If you currently own a home or are considering purchasing a home in South Florida, you need to make sure that you carefully consider your options for purchasing flood insurance. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage, so this is a separate policy you will need to purchase in order to protect your home.
Until 2014, as a Floridian your only option when it came to buying flood insurance was to purchase coverage under FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
While the NFIP is intended, “to reduce the impact of flooding . . .by providing affordable insurance to property owners,” substantial premium increases prompted the Florida legislature to open up the flood insurance market to private carriers. In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, FEMA increased the NFIP premiums once again in 2015.
Still, the NFIP remains a popular choice for Florida homeowners. If you are shopping for flood insurance in Florida, here are four facts you should know about the NFIP:
Four Key Facts for Florida Homeowners to Know about NFIP Flood Insurance
1. In 2015, Premiums Increased On Average by 9% to 25%.
According to FEMA, with the 2015 rate increase, most homeowners saw their premiums go up by nine percent. However, preferred-risk policy premiums (in low-risk flood zones) increased by 15%, and for grandfathered pre-flood zone homes, the increase was as high as 25%.
2. In Florida, the NFIP Isn’t Your Only Option for Flood Insurance.
As we mentioned above, new legislation in enacted in 2014 allows Florida homeowners to obtain private flood insurance directly instead of purchasing a policy through the NFIP. The new law gives homeowners four policy options: Standard, Preferred, Customized and Supplemental.
3. You Can Find Your Property’s Flood Zone and Insurance Rate Online
Premium rates for NFIP policies are determined based upon Flood Insurance Rate Maps, or flood maps. You can find out whether your property is in a high, moderate, or low flood-risk area by viewing these maps on FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center.
4. NFIP Policies Are Still Issued by Private Carriers.
Even if you purchase flood insurance through the NFIP, your policy may still be serviced by a private insurance company. You should make sure you know which carrier holds your policy, and you should have your flood insurer’s contact information handy in case you experience a flood. The NFIP provides more tips for filing flood insurance claims on its website. However, as we have cautioned previously, you should be very cautious about relying on any advice provided by your insurer.
Speak With Our Fort Lauderdale Hurricane Damage Attorneys About Your Hurricane or Other Flood Insurance Claim
If your home sustained damage in a hurricane or other storm, the attorneys at Saavedra | Goodwin in Fort Lauderdale can help you enforce the terms of your flood insurance policy. For more information about how we help South Florida homeowners protect their rights against their insurers, please request a consultation online or call (954) 928-9568 today.