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Understanding Flood Insurance Rate Maps

How many of you read FEMA’s website on your spare time? How familiar are you with their policies? The reality is that most people go through life unaware of any of the agency’s processes. Life’s To Do list is long enough, and most of the stuff on that site probably won’t affect us anyway… until it does.

FEMA runs a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that develops maps specifying which areas are located in high-risk flood zones, and provides flood insurance for those areas. If your home is located in a high-risk flood zone, you will be required to carry flood insurance.

How are insurance costs calculated?

         A factor that will determine how much you will have to pay in flood insurance will be when your home was built. If it was constructed before FEMA created flood insurance rate maps (FIRM), your premiums will likely be lower. However, to keep paying the lower premiums, you have to make sure you never let your insurance lapse. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with higher post-FIRM rates.

Now, since the only things that are certain in life are death and taxes, your home’s designation may eventually change due to environmental reasons. You may go from a high-risk flood zone to a low risk one or vice versa. And as with any type of insurance, the higher the risk, the higher your premium. Accordingly, FEMA will conduct evaluations every decade or so, and adjust their flood insurance rate maps. It’s up to you to stay updated on these changes, otherwise, you’ll continue paying what you’re paying now.

Is there any way to save money?

         Yes. You can either (a) take advantage of Grandfathering Rules. If your home was built pre-FIRM, you would be covered by the old rules and keep paying lower insurance premiums. Or (b) you can evaluate your home to see if there have been any changes regarding your flood risks. If there are, you can file an appeal with FEMA. 

How do I do an evaluation?

Glad you asked. At National Flood Experts, we’ll do it for free. Yes, for free. If it turns out you are no longer in a high-risk flood zone, we’ll file the required paperwork to get you removed from the flood zone, and even get you a year’s worth of monies already paid reimbursed. Call us and let’s get the ball rolling.

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