Yes, it can happen here. Be Smart, Be Prepared, Get Insured! Call us at (239) 596-6226 for a flood insurance quote!
Why Do You Need Flood Insurance?
Floods are the most common and costly natural disasters that regularly occur in the United States. They can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone. Floods cost us more than the more publicized wind damage from hurricanes, earthquakes, sink holes and wild fires. A big misconception is that it's only the homes on or near the beach that get flooded. As hurricane Harvey proved in Houston, even homes located miles from the coast can be damaged or destroyed by floods.
Let us help you determine what flood zone you are in and how much a flood insurance policy for your home will cost.
When people think of floods they usually think of big events like hurricanes. But floods can also be caused by tropical rains which we experience all of the time here in Southwest Florida. Flooding can happen anywhere, but certain areas are especially prone to serious flooding. To help communities understand their risk, FEMA flood zone maps have been created to show the location of high-risk and moderate-to-low risk. We use the Collier County flood maps to identify your specific flood insurance risk.
Are you required by law to buy flood insurance? – Under federal law, you are required to purchase flood insurance if you have a mortgage on your home that is backed by a federal agency, like Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, and your home is located in a high-risk flood zone (zones A, AE, AH or VE).
We will help you determine exactly what flood zone your home is located in by looking up your address on the FEMA flood zone map.
Homes and businesses in moderate-to-low risk areas (zones B, C, or X) are not required by federal law to have flood insurance, but they should. Nearly 25% of all flood claims are paid to properties not located in a "high-risk" flood zone. A lender can require a mortgagee to purchase flood insurance even if it is not federally required.
Bottom line, if you live in Florida, you live in a flood zone and you should have flood insurance!
Please call us at (239) 596-6226 for a flood insurance quote!
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) - A typical homeowners insurance policy specifically excludes damage caused by flood. To provide property owners with a means to protect themselves, in 1968 Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP - Naples, Marco Island, Collier and Lee county all do.
To be eligible, a community must adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances and minimum standards for new and substantially remodeled construction that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding. Owners of existing homes and businesses were not required to rebuild to the higher standards, and in fact many older properties received subsidized rates that did not reflect their true risk of flooding.
The NFIP is administered by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which works with private insurance companies to offer flood insurance to property owners and renters. Flood insurance can be purchased through property and casualty insurance agents like us. The rates you pay depends on many factors including the age, type of construction of the home and most importantly the elevation of the lowest floor of the home.
Write Your Own Program – The Write Your Own (WYO) program began in 1983 as a cooperative undertaking between the private insurance industry and FEMA. The WYO Program allows participating property and casualty insurance companies to write and service the Standard NFIP Flood Insurance Policy in their own names. The private companies receive an expense allowance for policies written and claims processed while the federal government retains responsibility for the underwriting losses.
Private Flood Insurance – On the plus side, when compared to the NFIP, a private flood insurance policy is often able to offer higher limits of coverage, in excess of $250,000, without needing an Excess Flood Insurance policy. A private flood insurance policy may include replacement cost on your building and personal property, broader coverage for your other structures, ordinance and law coverage, additional expense and business income for commercial properties. Generally private insurers don’t require a 30 day wait for coverage to begin and if you bundle the private flood policy with your homeowners policy you may receive a discount and the convenience of having just one claims adjuster in the event of a loss.
On the possible bad side, there may be significant risks from switching from a NFIP, FEMA backed, flood insurance policy to a private flood insurance policy. In some cases the coverage provided by the private insurance policy isn’t as broad as it is under the Standard NFIP Flood insurance policy and there is no guarantee that the insured will be offered a renewal policy by the private market. Since there is a 30 day wait to get back into the NFIP flood program if your private flood policy were to be cancelled or be non-renewed just prior to the hurricane season it may be difficult to obtain a new NFIP before the coming of a storm. Many homeowners are grandfathered into a discounted rate with the NFIP which they will lose if they opt out. Finally, some lenders, including FHA, will not accept a private flood insurance policy because there is no federal guarantee backing the private flood insurance policy in the event of carrier insolvency. Be sure to weigh all of the risks and benefits before switching from a NFIP flood insurance policy to a private flood insurance policy.
Excess Flood – The Standard NFIP Flood Insurance policy will only offer you a maximum limit of $250,000 on your residential building. The non-residential building limit is $500,000, If you need additional coverage above these limits you will need to purchase an Excess Flood insurance policy. The NFIP maximum coverage for your personal possessions is $100,000. An Excess Flood insurance policy does not have a deductible. After your Primary Flood policy claim is settled you can file your Excess Flood policy claim.
Flood Maps - the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) uses statistical data to create flood hazard maps that define a communities different flood risk areas, called flood zones. In 2003 Congress mandated that FEMA update their flood maps to a digital mapping system, DFIRMS (Digital Flood Insurance Maps), which are more accurate and easier to maintain. If the flood risk of your home recently changed is was probably due to Collier County updating their flood zone maps to digital.
Flood Damage/Insurance - Flood insurance policies cover physical damage to your property and possessions caused by a flood. Just a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Flood insurance is a cost effective way to protect your property from a devastating financial loss. Costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers, and the property's flood zone and elevation.
Preferred Risk Policy - Most homeowners and businesses in moderate-to-low risk areas (zone X) are eligible for a low-cost Preferred Risk flood insurance policy.
High-Risk Policy - If your property is located in a high-risk area, zones starting with "A" or "V", and you have a federally insured mortgage you will be required to purchase flood insurance. There is at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage for properties in high risk areas. A standard rated policy offers separate building and contents coverage. Standard rated flood insurance premiums are calculated based on factors like year of construction, building occupancy, number of floors, location of contents, flood zone, your lowest floor elevation, and the deductible you choose.
30 Day Waiting Period - Typically there is a 30 day waiting period from the date of purchase before your flood policy goes into effect with a few exceptions. If you are taking out, increasing, or extending your loan; you are purchasing flood insurance with the 13 month period following a map revision; your lender determines that flood insurance is required where it hadn't been required before; or an additional amount of insurance is being purchased at renewal, then the 30 day waiting period may be waived.
If you would like to discuss your flood insurance questions, please give us a call.
For more information you can visit FEMA, NFIP, and the flood page of the Collier County Government web site.
Call us at (239) 596-6226 for a free flood insurance quote!
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