flood insurance

An insurance policy for the protection of property from a flood which is typically not part of a homeowner's insurance policy.

Risk, FEMA Flood Zones, and Insurance Premiums

This article is written to aid property owners regarding their flood risk. Floodplain Managers, flood insurance professionals, surveyors, etc. may note that this information is high-level and not every variable is covered. Even so, it is hoped this information helps those not directly involved in the industry understand the basic terms and how they relate to flood risk and flood insurance rates.

HOW TO DISPUTE A FEMA FLOOD ZONE DETERMINATION

Most lenders will contact a Flood Zone Determination company to obtain a Standard Flood Hazard Determination (SFHD) as part of their closing process and in most cases a property insurance agent will make the same request from the same or a different Flood Zone Determination company. With two or more SFHDs being produced for a single location, disagreements in results can arise. These discrepancies can delay closing or the placement of a flood insurance policy. 

The New NFIP Flood Insurance Manual Crosswalk

If you are like me, when the newly formatted NFIP Flood Insurance Manual came out on October 1st, you probably thought, “Well great! Now I have to start all over again learning this manual.”  I’ve been using the NFIP Flood Insurance Manual for over 16 years and have learned through long experience where to find certain flood insurance topics. I certainly didn’t relish having to re-learn where to find information. Despite the new format being more logical and following a transaction-by-transaction path through the lifecycle of a flood insurance policy, my first impulse was to cringe and curse.

The Latest NFIP Flood Insurance Manual-October 1, 2018

If you are like me, when the newly formatted NFIP Flood Insurance Manual came out on October 1st, you probably thought, “Well great! Now I have to start all over again learning this manual.”  I’ve been using the NFIP Flood Insurance Manual for over 16 years and have learned through long experience where to find certain flood insurance topics. I certainly didn’t relish having to re-learn where to find information. Despite the new format being more logical and following a transaction-by-transaction path through the lifecycle of a flood insurance policy, my first impulse was to cringe and curse.

Free Flood Zone Determination!

Everybody loves getting something for free.  But in this case, we are only giving out free advice.  And trust me on this, you don’t want a free flood zone determination.

There are some websites out there that will tell you what your flood zone is on a free report which sounds like a great deal.  But then you realize the company behind the zone is not a professional flood zone determination company and there’s no guarantee that the flood zone is correct.  Ok, maybe but just because they aren't professionals for zone determinations and there’s no guarantee, is it really that bad?

Explaining the FEMA Clear Communication Initiative and Elevation Certificates

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) “Clear Communication Initiative” is intended to inform federal flood insurance policyholders of their flood risk as reflected on the most current Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).  This is something congress mandated in the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HFIAA, and specifically Section 28 of that Act).  The reasoning is sound, but there are parts that may be confusing, so I want to try and explain “Clear Communications”.

When is Flood Insurance Required?

So you finally did it.  You saved up enough money to put a down payment on your first home, and pay closing costs.  You spent hours completing paperwork, and gathering documents for your mortgage lender.

FEMA Clear Communication Initiative Letters and What They Mean for You

In early 2016, FEMA began mailing out clear communication initiative letters to flood insurance policyholders with new policies effective April 1, 2016 or later, and/or renewal dates of October 1, 2016 or later.  The purpose of these letters was to inform the policyholders of their current, re-mapped flood risk rating, and explain how that rating was assessed, as well as how it would likely impact what one would pay for flood insurance.  The letters further explain how the property owner may reduce flood insurance premiums by obtaining an Elevation Certificate.

FEMA separated the letters into 7 categories, each defined by a letter, A-F.  Your category can be found in the bottom right hand corner of your letter.  The categories are as follows:

5 Ways to Lower Your Flood Insurance Premium

Who doesn’t want to lower the cost of… everything?  Flood insurance is one of those things where consumers might feel a little helpless because most flood insurance is issued through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) so the rates are what they are.  First, find a knowledgeable agent that really knows the National Flood Insurance Program.  Second, check out our list of the top 5 ways to lower your premiums.

 

#1 Get an Elevation Certificate

Should I cancel my flood insurance policy? Part 2: Facts and Data.

This is a follow-up on our last blog about the conversations we have with property owners wanting to cancel their flood insurance policy.  It’s a complex decision that affects the risk we accept and how we mitigate that risk.  If you like facts and data, here’s some information that might help make a decision that’s right for you.

 

Homeowner’s insurance does not cover losses from flood disasters.  This is the primary reason it’s a big deal.  You need a separate flood insurance policy to be protected from flood disasters.

 

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