If you live in a flood zone, you know that your insurance premiums can be high. Fortunately, there are ways to lower your rates.
Mitigation actions such as elevating machinery and equipment covered under a standard NFIP policy, installing flood openings, and moving buildings and contents to higher ground can help reduce your rate.
Elevate Your Utilities
The cost of flood insurance in Tennessee is based on various factors, including the area in which a home is located, its construction and age, its history of flooding, its level of risk from wind damage and the type of policy purchased. Mitigation steps like elevating electrical panels, heating and cooling systems, water heaters, moving machinery and equipment to the attic or a raised platform, installing flood openings and filling in basements (especially in high-risk areas) can help reduce those costs.
However, some strategies can be expensive and entail major home renovations. However, they can significantly reduce insurance rates and save homeowners from costly damage in the future. It is also important to check if a community participates in FEMA’s Community Rating System, which can save home and business owners money on their premiums. Ask your insurance agent about the program and its benefits if you need more clarification. Increasing the deductible on an insurance policy can also lower premiums. This is because the higher your deductible, the more you are responsible for paying in the event of a claim.
Install Flood Openings
A common way to reduce your premium is to install flood vents in foundation walls. These openings allow for the flow of floodwaters to equalize pressure on walls and prevent damage. These openings must have a minimum of one square inch of open area per enclosed floor. Still, the bottom of these openings cannot be higher than either the exterior or interior grade immediately below the wall. Screens, grates, grilles and louvers are unacceptable because they block or hinder floodwaters’ automatic inflow and outflow.
The other way to lower your premium is to choose a high deductible. Like homeowners insurance, a higher deductible leads to a lower premium because you are taking on more of the risk of making a claim.
Finally, you can save on your flood insurance premiums by getting a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). A LOMA is the official federal document that changes your property from a high-risk to a low-risk zone, saving you up to 90% or more on flood insurance. Talk to your insurance agent about this option if you want to learn more about your options for reducing your flood insurance premiums.
Elevate the Lowest Floor
When building a home or renovating a structure within a floodplain, NFIP regulations require that the lowest floor be elevated at least to the base flood elevation (BFE). Enclosed areas below the lowest floor are only allowed for vehicle parking, storage and building access.
In addition to lowering your premium, elevating the lowest floor can also reduce or prevent costly damage from flooding in the future. It’s the best mitigation action you can take to lower your flood insurance premiums and keep them low into the future.
Elevating your living space above the BFE can drastically reduce flood risk, saving you thousands of dollars annually. It’s a complex process that involves raising the lowest floors of your home and its foundation. The resulting freeboard height must be at least two feet above the BFE to meet NYC building code requirements and account for uncertainties in flood mapping and anticipated sea level rise. However, it is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to cut your flood insurance premiums dramatically.
Install Flood Vents
Flood vents are essential to minimizing flood damage in basements, crawl spaces, and garages. They allow the building to breathe during a flood and relieve hydrostatic pressure that could otherwise cause walls to collapse.
The force of storm surge during a flood is too great for most basement and crawl space walls to resist, so they collapse. Smart Vents prevent this by providing a path for flood water to escape through the foundation wall and equalize pressure on both sides of the border, preventing collapse.
These vents comply with FEMA and National Flood Insurance Program requirements and can qualify homeowners for a discount on their flood insurance premiums. They’re easy to install and will work on all structures, whether new construction or retrofit.
In addition to lowering flood insurance premiums, they also provide other benefits, such as helping with humidity and mold control. They’re a great investment for any property owner in a floodplain. Contact us to learn more about the advantages of these flood mitigation options. We can even help you find a certified installer in your area!
Install Flood Insurance
You can do many things to mitigate the risk of flood damage to your home and save on your premium, including installing flood vents, French drains or elevated utilities. While some of these options may be expensive upfront, they could help you avoid the heartache, stress and financial fallout of flood damage.
Another way to lower your flood insurance is to raise your building/contents limits or get a higher deductible. Raising these amounts will increase your premiums but may save you money in the long run by assuming a larger share of the risk (remember that your deductible is always applied to a flood claim).
A more drastic option is to move to a lower-risk area, which can dramatically lower your insurance rates. Communities participating in FEMA’s Community Rating System can receive discounts on their flood insurance. Talk to your agent about a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA), the official federal document that can change your flood zone status from high-risk to low-risk. This will reduce your rates and allow you to drop the mandatory flood insurance.