by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.
If St. Augustine get hits by the Big One, this is what will happen. "Dude, don't talk about flood insurance, you're killing my buzz." Image www.SurfBlogSpot.com
The National Flood Insurance Program will start boosting rates on October 1, 2013. I just attended a seminar at the local Board of Realtors where a panel of insurance specialists outlined the changes and here are some key take aways.
Take away Number One: If Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke twerking at the VMA awards is the hottest thing trending in recent weeks, then combining insurance and real estate in the same room is the anti-Miley Cyrus twerking. But I’m in the business so I had to go. It was actually more imformative than Miley grinding away against Robin, anyway.
Okay, for real now:
1) The flood zone maps for St. Johns County, St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach, and Hastings have NOT been redrawn or changed in any way. Flood zone maps are redrawn from time to time, but the local ones have not been changed.
2) Zones with the letter “A” or the letter “V” are where rates may go up as high as 25% a year. Especially if the home was built before 1974.
3) If you are in zones “A” or “V,” you need to talk to your insurance agent about your new rates. It is my understanding that if you have a current flood policy, and your flood elevation certificate was done after 2008, you don’t need a new certificate. Otherwise you need to get a new flood elevation certificate (you get them from surveyors and they cost between $125-$250), your insurance agent will submit this to the flood insurance program, and this will “set” your new rate in these “A” and “V” zones. Depending on the base flood elevation of the home (as determined by the flood elevation certificate) your current rate may go up or may go down. However, it is my understanding that if you don’t submit a flood insurance certificate it will automatically go up 25% a year. Check with your insurance agent for clarification, but that is how I understand it.
4) Insurance flood elevation is based on the lowest floor where equipment / living area is. So if a home has a crawl space, this might buy you an extra foot or two. Also, there are things you can do to flood proof the home that may take $$ off your rate. Your insurance agent can tell you what these are. It was discussed that it might be cheaper to raise a home already on a crawlspace even higher, than pay the new flood insurance rates.
5) New flood policies in any zone will require an elevation certificate. Duh.
6) If a home is in zone X, for example, but the lot is in zone A, then the flood zone for insurance purposes is zone X. However, if even the tiniest amount of the home, even a patio, touches the A zone, the home has to have A zone flood insurance.
7) Flood elevation certificates should now be done as part of a home’s regular inspections. Normally they are one of the last things done, as part of the survey. By the way, a survey is NOT an elevation certificate. They are two separate things (but they are both done by surveyors, and usually at the same time).
Congress did this because the flood insurance program was heavily subsidized, and they are now trying to make the rates in line with the actual risk.
9) If the Big One hits and there’s a Teahupoo Size Wave, half the town is going to be in the water anyway, more worried about being crushed by the wave than returning to a water damaged home. Such is life in St. Augustine!
Need help buying or selling a home (and finding a good insurance agent)? Hire St. Augustine Team Realty! Just email Kate Stevens, Broker Associate, or call (904) 377-2276.
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