using video more in business and using content to answer these questions. Through my research I came across 5 people that would help mold the vision of our company over the next year, change my life, and change the future for my family.

So in this blog we will discuss the first person

Nicholas Ayers

I had briefly communicated with Nicholas Ayers through a private agency owner group that I am. He is the cofounder of one of the fastest growing independent agency owners group in the country. In 2018 he created a video course called Made You Look Video. I had paid for all these courses through the years and while I had taken some value from them I felt this one would be a game changer.

So I took a risk and purchased the course. At this point I am walking away from what many would call an easy job of just collecting insurance renewals to basically start over.

On our first call it felt different with Nicholas. Unlike everything else I had done through the years. I could feel his heart to help and his authenticity. First of all unlike all these courses where they want to keep all the secrets secret, Nicholas wants you to share them with the world.

His sole focus is making sure he is helping you be successful whether you want to make a million dollars or try to change the world.

It's one of the great things he teaches in his course is finding a way to connect with people who are seeking information. It's also Nicholas who pushed me to create something new by combining looking like an idiot, being professional, and providing great content. You can see a picture of the famous poop hat below.

rv

As I worked through my original goal of 30 videos in 30 days Nicholas made sure that I recorded some of the most uncomfortable videos. The goal was to get comfortable being on camera which can be challenging.

So when I finished this challenge I decided to commit to a year of video. Yes 365 flood education videos in 365 days. However we would travel the entire country shooting these videos. We recorded in flooded areas like Tulsa Oklahoma and Nebraska City Nebraska. We recorded videos at the top of the Mississippi River in Des Moines Iowa all the way to New Orleans Louisiana. Honestly I thought I would make it 10 days but some how I made it a year. Each step of the way Nicholas was there to answer questions either in his course or even by facebook messenger.

Trust me I had a lot of questions along the way, but I could also tell that my video skills where slowly growing.

Nicholas even connected me with another video newbie by the name of Michael Overstreet. We learned along the way really feeding off each other when it came to approaches and ideas.

Michael Overstreet has now become one of the top insurance video marketers in Arizona and owns Safe Street Insurance. He even has a gardening channel on YouTube called The Garden Nerd that I highly recommend you checking out.

Even I can grow fruit as you can see below.

IMG_1661

So the year of video came to an end so now what? Do we stop? Do we keep going? Are we making a difference?

These are all questions I had. A day didn't go by where someone wouldn't send me a message telling me the difference our videos where making.

Some how over the course of a year we had built this national brand on flood education and awareness by using video.

We had appeared on multiple podcast across the country and done an interview with insurance journal. A kid who failed college English 4 times was now using video everyday and using it to create change.

You remember that group I told Nicholas Ayers started well it has one of the top conferences in the country every year. I had made excuses about not making it in the past, but I was dedicated to making the trip in 2020. So in January 2020 I made the trip to San Diego to connect with other insurance agents. The connections I made at that conference were incredible. Once again the work of Nicholas Ayers.

While in the conference I had stepped out of one of the presentations to call my wife. We were on different time zones and I wanted to make sure to catch her and my daughter before their bedtime.

As the session ended people came out congratulating me. I had no idea what they were talking about.

When I stepped out of the session I had missed accepting the award for member of the year. Me a one man operation getting the award among all these incredible people just felt kind of wrong. I was able to get the award from the other founder Dave Jackson a few hours later.

When I got it everything started to sink in. Everything that happened over the last year, and diving into a niche market that others said couldn't be done.

Once again I realized none of it would have been possible without Nicholas Ayers.

Fast forward to June 2020 and we are approaching 550 videos in 550 days on our way to 1000 videos. Will I stop at 1000? My wife probably hopes so, but I feel this is the way I am leaving my mark on the world. It's because of a man named Nicholas Ayers.

So this is the story of how Nicholas Ayers changed the Flood Insurance Guru and my life forever.

 

Recently we did taco night for dinner. It's usually a combination of tacos and cheese dip.

I always cook the cheese on low constantly making sure to not burn it. Some how every time I get distracted and burn it to the bottom of the pan. However this particular night the cheese came out perfect with no burning to the pan.

IMG_1633

It reminded me that anything is possible like the city of Houston going a year without flooding or properties flooding that have never happened before.

Houston Flooding

Houston has been hit really hard with flooding over the last five years. Its not just hurricanes that have caused flooding but also urban flooding from afternoon thunderstorms.

Many of these areas were in non mandatory flood zones also known as flood zone X.

So many residents and property owners have been left with paying for everything out of pocket.

So if these were non mandatory zones why did they flood?

Part of the problem is that many people and sometime communities look at a flood map as what the risk of flooding in that area will be. It's important to understand that flood maps are used from a regulatory standpoint to identify high risk areas. They can't tell us if a property will flood and how much water will be in the property.

If that was the case many property owners would have had coverage in place to cover these floods. Apartment building owners are a group that have learned this lesson the hard way.

