Fort Myers Flood Insurance Mandatory or Not SWFL Insurance Agency Inc.has Information that You Must Know

SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. provides flood insurance service seriously for our Fort Myers, FL area customers. We suggest going with the highest level of insurance available and don’t take chances since nearly every area in Fort Myers, FL is in a flood zone. 

Since 1968, flood insurances has been mandated in a home that has a mortgage. Many renters will also choose to cover any of their personal damages with another small flood insurance policy. It’s important to know what flood zone that you live in.

Rethinking Your Current Flood Insurance or Possibly Dropping It?

A couple of things that you must keep in mind is that if a storm or hurricane hits, you cannot buy flood insurance and have it approved until a 30-day waiting period. Also, if your area hasn’t flooded in the past years, you definitely shouldn’t play those odds and go without it. 

High waters can come unexpectedly and don’t have to be accompanied by a hurricane, which would most likely mean FEMA won’t stop in with any kind of storm damage repairs or finances. 

Protect Your Family and Home with Flood Insurance from SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. 

Maybe your flood insurance isn’t mandatory, but it won’t just be included in your homeowner’s policies. Most of our current clients prefer to add on additional flood insurance because it’s a smart idea. Floods are the first natural disaster out of any natural disaster when it comes to the amounts of times that we experience them. All properties in Florida may be in a flood zone but not all have mandatory flood zone requirements. 

What Should I Expect When I Purchase Flood Insurance?

Lee County, highly depends on which flood zone that you reside in. Other things that affect the premium is the type of the structure, required elevation, how elevated your floor is to the ground it is one, and whether you are in a FEMA Flood Zone. 

Excess Flood Coverage: When Basic Flood Policies Aren’t Enough

Like the rest of the state, the area surrounding Fort Myers, FL is prone to severe seasonal flooding. Is your basic flood insurance enough? SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. wants you to be prepared for the wet weather. How can you tell if you need excess flood insurance?

  • Your primary policy doesn’t cover the total value of your home. In case of severe flooding, your home may need extensive repairs to the foundation, subflooring, and support structures. These expensive repairs can quickly eat into your primary payout, leaving you liable for a large out-of-pocket contribution. Higher-value homes need excess flood coverage to protect the owner’s personal wealth.
  • You own a commercial business. Does your business owner policy include flood coverage? Check with your agent to ensure your inventory, equipment, and buildings are covered. In combination with other policies, excess flood insurance gives business owners the capital they need to rebuild after a catastrophic storm or accidental flooding.
  • You are a collector. High-value possessions like jewelry, artwork, musical instruments, and antiques are difficult to replace. However, without enough insurance, finding equivalent replacements may be impossible. After paying for repairs to your property, there is rarely enough left over from your primary payout to replace your precious items as well. Excess flood insurance provides enough funds to replace and repair all of your important items. Even these policies, however, may not fully cover the value of lost items. Talk with your insurance agent about additional policies to protect high-value collectibles.
  • You’re a landlord. Don’t risk losing months of investment income because you don’t have enough cash to repair your property after a flood. Excess flood insurance allows you to fix damages while still making regular payments to the bank.

SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. serves the insurance needs of residents and business owners in the Fort Myers, FL area. Contact us for more information on excess flood insurance.

 

Parametric Insurance…an innovative way to cover that Huge Windstorm Deductible, the Dock Damage, the Tree Removal, etc. during the next storm….

Homeowners Insurance does not cover everything, and then there is that Huge Hurricane Deductible…which could be 2% or more of the insured value of your home. Many policies do not cover pool cages, boat docks, awnings, trees, landscaping, etc. And then there are all the additional costs of generators, fuel, travel, etc.

And now….. along comes an innovative idea to help cover these costs…Insurance based on an event, not a loss.

You can use your payments to: (This is cash deposited to your account within 72 hours)

·        Repair or replace swimming pool cages, boat docks, piers, seawalls

·        Remove fallen trees and debris

·        Restore landscaping

·        Fix property damage not covered under your homeowners insurance

·        Meet your hurricane deductible

·        Pay additional living expenses

·        Pay evacuation expenses

·        Replace a mobile or manufactured home

·        And more

Home types/structures covered: (no physical damage to your home is required to be paid)

·        Single family homes

·        Condominiums and Apartments

·        Mobile homes, Manufactured homes

·        Boat docks, car ports, entry structures, backyard patios, gazebos, fences and more

Causes of loss covered:

·        Wind

·        Water damage from rain, flood or storm surge

·        Flying debris

·        Mold

“This form of parametric insurance pays if specific parameters are met. In the case of hurricanes, the parameters are strength of the hurricane and distance of the insured property from the hurricane track. These parameters are easily available and verifiable, without the need for deductible, adjusters or a lengthy claims process.”

