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10 Ways To Save On Flood Insurance

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 | August 8, 2019

 

Flood insurance is often one of the more expensive supplemental homeowners’ insurance polices, but don’t let the cost deter you from completely protecting your home. Did you know that just one inch of water can cost more than $20,000 in structural and contents damage? That’s a chunk of change for a little bit of water—and those costs would be coming out of your pocket if you didn’t have flood insurance. Depending on where you live, the cost of flood insurance can vary, and for some, it can be quite expensive. That’s why we’ve rounded up 10 ways to save on flood insurance.

Flood insurance is a wise consideration for most homeowners, as even homes in low risk flood zones are becoming higher risk. Consider that flooding is more than just hurricanes - from flash floods to municipal water line breaks, there are many ways your home can be affected by flood.

But don’t let flood insurance flood your financials! There are ways to save money on your flood insurance without sacrificing coverage—or risking your home and wallet in the process.

Ways to Save on Flood Insurance

1. Shop around for flood insurance.

Some people believe that they can only get flood insurance through one avenue, but you have options. You can compare different quotes to find the right coverage at the right price.

There are two main types of flood insurance: public and private. You’ll want to compare plans of both types to see which works best for you.

Types of flood insurance

“Public” insurance is offered with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through FEMA. To get NFIP insurance, you need to live in one of the 21,000 U.S. communities that participate. For some people, the NFIP insurance is cheaper than private insurance-but not always. The premium cost can range from $100 to $1,200, depending on your community and home risk. The basic NFIP program covers up to $250,000 in building property damage and up to $100,000 for personal property. 

Private flood insurance is offered through independent companies, but it’s usually backed or guaranteed by the state. Although this can be a more expensive option, they usually offer higher coverage limits, shorter wait times, and additional benefits like temporary short-term housing if you have to relocate after a flood.

When to pick private flood insurance

Sometimes NFIP insurance premiums are lower, and sometimes private insurance premiums are lower. You really have to run the comparison yourself to see which is actually better for your specific situation.

You’ll especially want to consider private insurance if you live in a low-risk flood zone or if you live in a high-risk flood zone without a significant history of flooding. Private insurance is usually recommended if you want protection from unexpected floods, but flooding isn’t common in your area. 

You may also want to consider private insurance if you have a lot of safety features on your home. Although the NFIP will typically lower premiums if you have a flood-resistant or elevated home, they usually stay in a pretty consistent range within a community. If you have taken specific precautionary measures against flood, a private insurance company may reward you with better discounts.

When to choose public flood insurance

Typically, the NFIP offers lower premiums than private insurance in some situations, like homes in high-risk flood zone areas. Some mortgage lenders may also not accept private flood insurance programs, so you’ll need to ensure your private company is approved; if not, you likely qualify for NFIP instead.

If you’re interested in applying for FEMA program grants, you’ll usually also need to participate in NFIP. Plus, if you leave the NFIP program, it may cost you more if you try to rejoin at a later date.

At InsuraMatch, we work with both public and private flood insurance and can help you compare rates quickly and easily. Give an expert insurance advisor a call today at (844) 819-2230 to compare quotes.

2. Talk to an agent about flood insurance.

Don’t shop blind. Have an insurance agent on your side who specializes in flood. They’ll be able to examine your risk and coverage levels to ensure you have adequate coverage at the best possible rate. They may also be able to suggest potential features or discounts you can use to further lower your rate.

Talk to one of our flood specialists now to get started by calling (844) 819-2230.

Note: You usually want your flood insurance to match your standard homeowners insurance limits for both structural coverage and contents coverage. That means if your homeowners limits are $500,000 in property and $100,000 in contents, that’s how much you would get paid out in the event of a complete loss of your home. If you assume that a flood would and could cause a complete loss as well, you’d want to still be paid out that same amount.

3. Elevate your appliances.

Both NFIP and private insurers will usually lower your premium if your utilities are elevated up from flood zone areas in your home, like the garage or basement. It’s recommended to move your A/C, electrical, heating, ventilation, and plumbing to an attic, upstairs closet, or other raised platform. This keeps your most expensive, “core” parts of the house away from the areas of flood and the most amount of damage.

4. Elevate living areas.

Although this can be a more expensive option, elevating your key living spaces (or the entire building) at least 3 feet above base flood elevation is one of the strongest ways to save on flood insurance long-term. You may even be able to cut your annual flood premium in half by keeping your home elevated away from potential floodwaters. Even three feet of elevation can make a huge difference between complete water damage and a dry, warm house. 

5. Wet flood-proof your home.

Wet flood-proofing is when you install defense measures in your home that come into play if a flood were to happen. These are the features that help reduce damage after your home is already “wet.”

If a portion of your home sits below the base flood elevation, FEMA highly recommends wet-proofing. This is especially true for garages, basements, and crawlspaces. Wet flood-proofing has two key features: 

  • Constructing or rebuilding low elevation areas with flood-resistant materials
  • Inputting flood openings (vents) in the foundation and walls that allow the floodwaters to flow out of the house without needing a pump (Note: If your flood openings don’t meet the building code in your area, you’ll likely be charged more in your flood premiums.)

6. Dry flood-proof your home.

Dry flood-proofing is when you install preventative features to prevent floodwaters from entering the home. These work to keep your home “dry” against floodwaters.

You can take different steps to dry flood-proof, but the most effective are sealants and barriers that prevent water from seeping into the home. You may also want to install a drainage system to divert water away from your house.

7. Don’t lapse in coverage.

If you lapse in flood coverage, you’re likely to see a spike in your premiums. Like any type of insurance, you don’t want even a day in between when switching insurers or you could be dealing with long-term cost bumps.

One way to avoid lapses in coverage is to transfer the previous owner’s flood policy if you’re buying a new home. If you’re purchasing a home in a flood zone, the seller likely has their own flood policy currently in place. They can transfer this to you, which ensures you don’t lapse in coverage during your move. It also helps you avoid the typical waiting period for NFIP and maintains a lower premium average.

8. Increase your deductible.

Flood insurance has a deductible, which means you’ll have to pay a certain amount out of pocket before your insurance will pay you in the case of a claim. Raising your deductible will usually help lower your premiums slightly, but you’ll want to compare plans to ensure the savings are worth the higher assumption of risk.  

Tip: We recommend keeping a “deductible fund” for your homeowners’ and flood insurance. This stores money away in the case that a claim happens and you have to pay your deductible, so you’re never left unable to pay for home repairs.   

9. Ask about grandfathered plans.

If your home is low-risk now but later becomes high-risk, it will raise your premium rate. So even one flood could drastically raise premiums. Before this might happen, you might want to chat with your insurance agent to see if they offer a plan to grandfather you into your current premium within your low-risk flood zone rating. This helps ensure your premiums won’t drastically rise over time, regardless of if there is a flood or not.

10. Look into FEMA grants.

FEMA runs a Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program, which works to reduce risk of disaster before it hits. If you live in a high-risk flood zone, you may be able to apply to grants or assistance plans through this program. These grants can be used to make adjustments to your home to make it more flood proof, like elevation or wet/dry flood-proofing, which can result in a lowered annual premium.

Conclusion

Flood insurance can be expensive, but there are ways to save. This valuable coverage is important (and sometimes mandatory!) for homes in high-risk areas. Talk with an insurance agent to review the options and discounts available to you, as well as the different ways you can lower your risk to help lower your premium.

 

Compare flood insurance quotes with one of our expert insurance advisors at (844) 819-2230 today.

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