Apartment building owners can get hit twice when it comes to flooding.

  1. Building
  2. Rent

The first area that apartment building owners have to worry about is the actual building being damaged. Imagine having to completely redo 100 apartments. As you can imagine that can get expensive and be time consuming.

Now imagine losing rent on these units for 6 months. That could cause anyone to go broke. Well these are two areas that private flood insurance policies address. Having replacement cost on a building like this can be very important in bringing them back to being livable.

Imagine getting half way done with repairs only to realize you are out of money. This is exactly what can happen without the proper flood insurance coverage.

Unlike the National Flood Insurance Program private flood insurance companies can offer business interruption coverage. This coverage can help cover things like loss of rent. This can help a property continue to get income while a property is being repaired.

So how do you chose the right flood insurance replacement coverage on your apartment building?

Well its recommended that you find a good commercial insurance agent that deals with properties like this each day. Then make sure that the replacement cost on your flood insurance matches the building coverage.

So what about business interruption coverage?

Here at the flood insurance guru we recommend starting with about 6 months of expenses. If you can get this amount covered then it should hopefully give you enough time for repairs. It's important to understand that many private flood insurance carriers may limit business interruption coverage to 10 to 20% of the insured amount of the building.

So if you have questions about getting the right flood insurance on your apartment building then make sure to click here. you can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation so we are here to help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your apartment building against flooding.

 

Contact Us

 

It's March 2nd 2020 and it feels like its been raining in Huntsville Alabama since the beginning of 2019. Realistically it has, 2019 was one of the wettest years on record.  February 2020 ranked in the top 10 for the wettest February's on record.

While 2019 still holds the record for most rainfall on record will the rain ever stop? hopefully.

All that rain is starting to have a major impact on flood insurance options in the Huntsville Alabama area and especially Madison county. Many private flood insurance companies have placed moratoriums in the area.

What exactly is a flood insurance moratorium?

Well this is when private flood insurance companies stop writing flood insurance in an area. Sometimes this can happen after significant flooding in an area until they can handle the claaims and then other times it can happen when the flood risk rises.

This is is exactly what's been happening in the Huntsville Alabama area for the last few months. Thankfully the National Flood Insurance Program does not put moratoriums in place. As long as you live in a participating community then you have access to flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Its during times like this where a National Flood Insurance Program policy can feel like its worth gold.

Let's look at the Huntsville real estate market. The Madison Alabama area is one of the fastest growing areas in the country. Many of these areas are in high risk flood areas because of the Tennessee River. As you can imagine flood insurance could have a major impact on mortgage payments.

Let's look at a scenario where it could make or break someone selling a home. For example let's say you have two properties in the same neighborhood. One is investor owned and they paid cash, so they don't carry flood insurance. Then there is the other one who has a mortgage and has had flood insurance since before it was required.

You have the same potential buyer looking at these two properties but the flood insurance is a difference of more than $3000 a year.

Why in the world is that?

Well the person who has the mortgage has whats called a grandfathered policy which means those rates are no longer available because they took out flood insurance before the flood maps changed. The other property has to go off todays rates and does not get access to these grandfathered rates.

So of course if you are a buyer you are going to go with the property that has the cheaper flood insurance.

So why can the buyer get access to this same rate on one property but not the other?

This is whats called a policy assumption or policy transfer. This is when the policy is transferred from one buyer to the next because they have had continuous coverage.

Now you can see that National Flood Insurance Program policy is worth way more than you would have ever imagined.

So maybe you have questions about how to do a policy transfer or you want to understand flood insurance options in Huntsville? Then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel.

 

Start My Flood Insurance Quote

Hello Chris Greene here, the Flood Insurance Guru. Today we're talking about, are flood insurance policies refundable? And the answer to that question is yes and no. There are situations where a flood insurance policy is completely refundable. Let's just take for example that you're buying a home and the closing does not go through. Then if you get a letter to the flood insurance company stating that the closing did not go through, why it did not go through and a signed cancellation letter then this policy can be canceled flat.

Another way to get a policy, a flood insurance policy refunded is typically it would be prorated depending in when you refund it is if your flood zone has changed. If you've got an elevation certificate and done a map change or a zone change and you have proof of that and you submit that to your mortgage company and they no longer require it, then you can also have your flood insurance refundable. Another situation is if, depending on your loan type and depending on your bank if they allow it, if you've done a flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance program and your bank allows you to have private, you can submit that to FEMA and they can also prorate your refund.

So these are just a few ways that insurance is refundable. However it is kind of strict to these few things where it is refundable because typically it's non-refundable. So if you have any questions about flood insurance, maybe trying to get a refund on some of your premiums please reach out to us. www.floodInsuranceGuru.com, you can find us on Facebook and YouTube The Flood Insurance Guru, or you can even give us a call 205-451-4294. 

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