“Claims are paid electronically within 72 hours of an Hurricane Event, no claims representatives, no waiting for payment!  Claims payments can be used to pay for ANY losses that occur from a named hurricane. Exclusions include items such as: intentional loss, illegal acts, and neglect. The average policy offers $5K of coverage, has a $0 Deductible, and costs about $300 annually. Coverage limits up to $60K are available.”   Coverage is underwritten by an insurance carrier with an A.M.Best rating: A- (Excellent), and backed by a global reinsurer with A.M. Best rating: A+ (Superior).

Contact SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. for a quote or information.

239-265-9577 Fort Myers / 941-624-3444 Port Charlotte / info@SWFL Agency.com

Is Flood Insurance Worth It?

Contrary to popular belief, flood insurance is rarely included in home insurance policies. However, even if you do not live in an area that is prone to getting floods, you may still want to consider getting a flood insurance policy. This is because a flood does not just happen when a lot of rain starts coming out of the sky. Here are a few reasons from SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. why you should consider getting flood insurance even if you do not live in a flood area in Fort Myers, FL. 

  • A flood can happen in your home. If you have never experienced rain coming from inside your home, you are lucky. However, that does not mean it cannot happen. In fact, a pipe bursting or a bathtub overflowing for a long period of time can cause the same result. There could be extensive water damage that you will have to repair as part of this inside flood and a home insurance policy may not cover it. 
  • A neighbor can cause a flood. You cannot control what other people do and that includes your neighbors. If your neighbors have something such as an above ground pool in their backyard, there is a flood risk. If there is a hole in the pool or it is punctured in some way, all of that water can flow out and cause some major flood damage to your home. 

As you can see, a flood can happen in a variety of ways in Fort Myers, FL which makes getting flood insurance a no-brainer. If you are considering adding this policy, be sure to reach out to SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. today to get your policy started. We will make sure to find one that meets your needs and your budget. 

When Can You Claim Your Flood Insurance?

Most homeowners in Fort Myers, FL tend to overlook the importance of purchasing flood insurance. In fact, statistics from the Federal Emergency Management Agency indicate that only a few homeowners have purchased flood insurance. However, flood insurance is a necessity for everyone and not those that only live in high-prone states. Keep in mind that your SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. standard homeowners’ policy doesn’t cover you against flood damages.

When Should You Claim Your Flood insurance?

You can file a flood insurance claim whenever you experience a flood which results in damage. However, there are three key steps that you must follow while filing your flood insurance claim in Fort Myers, FL.

Notify Your Insurance Provider

After experiencing a flood, the first thing you should do is contact SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. or your insurance company. Make sure that you have your policy number and an email address or telephone contact where you can be reached on at all times. You should expect an adjuster to contact you within a few days of filing your claim.

Record the Damage

Make an effort of separating the damaged property from the undamaged property. Your adjuster will always need evidence of the damage to your home and other property to prepare an estimate of the loss. You can take clear photographs of all the damaged property. You should also make a comprehensive list of all damaged or lost items including their date of purchase and estimated value.

Complete a Proof of Loss to Support Your Claim

Your proof of loss is usually your sworn statement of the approximated amount you are claiming from the insurance. The evidence of loss should be accompanied by all supporting documents to make your case count. Your adjuster should help you prepare your proof of loss. The law requires you to file your proof of loss with your insurance provider within 60 days.

Are you a homeowner who doesn’t have a flood insurance policy. Contact us today for a free quote.

Four Reasons Flood Insurance is Important

If you haven’t yet bought flood insurance to protect your property, you might want to begin looking into this important purchase. The following are four of the most important reasons why you should purchase flood insurance today:

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States.

In the United States, flooding is the most common natural disaster that occurs. It’s also important to note that you don’t have to be in an area that’s known for flooding dangers to be hit with a costly flood. In fact, more than 20 percent of flood claims in the US came from areas that are not located in geographic regions that are typically associated with flooding.

Flood insurance premiums tend to be fairly affordable.

In 2017, the average cost for flood insurance through the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) was only $672. This makes flood insurance in Fort Myers, FL and elsewhere in the country fairly affordable in comparison to other more expensive types of insurance such as auto insurance and homeowner’s insurance.

Flood damage is not typically covered by the average home insurance policy.

One of the most important things homeowners need to realize is that their home insurance is probably not going to cover flood damage. In order for home insurance to cover flood damage, homeowners usually need to expressly specify that they want flood insurance, and they will usually have to pay higher premiums if flood coverage is added on.

Many mortgage companies require flood insurance.

Depending on where you live, your mortgage provider may insist that you purchase flood insurance from a provider like SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. Even federal law requires homeowner’s to have flood insurance if they are living in areas of the country that are designated as "high-risk".

Sooo….What does the Louisiana Thousand Year Flood Event mean to you? Are you at Risk for a Flood?

