Author Topic: Flood Insurance question - HELP!  (Read 2900 times)

Manguy888

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Flood Insurance question - HELP!
« on: April 01, 2015, 11:30:17 AM »
Does anyone know how to look up what a person 'should' be paying in flood insurance? If I understand correctly, it's all run by the government and should be standard, but I'm having a hard time finding answers on the internet.

I live in Rhode Island and in the ten years I've lived in my house I've seen my flood insurance premiums rise to about $2900 per year. I don't live near a beach and this isn't vacation house - my primary residence just happens to be in a flood plain. I didn't have any ill effects from the hurricanes that so badly ravaged NY/NJ. I've heard that average flood policies are much less than this for most places.

I've had my flood policy through Liberty Mutual this whole time and they seriously overcharged me when I had car insurance through them so I can't help but think they're screwing me again. I'm just in a situation where I don't have any knowledge and am not sure how to acquire it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

ThatGuy701

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Re: Flood Insurance question - HELP!
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2015, 12:00:09 PM »
That seams outrageous to me! Our house was put into the flood plain two years ago. We are currently paying a little over $600/year.
I would shop around.

Sibley

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Re: Flood Insurance question - HELP!
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2015, 12:58:57 PM »
I'd contact some different agents and get quotes. It can't hurt, and it might help.

dandarc

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Re: Flood Insurance question - HELP!
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2015, 01:08:29 PM »
There are a lot of factors that go into that flood insurance premium.

https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/residential_coverage/policy_rates.jsp

is a good place to start.  The calculator only works if you're in a low-risk zone - sounds like  you're probably not from that premium though.

If you really want to dig into it https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/34620

Some of this stuff is not intuitive at all, so it will take some time to figure out what your rating should be.

Gimesalot

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Re: Flood Insurance question - HELP!
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2015, 04:13:06 PM »
I understand where you are coming from.  Our policy is $2500 a year. 

First, you should see if you can find FEMA maps of your area.  Search here: https://msc.fema.gov/portal

If you don't think that elevation is correct, you can have a survey done of your property.

Honestly, the only thing you can do is to lower your coverage.  For example, we have no contents on our policy.  We plan on moving everything expensive upstairs in case of a hurricane!

Mrs. PoP

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Re: Flood Insurance question - HELP!
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2015, 04:49:34 AM »
First, you should see if you can find FEMA maps of your area.  Search here: https://msc.fema.gov/portal

+ 1 to this.  Look at the FIRM (flood insurance rate map) for your area and figure out what your BFE (base flood elevation) and rate zone are.  Add them together (if your rate zone has a number in it) and that should be the minimum elevation of your house (including basement) in order to be at market rates for flood insurance. 

Judging from your recent increases, you probably had a subsidized policy before and recent changes to the NFIP (national flood insurance program) are getting rid of subsidies and bringing everyone to paying market rates. 

Because most flood policies are underwritten by the NFIP, changing companies shouldn't change the premiums, though you could probably decrease coverage somewhat and decrease your premiums that way.  You'd want to check with your mortgage holder before doing so as you probably have minimum coverage requirements outlined in those documents. 

Also, one other thing you could look into is seeing if your community participates in the CRS (community rating system).  It's a way for local governments to take community action on flood prevention (things like education, flood mitigation construction techniques - there's a whole list).  The more boxes your community checks off on the CRS list, the bigger the discount on the flood insurance policies for all of the property owners in that area.  We get 30% off one of our policies and 40% off of another due to their localities participation in the CRS to varying degrees.  Look up if your community participates and if it doesn't, call your city/town/county manager and ask why!

I actually wrote this post on flood insurance about a year and a half ago and it's got more detail on how to look up maps and the CRS.  Some of the info on the Biggert Waters Flood Act may be out of date since last I knew they were trying to push through changes to it.  http://www.plantingourpennies.com/flood-insurance-changes-part-1/

Manguy888

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Re: Flood Insurance question - HELP!
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2015, 05:43:22 AM »
Thanks for all the great help everyone.

I did look up my flood map a long time ago. I think that 13' and below is considered being in the flood plain, and my elevation certificate says I'm 10.5, so unfortunately I can't weasel my way out of flood insurance.

I will definitely look up CRS and contact my town manager.

My longer term plan is to get the hell out of a flood zone. There's no benefit to it as I have no ocean view. Pre-mustache my view was 'eh, I can afford it, no big deal'. Now I look at that $3k going out the door every year and think 'why?????'