Method 1: Look for a Historical Map
One way to score a better rate is to grandfather the property in under a historical map. This works when the home was built to flood compliance at construction time but the map changed later.
If your house is in a neighborhood where developers built homes after 1974, a historical map can show that the house was built to comply with the flood zone code in effect at the time of construction. This is helpful when the flood zone map changed after the house was built. And that’s quite possible.
Flood maps change. So, a home might be built to low risk flood zones code (X flood zone) and a new map moved the home into a higher risk flood zone (AE flood zone) 15 years after the home was built.
With this method, we grandfather the flood insurance premium under the historical map as “built-in compliance at the time of construction”. This can save hundreds in flood insurance costs.
Method 2: Get an Elevation Certificate (EC)
Is the premium for your NFIP flood policy increasing every year? Does it always go up about 25% per year?
You could be impacted by a standard increase the NFIP applies to any property that doesn’t have an elevation certificate (EC) applied to the policy.
You see, the NFIP believes every property should have an EC. They try to force you to comply and bend to their will by penalizing you with higher premiums. Unfortunately, most people don’t even know this is what is happening to them.
And to make matters worse, you must pay to get the EC they want so very badly.
Most general insurance agents are not Flood Nerds. You could ask them about the increases and they won’t even know why they are happening or how to make them stop.
Yep, you end up paying for your agent’s ignorance about flood insurance.
But the Flood Nerds know all about the NFIP and their obsession with ECs. That’s why we recommend to homebuyers that if the lender requires flood insurance, ask the seller to provide you with an EC or compensate you for the cost of obtaining the EC.
ECs cost anywhere from $500 – $1,200. The Flood Nerds can get you an estimate for an EC if you need one. We can also see if the private market is a better way for you to get flood insurance coverage.
Method 3: Buy Your Flood Insurance As Soon As Your Flood Zone Changes
FEMA rolls out new maps every few months. These new maps can move properties into or out of lender required flood maps. If your home is moved into a higher-risk flood zone, say from an X to an AE, then you have one calendar year to purchase a flood insurance policy at a significantly reduced rate.
You get the reduced rate because the government heavily subsidizes the premium and gives you access to a Prefered Risk Policy (PRP). If you don’t act in time and miss the deadline, you really pay for your procrastination. The premiums jump like crazy.
Even if you are planning on selling your home, get the PRP policy while it is available. The policy is transferable to the buyers and they’ll love that reduced rate as much as they love the quartz counters in your kitchen. And it takes the issue of flood insurance off the negotiation table.
Method 4: Make Flood Mitigation Improvements
Did you know there are some improvements you can make to your property that will significantly reduce your premium?
The Flood Nerds know this stuff because we are obsessed with all things flood insurance related. Let the Flood Nerds look at your property and EC. We just might have some ideas on improvements that can reduce your NFIP flood insurance premiums.
One great way to do this is with flood venting. This is perfect for homes elevated over a crawlspace, garage, or unfinished lower level. When you add venting, you remove the lowest floor from the rating consideration. Without vents, that crawl space, garage or unfinished access level is considered the lowest level. With vents, we can consider the next floor up the lowest level. That can totally change the rates if you change the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). And with an NFIP policy, anything that is -2 or higher, then the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) will see significant premium decreases. Sure, this is a little nerdy, but it’s just the stuff we Flood Nerds love.
You can also move the mechanical systems above the BFE. Just by moving the water heater, furnace, and air handler off of the lowest floor and up to the roof or attic, you get a premium credit on your policy and more money in your wallet.
Method 5: Ask Flood Nerds to Shop Your Flood Insurance
This is the method that is guaranteed to save you money.
The Flood Nerds use the methods above and a few other tricks we have up our sleeves. Then we use our super powers to shop your property on the private flood insurance markets.
We only shop with prescreened underwriters, so you get the best coverage, the best price, and the best policy for your needs. We only work with highly-rated insurers, so you rest easy knowing when you need it, you’re fully covered.