La.Flood

So let’s look at how FEMA determines if you are “at risk”.  Flood maps, known officially as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS), show areas of high and moderate to low flood risk.  Cities and counties use the maps to set minimum building requirements for coastal areas and floodplains.  Lenders use them to determine flood insurance requirements, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) uses them to help determine what you pay for flood insurance.

High-risk areas are identified on the FIRMs as:

  • Zones AE, A, AH, AR, A99, or AO. These properties have at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage.
  • Zones VE or V. These properties also have at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. In addition, these properties face hazards associated with coastal storm waves and storm surge.

 Insurance note: Federally regulated or insured lenders require mortgage holders to purchase flood insurance for properties in high-risk areas.   

An elevation survey of the lowest living level of your home is required in order to apply for Flood Insurance.  The surveyor will provide a Flood Certificate showing the elevation.  When buying a home, make sure to ask if a flood Certificate is available.  Flood Insurance rates are based on the Flood Zone as determined by FEMA maps and the elevation of your home.  The higher your home is above the required minimal flood elevation, the less your pay in premiums.

Moderate- to low-risk areas are identified on the FIRMs as:

  • Shaded Zone X. The risk is reduced in these areas but not eliminated.
  • Zone X. These properties are in an area of overall lower risk.

Insurance note: Lower-cost Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs) are often an option in these areas. Flood insurance coverage is not mandatory in these areas but is recommended, as the risk for flooding is still very real. Keep in mind that while your property could be designated as moderate to low risk, it still may be geographically close to a high-risk area

In this case you should consider purchasing a Preferred Risk Flood Policy.  Premiums are reasonable.  Typically, for $250K on your Home and $100k Contents, annual premiums are $450.  Every homeowner in Louisiana was probably eligible.  Just because your Mortgage Company did not require you to purchase Flood Insurance does not mean you do not have a Risk of flooding or that you were not eligible for Flood Insurance.

Not sure about your home or business’s true Flood Risk,                                                             call SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc.  239-265-9577

We will help you assess your risk, review your present coverage and make recommendations.  Do  not take chances with your most important asset.

Find out what is covered by Flood Insurance

Your Flood Insurance Needs for the Fort Myers, FL Area

Florida is regularly pounded by storms and hurricanes. Geographically it’s a low lying state, as well. If you live in the Fort Myers, Fl area then you need flood insurance coverage as part of your home owners insurance. Many people do not realize that their standard homeowners insurance does not cover damage to property by flooding. High-risk flood zones are common and mortgage lenders must require flood insurance for property in these areas. If your property isn’t in a high-risk flood zone, that doesn’t mean it is guaranteed to never undergo flooding. After all, there is flooding, and then there is flooding. The foundation of your home could be undermined by water and erosion in a flood, or you might simply lose the possessions inside the property you own. Both are not only expensive losses, but emotionally devastating as well. At SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc., we can ease your concerns now and meet the needs that arise after a flooding event. It’s smart to cover for damages to the things that mean so much to you: from expensive computer equipment to your vinyl collection to the very house itself.

If you already have insurance coverage for floods, when was the last time you had your policy reviewed and updated? Was it before the kids were born? Did you think of it after the new garage was added? At SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. we can sit down with you and discuss your flood insurance coverage needs. Insurance requirements, coverage, and rates can vary by state or region, so contact us either online or in person for information on your flood insurance coverage needs. Proudly serving the Fort Myers, FL area, SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. is here for you.

Sooo….Do I need Flood Insurance for my 3rd Floor Condo unit?

condo2

First, does your Association provide a Master Flood Policy through the RCBAP, Residential Condominium Building Association Policy administered by FEMA?  The RCBAP limits the flood coverage that can be purchased by the Association up to $250,000.coverage limit per condo unit in the building.  This program requires the Assoc. flood insurance to be purchased at a limit equal to 80% or greater of replacement value of the building in order to avoid a “Co Insurance” loss penalty at time of a claim.  The RCBAP policy covers all building items regardless of who installed them.  This is broader than the coverage required by the Florida Condominium Statute.

The Condominium Owners Policy form HO6 in Florida does not provide any Flood coverage.  The Loss Assessment coverage within the HO6 will not respond to a flood loss to Association property.

The only way that a unit owner can cover a Loss Assessment for a direct flood loss to Association owned buildings is to purchase an individual flood policy with building coverage from National Flood Insurance Program.  The Building Coverage Limit will double as the Loss Assessment coverage limit.  There is no deductible for a covered Loss Assessment claim.

This Individual Flood Policy will also typically provide Loss Assessment coverage for the following:

  • When the RCBAP has been written for a coverage limit of at least 80% but less than 100% of replacement value.
  • Assessments due to there being NO RCBAP coverage at all.
  • Assessment for damage to a non covered building.

This is not a complete analysis of this issue, but it points out some very important considerations for the Condo Owner…..

