With the recent and tragic flooding that just occurred in Colorado, we thought it would be beneficial to discuss a topic that all too often is overlooked or ignored: flood insurance. Our thoughts go out to those who have been impacted by the rising waters, and we hope our information can help prepare others with the necessary information about flood insurance and risk assessment. The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, enacted in July of last year, will have major effects on the flood insurance market starting the beginning of next month. While it is still the best idea for all homeowners to purchase flood insurance, these changes will increase insurance costs for homeowners in higher-risk areas. In this post, we will discuss the flood insurance program, what it costs, and tips for lowering your flood insurance premiums. Before the 1950s, flood coverage was part of a standard home owner’s insurance policy. Due to the increasing losses to insurers from floods during this time period, flood coverage was removed from the homeowner’s policies and sold by private insurers as a separate policy. By the 1960s, however, these separate flood insurance policies had become unprofitable and homeowners could no longer buy them. In 1965, Hurricane Betsy caused over a billion dollars in damages; those suffering from flood damage had no insurance available to them. In response to this disaster, the federal government established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968. You can learn about the program here: http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/
Flood insurance is available to anyone living in the vast majority of communities participating in the NFIP. Coverage is usually only required for houses at high flood risk with federally backed mortgages, which helps explain why half of all policies sold are in Florida or Texas. The average policy costs only $352 in a low-risk area, but can be considerably more expensive in high-risk areas. For many years, the NFIP ran deficits and housing built before the program started received subsidized rates. With the reform act, these subsidies have ended and the program must make up its deficit within ten years. As a result, rates in high-risk areas have shot up and are above $10,000 in some areas. If you are looking to build a new post and beam home, then selecting a building site in a low risk area is the best way to make sure your flood insurance premiums are low. You can find out if your site is in a high or low risk zone on the floodsmart website. Our skilled network of independent representatives can help you select the best building site for your project.
If you must build within a high-risk area, then our designers can work with you to build a style that reduces the risk of flood and your insurance premiums. For example, our carriage house style homes have garage space at ground level with the living spaces elevated above. Not only does the carriage style home have great visual appeal, but it also helps reduce flood risk and insurance premiums by elevating living space above the floodplain. If you'd like to learn more about designing a post and beam home please contact Timberpeg.