The often forgotten insurance topic...until it's to late and costly. Whether you desire to head off a family financial disaster or just not wanting to burden others, a cost effective life insurance policy is a good investment that requires a timely decision. Unfortunately, many wait until age or medical conditions make coverage nearly impossible to obtain. Most discover job provided life insurance expires when retiring or terminated from employment. Others wait until later age when premiums skyrocket (typically term insurance premiums increase 8% - 10% every year of age). A surprise medical condition can trigger an instant decline. There are also many new life insurance plans that provide much more then just a death benefit. Better to call your insurance agent and learn your options today. They might not be available tomorrow. www.craighrogersins.com
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Elevation Certificate (FEMA form 086-0-33) is a tool used to provide building elevation information to ensure compliance with community floodplain management ordinances, determining proper flood insurance premium rates, or to support a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) an official amendment, by letter, to an effective National Flood Insurance Program map establishing a property''s location in relation to the Special Flood Hazard Area.
The key ingredients to a flood Elevation Certificate are engineer obtained measurements (ie grade outside a home, basement floor, slab, garage floor, etc.) compared to a communities flood zone Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Properties in high-risk flood zones have a BFE, which reflects the height (in feet) above sea level that flood water is projected to rise in a “100-year” storm (a storm that has a 1% per year chance of causing the area to flood).
Basically, if your Elevation Certificate figures are greater than the communities BFE your flood insurance costs are substantially decreased. Inversely for elevation figures less than the BFE, the higher your flood insurance costs.
Local building department ordinances may require a homes elevation certificate prior to the installation of an upgraded electrical panel, generator or a new HVAC system, to insure devices are installed above the areas Base Flood Elevation (BFE).
When determining flood insurance rates, an Elevation Certificate can be used to support a specific home or buildings higher construction elevation compared to the flood zone BFE assigned to an entire community. In some cases, a few hundred dollar flood Elevation Certificate purchase can save thousands in future annual insurance premiums. For example, in a community with a high risk flood zone a dwelling that includes a basement often is below the area BFE and likely pays the highest flood insurance cost. Typically, dwellings built on a slab or crawl space pay less and most often are the best candidates for obtaining an elevation certificate to further reduce insurance costs.
Older constructed homes are referred to as Pre-FIRM buildings or those built before the effective date of the first Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for a community. At present, single family owner occupied homes can be insured using "subsidized" rates, thus reducing the cost of flood insurance. Post-FIRM buildings are both new construction and those built after the effective date of the first FIRM for a community. Insurance rates for Post-FIRM buildings are dependent on the elevation of the lowest floor (ie. basement flood, slab, crawlspace, etc.) compared to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). As such Post-Firm buildings require an Elevation Certificate to provide the elevation figures
Contact your local Flood Insurance agent to better understand your homes flood insurance needs and whether a flood Elevation Certificate may help your reduce insurance costs.
Large national insurance carriers advertise 15-20% savings if you switch homeowners insurance companies, But your neighborhood insurance agent is far more motivated to find even larger savings. A local agent is only successful if he builds a reputation of being honest, provides the right coverage, is there for clients in times of loss, and works hard to meet all your insurance needs at a competitive price. Large direct sale (including online) insurance carriers are sales & profit driven and have a mixed reputation in these areas. Unlimited advertising dollars tend to hide many sins. Your insurance agent down the street, is concerned daily with the quality of services, reputation and making sure that the each insured is getting his or her full attention.
We find many large carrier examples of homeowners and flood insurance polices that are rated wrong causing excessive premiums. This includes homeowners insurance annual auto-rate increases that steadily drive coverage limits for beyond replacement cost (the cost of replacing your home to it's original condition). Which causes insureds to pay for coverage they'd never benefit from. To often insureds have become overly trusting, especially those that pay home & flood insurance with their mortgage escrow funds. The bank requires you to obtain homeowners insurance for the loan amount, which most often is greater then the homes replacement cost. Year after year the insurance policies are paid by mortgage companies (from insured escrow accounts) that only care that the home insurance coverage is greater then the balance of the loan.. The mortgage companies don't tell home owners, when the balance of the loan drops below the homes replacement cost Once again the home owner ends up paying for additional coverage they'll never benefit from. Your local agent is responsible to your community and is motivated to annually review your coverage and prevent these and other wasteful insurance practices..
Annually check whether your Flood insurance declaration page is set to "Primary Residence: N or Y" (see rating information section). For single family owner occupied homes only, Flood Insurance annually requires you provide proof of primary residency (ie. signed "Statement of Primary Residence Status" form, drivers license copy, etc.) in order to receive a premium subsidy. Failing to do so results in a premium increase at a rate of 25% a year (plus HFIAA $250 surcharge) until full non subsidized premium is reached. This can typically be a $500-600 premium increase! A primary resident, must live in the home 50% of the time to qualify for the subsidiary (single family homes only). A principal resident (effects amount able to collect for a claim) must live there 80% of the time.
Mortgage companies will NOT take care of this for you and will simply pay the higher premium from your escrow account. If you miss the proof of primary residency request prior to policy renewal, you can submit proof during the policy period and request a reimbursement of over paid premium.
Also, mortgagee amounts can drive required flood insurance limits higher then necessary. As you pay down your mortgage, have your agent help assess your flood insurance limits of coverage (building & contents).
Next we'll discuss Flood Elevations Certificates.
Contractors need to pay closer attention to the exclusions and coverage forms in their General Liability policies. For example when utilizing independent & sub-contractors Hold Harmless agreements and written insurance requirements may be required, otherwise your coverage will not apply for their work on your behalf. All General liability insurance policies have exclusions of coverage (ie. no condo work, jobs on 14 or more residential units, commercial vs residential limitations, etc.). Review and understand both yours and your sub-contractors general liability exclusions listed in your policy declaration pages. Depending on your general liability carrier, you may be able to "buy back" an exclusions from your insurance company, Thus obtaining coverage for a particular job without having to change policies. Your agent can explain the exclusions and how they may effect your business.