Everyone has seen the images on TV: hurricanes battering the coast, rivers overflowing their banks, leaves being breached. But did you know that 20 percent of flood insurance claims filed annually are by individuals living outside high risk flood areas? Do you know what flood zone you live in? Are you in an area that is considered a high risk for flooding? If so, it means you have a 25% chance of experiencing flooding in a 30 year period. That may not sound like much but I bet you’d play the lottery if you had a 1 in 4 chance of winning. Does your community participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)? If not then you cannot purchase flood insurance, but fortunately most areas, especially with a higher risk of flooding, do participate. Check out floodsmart.gov for additional information about flood insurance.
Most mortgage companies require the homeowner to purchase flood insurance if you live in a high risk area, and some require it even if you do not. If you are not required to have flood insurance you may still want to consider purchasing a “preferred risk policy’. These are policies which are available at a reduced rate for individuals living outside flood-prone areas. If you choose not to acquire a policy and flooding does occur then low interest rate loans may be available to help recover from the damage. However, the interest alone for these loans will likely be several times the annual premium for flood insurance, and that doesn’t even include paying back the principal on the loan.
Lets assume you have decided to opt for flood insurance whether you live in a high risk area or not. What can you do to help bring down the cost of the policy? They may be able to save you money on your other policies because you have multiple policies through them, including your flood insurance. Next check with your community. Some newer communities, especially in higher risk areas, have made improvements to the landscape that mitigate the risk of flooding. Simply applying for a NFIP policy may not flag that these improvements have been completed.
Other ways to potentially save on flood insurance would include making modifications to your property or structure they may actually reduce the risk of flooding. This could include raising the height of your house, especially if you are in the building phase, so that the house is actually above the flood plane. If you are at the edge of a flood plane you may consider constructing some earthen berms as part of you landscaping. Done correctly and this could help keep flood waters away from your house and beautify your yard in the process. If you are doing any of these simply to save money on your flood insurance policy check with your agent first. Chances are community officials will have to be involved to validate that the improvements have been made and to petition the NFIP on your behalf, but depending where you live the savings could be considerable.
At Virginia Beach insurance company WBR Insurance we offer a full portfolio of policies, including small business flood insurance. We pride ourselves in establishing personal relationships with our customers to assist you in protecting what matters most. To get a free quote for your Virginia Beach flood insurance needs, give us a call at 757-340-0028 or visit our website www.WBRInsurance.com.
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