My advice to anyone who is in a flood zone is to fill out an F.R.E. form. It will only take a few…

Our condo is located in a flood zone in Hoboken, NJ which had 4-5 feet of water in our basement during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. Since 2009, we have seen our flood insurance premiums steadily increase to the point we had to raise condo association fees an additional $100 a month per owner to cover the increasing cost of insurance. In addition, we were not able to afford full coverage of the building due to the high cost of insurance. As a result, we were only able to afford 40% coverage which had multiple adverse effects: 1) During Sandy/Irene we only received funds to cover 40% of the damages 2) Owners with mortgages were forced to acquire supplemental flood insurance 3) Owners were not able to sell their condo units as mortgage companies required full flood insurance coverage.

Then, in July 2014, we received our flood insurance renewal quote and the cost had doubled for the same coverage and a slightly higher deductible. Knowing that we could not afford that, we began our search to figure out how to reduce these costs. We spent countless hours discussing with our current Insurance Agent and several other local Insurance Agents but due to the fact that rates are set by FEMA there was no way to reduce the premium. We then discussed with FEMA, NFIP, Surveyors, and Architects but were unable to find any options to reduce the cost. After reading through FEMA documentation we came across a section on flood vents. After a simple Google search we found the Smart Vent website and on the homepage was a link to the Flood Risk Evaluatorâ„¢ (FRE). I then filled out a simple form with information about the building and within a day I received an email from Tom Little of Smart Vent/F.R.E. presenting a potential solution. After several weeks of research there was finally hope to solve the problem. It became clear that the team at F.R.E. were extremely knowledgeable about the FEMA regulations and solutions to mitigate damage to the building and in turn reduce flood insurance costs.

Tom and the team at F.R.E. then designed a plan for us that would allow us to increase our flood insurance to 100% and reduce the yearly cost to 2k a year; a savings of 12k a year based on the renewal quote we had received. Over 5 years this would equate to a savings of 50k, not including the additional savings for eliminating the additional individual insurance polices and the fact that we would now have full coverage. The F.R.E. team then walked us through all the necessary steps to retrofit the basement with Smart Vents.

My advice to anyone who is in a flood zone is to fill out an F.R.E. form. It will only take a few minutes and could result in thousands of dollars of savings a year and reduce the risk of damage to your building in case of a flood.
Michael Pistone
Michael Pistone
Homeowner
Hoboken, NJ
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