How Well Do You Know Your Flood Insurance?

There have been many changes to flood insurance in the past 2 years. Some more were just instituted last month. Have you kept up to date to see if you will be affected when its time to renew? As of April 1st, 2015 new changes were made to flood insurance where for some this will result in lower rates and more affordable insurance, for others though, the cost will be going up. These are important changes to know for your current insurance and new insurance if you are looking to purchase a new home that may be in a flood zone. If you are buying a new home check this list for some questions you should ask before making your final decision. 

If you do not live in an area that is considered a flood zone you are not required (in most cases) to obtain flood insurance. This is never recommended though. At any time a pipe could burst and cause massive destruction to your home. Most people are not aware that your homeowners insurance policy does not include damages caused by flooding. This is a separate policy you need to obtain. If you are not in a flood zone your policy will most likely not be very costly, the destruction caused by water damage is.

How you reviewed your policies lately? We encourage you to do so. If you have any questions please call us at 813.876.4166

Also, check out this quiz and test your flood insurance knowledge. Post your answers in the comments to be entered in our summer drawing.

 

  1. Is the SFHDF mandatory for all real estate-related loans?
  2. If the SFHDF form shows the property is not in a flood zone but the map indicates it is in a flood zone, which controls?
  3. Can a lender waive flood insurance on a piece of property?
  4. What happens if a lender disagrees with FEMA about a property?
  5. When is a loan considered “made” for flood insurance purposes?
  6. What evidence of coverage does a bank need to have at closing?
  7. How long does proof of coverage have to be maintained?
  8. What rules apply to second mortgage loans?
  9. Do the same rules apply for business and construction loans?
  10. Do the new Consumer Protection regulations that became effective october 1, 2001 apply to flood insurance?

 

 

 

Reducing Household Risks with Tech

Everyone is using technology these days. We carry phones in our pocket that have more power than the first computer. What a lot of people do not realize though is that besides status updates, email and gaming, these devices can monitor home and reduce a tremendous amount of risks.

Smart home technology provides you with the ability to turn your lights on or off, monitor for fire or plumbing leaks, monitor doors and windows and more from your phone, computer or tablet. This is a great tool if you travel and really it is worth it to have in general.

The average damage caused by lightning strikes is over $25 billion a year in just North America alone. Roughly 7% of property and casualty claims are a result of this. Thanks to smart home technology you can have a whole house surge protector. Each protector is installed where electricity service enters the house. These greatly reduce the risk of damage to electronics and appliances that would most likely be ruined otherwise.

You can control the temperature while not at home. Smart thermostats can detect and control the temperature to keep your home at a preset temperature. You can also access this from your phone, computer or tablet to adjust it manually. This is great if you have pets and are not home and the weather drastically changes fast or if you want to adjust the temperature before getting home so you walk into the perfect climate.

Smart home technology can monitor leaks and other issues that may arise with the plumbing. They have the ability to shut off the system so you will not have flood damage. You can also monitor your doors and windows. You will get alerts if any door or window is opened while you are not home. This can work with your home security system as a way to further prevent burglary or theft.

All of these features are relatively easy to control once set-up and very effieicnet in protecting your home.

Are You Ready for a Flood?

You may think you are ready for a flood but are you really? Knee deep water in the basement, drenched carpets, water stained ceilings and walls, ruined furniture and more is just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to having hurricane survival kits for yourself and your pets you want to make sure to cover other bases.

  1. If you are unsure about your flood insurance coverage call your agent and see what your policy(s) cover. Remember that flood insurance is separate from homewoners insurance and needs to be purchased in addition to your existing coverage.
  2. Have any leaks in your home repaired immediately. If your pipes are having problems have them replaced. A pipe can burst at anytime and will cause major flooding and damage to your home.
  3. Have a home inventory of all your valuables, furniture, electronics. The more details you can have the better. Photos are a plus.
  4. Have a family emergency plan and a hurricane survival kit ready to go in the event you get stuck in your home without power or water for an extended period of time you won’t go without.
  5. Keep your eye on the weather and know what could be coming your way. In the event of an evacuation leave immediately.
  6. Never walk or drive through high waters.
  7. Watch out for down power lines.
  8. If you have a multiple story home or attic move valuables and and anything sentimental family memories as high up as possible.
  9. If you know flooding is about to reach your home turn off all electricity and gas to prevent injury or worse. If you are already standing in water do not touch any electrical sources.
  10. After the flood act quickly and immediately report the loss to your insurance agent.
  11. Be careful to not turn back on any electrical or gas power yourself. Wait to have a professional look at it.
  12. Take as many photos as you can of damaged areas and belongings to document the damage for your insurance company.

 

Do You Need Flood Insurance?

One of the biggest questions homeowners have is whether or not they need flood insurance. Some people assume it is part of their homeowners insurance policy but it is not. If you live in a flood zone you are most likely required to have flood insurance. If you are in an area that you know is flood-prone but does not require the insurance you may want to look into what coverage you can get. Flood insurance will cover your home and possessions in the event of water damage. A typical homeowners insurance policy will not.

To go into this a bit more, your homeowners insurance will most likely cover damage caused by a pipe bursting, plumbing issues, leaky faucets or other general household things but it will not cover damage caused by severe weather or flooding from rivers, sewers or other nearby water. This is why you need a separate flood insurance policy to protect your home and possessions.

You have to purchase your flood insurance from a private insurance company. It is not sold through FEMA. The government sets the rates which remain the same from one insurer to the next. You may be able to save some money by using the same company you already have for your homeowners insurance and other policies. Bundling your insurance is always a great way to qualify for discounts.

Even if you live in an area that is considered a low to moderate risk area you may want to still look into having flood insurance. To see what are you are in and what you are close to you can enter your address and see where are you are on the FEMA flood maps. You could be right on the border so even if you are considered low to moderate risk something major could still happen.

 

Are You Prepared For Summer Storms While Driving?

Summertime can bring extreme weather. Even if we do not find ourselves the victim of a hurricane there are still several torrential downpours during the season. Almost daily you can expect to get hit with heavy storm. Surely many of us find ourselves pulling over or stopping somewhere when it gets to the point we cannot see out of the windshield anymore. Our last several blogs have focused on the importance of ensuring our homes, pets and families are secure, so now we would like to focus on safe driving in this weather.

Here are some tips to help you be a safer driver in the event of extreme weather:

  1. Do not drive unless it is absolutely necessary, and if you must plan the safest route.
  2. Keep your radio on and listen for weather updates.
  3. Turn on your headlights and hazards and drive slowly. In most states it is a law to have your headlights on during inclement weather.
  4. Watch for trees or other obstructions that can be in the road during storms.
  5. Do not follow close. When roads are slick you need extra time and room for breaking.
  6.  Steer clear of flooded roadways.
  7. Keep an eye out for down power lines.
  8. Being in a car is safer than being outside if lightening was to strike.
  9. Regularly check your tires and windshield wipers. It is good practice to replace your wiper blades every 6-12 months. If you live in an area with heavy rains you may have to change more often.
  10. When coming to an intersections, approach with extreme caution.
  11. Just because you have control of your car does not mean every one else does. Always be aware of your surroundings, keep a safe following distance and drive defensively.
  12. Avoid contact with metal surfaces inside your car or outside.

For information about driving in a tornado check here.

For information about dealing with a hail storm check here.

The Weather Channel has great tips for dealing with flooding that are very helpful this time of year as well.