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Ideas to lower your flood insurance cost

how to lower your flood insurance


Elevating above the base  Flood elevation is the fastest way to reduce the cost of your annual flood insurance premium. You can save hundreds of dollars for every foot the elevated  floor is located above your community’s established base  flood elevation. Elevating just one foot above the base  flood elevation often results in a 30% reduction in annual premiums. A homeowner with an elevated home  3 feet above the base  flood elevation, can expect to save  about 60% on annual  flood insurance premiums.


One of the most effective options is relocating your home on an area of your property that has its natural grade above the base  Flood elevation. This will be costly, but can reduce the need to pay excessive flood insurance rates. Before undertaking this option make sure to do a cost / benefit analysis. If you are preparing to build a new home or structure, evaluate your property to determine if there is a suitable building area outside of the  oodplain. Be warned; homes constructed outside the  floodplain (or on natural ground above the base  flood elevation) are not 100% safe from  flooding. On average, between 20-25% of all  flood insurance claim payouts go to buildings that are located outside of the special  flood hazard area. If your home is located outside the  floodplain and you still want to be covered, affordable “Preferred Risk” policies are available.


If you locate any machinery or equipment that services your home or building (i.e. electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, and air conditioning equipment) below the base  flood elevation, an additional surcharge will be added to your insurance premium causing your annual insurance rates to increase. If your house was elevated to a safer level, maximize your savings and reduce your losses by relocating your machinery and equipment above the base  flood elevation. Consider using your attic, an extra

closet, or an elevated platform to store utilities.


One common reason why insurance policies are rated so severely is due to a lack of proper  flood openings. IBC/IRC minimum building code requirements for “foundation vents ” in areas outside the  oodplain may not meet the same speci cations as “flood openings” or “ ood vents” within a  oodplain. For buildings in the  oodplain, there must be at least two openings with 1 sq. inch of opening per sq ft of enclosed area, and the bottom of those openings can be no higher than 1ft above the exterior  finished grade. There are no discounts for “partial credit.” If you have 1000 sq feet of enclosed crawlspace and 900 sq inches of openings, you will be charged as though there are no openings (i.e. basement loading fees could apply). Don’t forget that garage doors, windows, and doors do not count as  flood openings unless they have openings installed within them.  Check with the local code official in your area.


Unless explicitly authorized, basements in new buildings constructed in the  floodplain are prohibited. FEMA considers “crawlspaces” that are sub-grade on all sides to be basements as well. If your community has adopted building standards that allows such construction, homeowners in the  floodplain with an excavated subgrade crawlspace will bear an additional  financial cost through a 15-20% increase on their flood insurance premiums. When building, you can save that cost by backfilling any excavated areas within the foundation. It can also be done at a later date by using pea-gravel or other suitable material to raise the interior crawlspace floor elevation to the same height or higher than the exterior  finished grade.

It is fun and relaxing to live close to water, but the costs are high.

Category: Insurance

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