Elevating Your Home, Installing Flood Vents Just Two Ways to Comply with FEMA Guidelines, and Cut Costs in the Long Term
When Congress mandated changes last year to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), before Superstorm Sandy struck the Northeast, it meant flood insurance premiums for many homeowners in flood zones would rise. That’s because for the first time, rates will reflect such factors as actual flood risk and major improvements to the property, while discounts will be phased out for non-primary residences and cases of repeat claims on the same property, among others. Some may see rates jump by 25 percent starting Oct. 1, 2013.
But even as affected homeowners’ face a potentially large hit to their wallets, opportunities to save significant money on premiums by meeting various criteria still exist. Under the NFIP reforms, the more you can do to reduce risk, the more you can reduce premiums.
“The best thing homeowners can do is to sit down with a Certified Floodplain Manager and discuss your particular situation,” says Brian Shaw, who fills that role with Smart Vent, a manufacturer of automatic engineered flood vents. “We provide the homeowner with retrofitting solutions that they can take for their agent and see what the reduction is premium will be.”
For example, by raising the home above the minimum required elevation standards or dry- or wet-floodproofing a non-residential building, owners can mitigate potential damage and therefore lower their premiums. Adding flood vents to foundations or installing breakaway walls are other ways to sharply reduce premiums.
In fact, Shaw notes, by coming into compliance with NFIP recommendations, owners can realize savings of up to 83 percent.
In a typical example, one New Orleans homeowner was paying $1,600 annually for flood insurance, post-Katrina. After discussion with his insurance agent, and consulting a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM), he installed automatic flood vents, which sent his premium plummeting to approximately $300 per year. His insurance company even sent him $1,300 back from the current year’s premium.
FEMA is also in the process of reviewing flood zone designations, and revising them as needed, in some cases removing homes from so-called “V-Zones.”
“Several thousand properties in four New Jersey counties were re-designated in June, so you and your insurer should be familiar with the latest flood zone maps before making any costly decisions,” Shaw adds.
About Smart Vent Products
Smart Vent Products, Inc. is the worldwide leading manufacturer of foundation flood venting systems and takes pride in having the only FEMA-Accepted and ICC-ES Certified flood vent product line. Founded in 2001, all products are made in the United States out of marine grade 316 stainless steel. The company is fully committed to ideals of responsible corporate citizenship, and making efforts to educate consumers, design professionals, and government officials on floodplain management techniques. For more information, visit www.smartvent.com.