Dec 11, 2015
If you own a home, particularly in a place like Bradenton you should know that flood insurance is extremely important regardless of whether you’re “required” to carry it or not.
If you’ve noticed a change in flood maps and found that your flood zone has been downgraded from high flood risk to moderate or low risk, you might be wondering if you need to continue to pay for flood insurance. It is crucial to remember that, even though the risk of flood has been decreased, it has not been removed entirely.
When your flood risk decreases from high to moderate or low, you are eligible for flood insurance at a lower rate than you previously paid. You may think you’re saving money by getting rid of your flood insurance, but if a flood occurs, you will often end up paying much more than you would have in repairs and interest fees. Because of where we’re located, it’s likely if one zone floods many zones will flood, and really all that a lower rated flood zone means is that you pay less for the exact same coverage as someone in a higher rated flood zone.
If your flood zone changes from low or moderate to high risk, flood insurance is federally required and your insurance costs may rise to reflect the increased risk. However, even with this increase, there are still options available to help you save money.
First, the Newly Mapped procedure allows policyholders to save money by offering coverage at a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) rate. This lower cost will last for the first twelve months after the flood map has been revised, helping to make the transition a little less strenuous.
The second way you can save money when flood insurance rates increase is with “Grandfathering.” Basically, if your home was built after the community’s first flood map was issued you can use the grandfather rule in two ways: either purchase an insurance policy before the new map takes effect, or prove that your home was built in compliance with the flood map that was in effect at the time of construction.
If you feel the change in your flood zone is unwarranted, you can request a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR), which would revise the flood hazard information on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) if accepted. In order to request a revision, you must present adequate scientific and/or technical data supporting your request. These revisions can be difficult to obtain, and they usually require the assistance of a land surveyor. However, if you feel that the change in your flood zone was inaccurate, the expense of an elevation survey from a land surveyor could help save you money in the long run.
While it differs in severity, the risk of flooding is real nearly everywhere and it is important to protect your home and property with flood insurance. Remember that it is much better to be proactive and prepare for difficult situations than to have to struggle to repair the damage on your own.
When it comes to preparation, you should also know what to do in the event of a flood in addition to having insurance. Especially if your flood zone has just been changed from low or moderate to high risk, or if you haven’t experienced flooding in a long time, consider these tips for what to do after a flood.