Flooding can happen just about anywhere, and since homeowners insurance explicity does not cover flooding, for many homeowners around the US, flood insurance is an important consideration. While flood insurance rates can run high in areas with greater risk, recovering from flood damage without insurance can be extremely expensive. Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce your flood insurance premiums. By working with a trusted flood insurance agent, there may be ways to save by tweaking your exisiting flood insurance policy or make some changes to your home.
How To Reduce Your Flood Insurance Rates
The first and simplest step is to re-evaluate your policy by calling a flood insurance trained agent who can access your coverage needs and determine your home’s rating factors, which can decrease your premiums. An agent will go over each rating factor with you in detail. In some cases, specialized flood agents find mistakes with an original policy and fixing those mistakes can result in savings. Give one of our flood advisors a call today at (844) 300-3367.
The other area to examine is coverage levels. Depending on which state you live in, you may be required to have your flood insurance policy coverage levels match your homeowners insurance limits. Building or structural coverage covers your foundation and home damage, but contents coverage will insure equipment that supports the structure, like furnaces, water heaters, and circuit breakers. In one or both of these coverage areas, you may be overpaying (or, worse, underpaying for inadequate coverage). A home inventory can help you determine how much contents coverage you need for your belongings, and reviewing the coverage you have in place with a licensed agent will help you ensure you have the proper coverage in place.
In higher priced coastal communities, NFIP coverage may not be enough in the event of a total loss. The federal program will cover up to $250,000 to rebuild a home and up to $100,000 for the contents. These levels may be adequate for some communities, say in Upstate New York, with less risk of coastal flooding and comparatively lower property values than a coastal home in Long Island, NY. If so, this would mean an additional cost through either an additional flood insurance or a supplemental insurance policy or both. You can talk with a flood insurance advisor about your options at (844) 300-3367.
More Steps That Can Reduce Flood Insurance Premiums
For many homeowners with high flood insurance payments, there are options to decrease premiums. Here are some strategies:
1. Elevate Utilities
Many home utilities are at risk in basements or if they are located beneath the base flood elevation, which is a computed elevation to which flood water is expected to rise during a 100-year base flood. By relocating your primary structural utilities, you’ll most likely see a decrease in your premiums. NFIP recommends that you consider moving utilities to your attic, an extra closet or perhaps an elevated platform.
2. Elevate Living Areas
Elevate your structure above the base flood elevation. This is a more expensive option, but will save you money over the course of several years. Many homeowners in New Jersey went this route following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. You can save hundreds of dollars for every foot the elevated floor is located above your community’s established base flood elevation, according to NFIP. Elevating just one foot above the base flood elevation often results in a 30% reduction in annual premiums. A homeowner with an elevated home with its first floor elevated 3 feet above the base flood elevation can expect to save 60% or more on annual flood insurance premiums, they say.
3. Provide Foundation Openings
Adding proper flood openings can also reduce your costs. If you’re located in a floodplain, you can install flood openings or flood vents in your foundation. One common reason why insurance policies are rated so severely is due to a lack of proper flood openings. IBC/IRC minimum building code requirements for “foundation vents” in areas outside the floodplain may not meet the same specifications as “flood openings” or “flood vents” within a floodplain.
“For buildings in the floodplain, there must be at least two openings with 1 sq. inch of opening per sq ft of enclosed area and the bottom of those openings can be no higher than 1ft above the exterior finished grade,” according to NFIP. “There are no discounts for “partial credit.” If you have 1000 sq feet of enclosed crawlspace and 900 sq inches of openings, you will be charged as though there are no openings (i.e., basement loading fees could apply). Don’t forget that garage doors, windows, and doors do not count as flood openings unless they have openings installed within them.”
NFIP says the most effective option is to relocate your home on an area of your property that has its natural grade above the base floodplain. In this case, you can eliminate the need for mandatory or premium flood insurance entirely. This may or may not be an option for you due to cost or if your entire property is at or below the floodplain.
If you have the benefit of contracting new construction, planning ahead with some of these options makes the most sense.
Get your free flood evaluation and quote by calling (844) 300-3367. Our licensed flood advisors will help you find the right policy for your home and budget.
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