Flood insurance has been a hot topic of conversation over the past few months. Devastating flooding in Texas and recent changes in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) have brought it to the attention of many.
If you live in Savannah, you’re likely paying close attention because Savannah sits in a low-lying coastal plain and is vulnerable to flooding. Land in the Isle of Hope area (including Ferguson Avenue and Dutch Island) is located in low, moderate, and high flood risk zones.
On April 1 of 2015, the NFIP made changes to its flood insurance policies. It restored “grandfathering,” implemented new ratings procedures for “newly mapped” properties, and put new caps on premium increases.
The NFIP has always subsidized or discounted policy rates for “pre- FIRM” properties, or structures constructed prior to the effective date of the community’s first FIRM (Flood Insurance Rating Map). A few years ago, new legislation, Biggert Waters, phased out premium discounts for these “grandfathered” properties.
On April 1, the Homeowner FloodInsurance Affordability Act (HFIAA) restored grandfathering. Now these “grandfathered” properties can pay a discounted premium based on other properties from their previous, less risky flood zone. HFIAA also took away FEMA’s authority to increase flood insurance rates on sold properties. Now buyers can assume the seller’s current policy
Newly Mapped Properties
If your property has been “newly mapped” into a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), you can qualify for a discounted premium the first year. The premium matches a Preferred Risk Policy for home owners in low- or moderate-risk flood zones. You must get coverage that is effective within 12 months of the revision date. (Property remapped between October 1, 2008 and March 31, 2015 must start coverage before April 1, 2016.) In year two, the “Newly Mapped” policy adjusts to a full-risk rate, but the average premium
increases cannot exceed 18%. Also, most flood premiums can only go up 18% a year (Business properties, non-primary residences, “severe repetitive loss” properties and “substantially damaged or improved” properties can rise by 25% per year)until full-risk rates are reached.
If you’d like more information about your home’s specific flood zone call me at 912-844-9000. Or you can send me an email.