  • Find out what Flood Insurance is in place for your Association property.
  • Question whether coverage limits are at 100% of replacement value?

You can read more at Condo Owners Flood Insurance.

Questions…Call SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. at 239-265-9577 or email us at  info@swflagency.com

Hurricane Season is Here. Remember.. Flood Insurance has a 30 day waiting Period!!

Many homeowners learn the hard way (or the wet way) that their homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover property damage caused by hurricanes and floods. If you live in a potentially affected area — which could include everything from a home on the coast near a fragile levee that sees frequent floods to one downhill from a stream that hasn’t flooded in years — you probably should buy a separate flood insurance policy to cover your home and its contents.

Get Flood Insurance Coverage for Property and Contents

A flood insurance policy through the NFIP can provide maximum coverage of $250,000 for property and $100,000 for contents. (Property and contents coverage must be purchased separately, even though they may form part of the same policy.) If you want additional coverage, you can purchase excess flood insurance from private insurers. The average flood insurance policy costs less than $570 per year, according to the NFIP.

If you buy a home in a designated high-risk flood zone and get a mortgage loan from a federally regulated or insured lender, your lender must require that you purchase flood insurance.

If you live in a zone that’s been designated moderate- or low-risk, you don’t need to buy flood insurance for your lender’s sake — but you may want to do so anyway, especially if your own observations indicate that the official designation on your area are out-of-date (a common problem). According to FEMA, almost 25% of all flood insurance claims come from areas with low-to-moderate flood risk. The good news is that you’ll qualify for a preferred-risk policy. The premiums for this type of policy start at only $129 per year (for both property and contents).

Here’s what flood insurance pays out for each type of property covered:

Contents. Flood insurance pays actual cash value (not the most generous amount — it means the cost to replace                            the damaged or lost property based on its actual, depreciated value as used goods).

Property. You can opt for replacement cost coverage (the cost to replace the damaged or lost property with new property, without regard to depreciation) if you’re insuring a single-family home that is your primary residence. Available coverage is at least 80% of the full replacement cost of the building (an amount that’s set in advance for your property) or the maximum available under the NFIP.

Know What Flood Insurance Doesn’t Cover

A good flood insurance policy can be a financial lifeboat following a destructive event such as a hurricane. But flood insurance doesn’t cover everything. Before buying, you should know about the following key restrictions and limitations, which are specific to flood insurance

Swimming Pools and Landscaping Aren’t Covered

If something goes wrong with a swimming pool on your property and this causes your home to sustain flood damage, your flood insurance policy won’t apply. Also, don’t expect any reimbursement for flood damage to flower beds, vegetable gardens, trees, or other landscaping on your property.

Water Must Have Come From Outside Your Home 

If something breaks or malfunctions inside your home — for instance, pipes freeze and burst or a toilet overflows — and this leads to flooding, your flood insurance policy won’t apply. However, your homeowners’ policy should cover these types of losses. Ask your agent or broker to give you the lowdown.   

Small Floods Don’t Count Living Expenses or Business Interruption Aren’t Covered

To be considered a flood, the water that causes damage must have covered at least two acres or have affected at least one other property. Also, if your home sustains any mold or mildew damage that you could have prevented from occurring, your policy won’t cover such damage.

Your flood insurance policy won’t pay you for any living expenses you may incur (such as renting a hotel room until your property is fixed). Also, you won’t recover any financial losses caused by business interruption (if you operated a business out of your home) or any other loss of your home’s use.

Money and Important Papers Aren’t Covered

Your policy won’t pay for the value of any currency, precious metals, stock certificates, and other valuable papers that get destroyed in a flood.

Improvements and Most Contents in Below-Ground Areas Aren’t Covered 

Your flood insurance policy won’t cover any improvements you’ve made to your basement, such as finished walls or floors. Also, almost all personal property (including clothing, computers and electronic equipment, kitchen and office supplies, and furniture) located in basements or other areas of your home below the lowest elevated floor aren’t covered.

If You Want Coverage, Act Now

Unlike other types of insurance, flood insurance coverage doesn’t kick in on day one. With few exceptions, you must wait 30 days after you first purchase a flood insurance policy before your policy will take effect. So the longer you delay looking for coverage for your home, the greater your risk of suffering a loss before your policy is actually in place.  The only time this waiting period does not apply is when a lender or mortgage company is involved.  Check with your agent closely when you have a real estate closing and flood insurance is required by the lender.

Even if the next hurricane season is months away, you could still benefit from getting a flood insurance policy sooner. In addition to damage from hurricanes, a flood insurance policy will also protect you from losses from other causes, such as heavy or prolonged rainstorms, coastal storm surges, snow melt, clogged storm drainage systems, levee dam failures, and mudslides.

*From an Article written by Ron Leshnower on NOLO.com