If you have a home in Pinellas county there is a good chance you have Flood insurance. All residents that live in special flood hazard areas are typically required to purchase flood insurance as a stipulation of their mortgage. However, sometimes this coverage is not enough.
Upwards of 90% of homeowners still purchase Flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This program was setup by the US government back in 1974 to provide coverage for flooding. However, the NFIP has limitations on coverage provided for both your building and contents. The most coverage available for homeowners is $250k in building coverage and $100k in contents coverage. Commercial property owners are also limited at $500k for building coverage and $500k for contents coverage. Even residential condominium associations are limited if their building coverage exceeds $250k times the number of units. If a loss exceeds these limitations, you would be on the hook for the excess costs to repair or rebuild.
So, What Can I Do to Get Excess Flood Coverage?
The best option for any property owner with replacement costs over and above what the NFIP offers is to purchase Excess Flood insurance. These policies will typically provide coverage limits to match your building or contents true replacement costs. Since the carrier has a large deductible (your NFIP max limits), the premium is usually surprisingly affordable. For this reason, all Excess Flood carriers require that you have underlying insurance coverage.
But, Do I Really Need an Excess Flood Insurance Policy?
If it would cost more to rebuild or replace your home or contents than the NFIP provides, the answer is clearly yes. Due to our location near the Gulf of Mexico the need is even higher. As the hurricanes this year have shown, storm surge can completely level and destroy homes. If our area was impacted by a hurricane with severe flooding, you could be left homeless or with a significant financial burden.
Why Don’t Most People Have Excess Flood Insurance?
Typically, we see the following as the reasons why consumers don’t purchase Excess Flood coverage
- They didn’t know Excess Flood coverage existed
- Their insurance agent never told them about the risks of flooding
- They think Excess Flood coverage would be too expensive
- They think the NFIP limits are sufficient
Do Excess Flood Markets Offer Additional Coverages?
Excess Flood policies may also offer additional coverages besides excess building and contents coverage. Some Excess Flood policies provide replacement cost building coverage for rental dwellings and commercial properties, which is not provided by the NFIP (NFIP only provides actual cash value coverage). Carriers may also offer replacement cost coverage on your contents (which the NFIP values at actual cash value). Other benefits may include additional increased cost of compliance coverage to get your building up to code after a loss, loss of use coverage to provide you additional living expenses while your home is being repaired or rebuilt, and loss of income coverage for your commercial property while it is being repaired or replaced.
Ok, I See the Need. How Do I Go About Buying Excess Flood Coverage?
Our agency has access to a number of different markets that provide coverage such as Bankers, Wright Flood, ASI, and numerous Lloyd’s syndicates. Since the carriers are writing coverage over your basic flood policy, typical the same flood underwriting documents (such as an elevation certificate) are all that we need to get quotes on coverage. As mentioned, some markets offer broader coverages, and some markets may also have coverage limitations (i.e. Bankers can only offer $500k in addition to your current flood limits), so it is best to discuss all options with your licensed Insurance Resources agent.
If you have any questions about basic Flood or Excess Flood insurance, please reach out to your agent or call Brian Ford at 727-345-0242 or reach him by email at email@example.com