ABOUT FLOOD INSURANCE

Why Purchase Flood Insurance?

Up to twenty percent of all insurance claims are due to flooding sources other than floodplains.  However, flooding due to floodplain areas is the only type of flooding that is subject to flood insurance requirements (as mandated by the federal government).

Regardless of the source of flooding, purchase of flood insurance is essential to secure your investment in real estate.  Its far less expensive to purchase flood insurance than to repair the damage incurred in just one flood event.

Click here to watch a brief video regarding flooding and flood insurance.

Elevation Certificates

An Elevation Certificate (EC) is the document which is required when shopping for flood insurance.  The elevation certificate provides essential information which the insurance underwriter uses to calculate the premium for flood insurance.

The Elevation certificate includes the structure’s finish floor elevation as well as the Base Flood Elevation (water elevation) adjacent to the structure.  Having accurate information can save you thousands of dollars per year on flood insurance!

Base Flood Elevations

If FEMA maps show Base Flood Elevations (BFE’s) for your property, we suggest that you contact your local land surveyor and request that they prepare an elevation certificate on your behalf.

If FEMA maps do NOT show BFE’s, that’s where we can help.  We prepare detailed flood studies in order to calculate the Base Flood Elevations adjacent to your property.  Once we complete our work, we then work in harmony with a local land surveyor in order to prepare your elevation certificate.

Floodplain Mapping

It is quite common to encounter a Zone A (approximate) floodplain.  What this means is that no engineering study has been performed and therefore, no base flood elevations have been calculated for the floodplain.

In order to establish base flood elevations, we prepare a detailed flood study in order to map the floodplain.  These studies utilize detailed methods and are based upon the sciences of hydrology as well as hydraulics.  Hydrologic analysis calculates the amount of storm-water runoff which flows down the waterway during a specific storm event (such as the 100-Year flood).  Hydraulic Analysis calculates the depth of water at any particular geographic location (adjacent to each structure along the waterway).  Click Here to watch a video regarding the 100-year flood and the work which is involved in calculation of the 100-year floodplain.

It is essential to utilize detailed methodology when calculating base flood elevations (in lieu of approximate meth0ds).  In fact, FEMA states that approximate methods are NOT valid for flood insurance purchases.  This is why we always utilize detailed methods in lieu of approximate methods.

Flood Insurance Companies

Provide the elevation certificate to your insurance company and request a quote for flood insurance.  Once you obtain a quote, inspect the document carefully to insure that the critical information contained within the elevation certificate is included within the quote document.  We find that sometimes, information presented via an elevation certificate has a way of not making it to the insurance quote document which results in higher premium costs.

Lenders

Should you be shopping for a mortgage, understand that a lender reserves the right to insure their investment by requiring that the borrower purchase and maintain flood insurance.

If you already own the property and do not have flood insurance, there are instances where the lender will send a letter indicating that flood insurance must be purchased within a certain time frame.  If you get such a letter, be sure to act on it promptly.  Otherwise, the lender can purchase the flood insurance on your behalf.  Experience has shown that flood insurance is less expensive if you will deal directly with the flood insurance company.