As we see time and time again, no home is completely safe from the risk of flooding. Flood insurance can be the difference between recovering or being financially devastated. Just one inch of water in a home can cost more than $25,000 in damage—why risk it?
Do You Need Flood Insurance?
- FACT: Homeowners and renters insurance does not typically cover flood damage.
- FACT: More than 20% of flood claims come from properties outside high-risk flood zones.
- FACT: Flood insurance can pay regardless of whether or not there is a Presidential Disaster Declaration.
- FACT: Most federal disaster assistance comes in the form of low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and you have to pay them back. FEMA offers disaster grants that don’t need to be paid back, but this amount is often much less than what is needed to recover. A claim against your flood insurance policy could, and often does, provide more funds for recovery than those you could qualify for from FEMA or the SBA — and you don’t have to pay it back.
It’s easy to see that having flood insurance provides important recovery help. The most common flood insurance is offered through the federally regulated program known as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with options for your home only or home and contents.
- The maximum available coverage limit for the dwelling is $250,000.
- The maximum available coverage limit for contents in your home is $100,000
What if you need more than $250,000 worth of coverage for your home or more than $100,000 of coverage for your contents? Excess Flood insurance is available through private companies.
Federal Flood Insurance – What is Covered vs. What is Not
What Qualifies as a Flood?
Water has to cover at least 2 acres of land that’s normally dry, or has to have damaged two or more properties (one being your home). Also, the water has to come from:
- Overflowing inland or tidal waters
- Unusual, rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source
- Mudflow (that’s mud carried by a flow of water, creating a river of mud)
- You’re also covered when shorefront land collapses or sinks due to waters above “anticipated cyclical levels.”
*Water and seepage that comes from sewer or drain backups, or a sump pump that overflows is not considered a flood. Wind driven rain is not covered.
Please do not wait for an impending storm to purchase federal flood insurance. There’s usually a 30-day waiting period. Some private policies offer a 15-day waiting period.
The most significant change to the 6th Edition of the Florida Building Code is that it now requires the minimum elevation of newly constructed homes in Flood Zones A or V to be 1+ foot above the base elevation. The base elevation is the height shown on the Flood Maps as the required level to build homes, and is what flood insurance premiums are based upon. Previously, new homes were required to be built equal to the base elevation. Now, builders must add an additional foot to raise the lowest floor to at least 1’ above the base flood elevation.
This is important for all homeowners in Zones A and V to be aware of when reviewing their current Homeowner Policy. There is coverage on the Homeowner Policy entitled “Building Law or Ordinance,” which pays additional monies to bring your home up to code should you need to rebuild it in the event of major damage. Under this policy provision, homeowners can select 0%, 10%, 25%, or 50% of the dwelling coverage shown on the policy.
Should a home sustain damage equal or greater than 50% of the home’s market value, Collier County, in accordance with FEMA’s Substantial Improvement/Substantial Damage Rule, will mandate that the remaining structure be demolished and rebuilt to the current building code. As such, homeowners will likely see an increased cost to rebuild and raise the foundation a foot above base elevation per the new code. Homeowners may have chosen a low limit of “Building Law or Ordinance” coverage if their home was built recently since it met building codes. Now is the time to review the policy for proper coverage on the “Building Law or Ordinance” provision.
When advising buyers who are new to Florida or inexperienced with hurricanes, here are 10 important reminders:
- For homes with a replacement value over $1 million – their insurance agent should be reviewing package insurance policy options that give them an opportunity to purchase their insurance from one of the premier insurance carriers such as Chubb, AIG, or Pure. These carriers do the best job with paying claims and covering the loss assessment claims from their associations and golf clubs.
- Insure the home to its full replacement value; this is different than market value. Full replacement value is what it would cost today to rebuild the home as new.
- Be sure that the homeowner policy covers wind driven rain.
- Be sure that coverage for the screen enclosure is added by endorsement if it is excluded under dwelling for losses as a result of hurricane.
- Purchase full limits for mold coverage – the maximum is $50,000.
- Purchase flood insurance for the main house and the detached guest house, even when the home is in a non-flood hazard area.
- Review options for a second layer flood policy which will allow you to insure the home to value against the peril of flood.
- Have a reliable home check representative in place to be sure that the home is checked regularly and that necessary measures are taken at the time of a loss to prevent further damage that could have been avoided.
- Consider installing high impact windows/shutters if they are not already in place. Also, having a permanently installed generator is of upmost importance.
- Recommend they consult with a qualified insurance professional with a comprehensive understanding of the Florida insurance marketplace, and one who has access to the premier carriers, such as Chubb, AIG and Pure along with other reliable insurance carriers that hold A ratings by AM Best. Also, agent selection should include the agency’s roll in the claims process. In other words, does the agency have a claims advocate working on the homeowner’s behalf?
What is the biggest mistake made by wine collectors? Not protecting their investment. A simple slip and fall could turn one of the most precious bottles into a puddle on the floor. When you consider some of the other threats to wine collections (theft, fire, power outage, flooding, etc.), it’s apparent that there is a lot at stake.
Most homeowners’ policies do not cover wine collections, and it’s common for wine collectors to overlook or underestimate the value of what they own. In most cases, you need a distinct policy or rider to protect a collection adequately. Coverage Options:
- A “blanket” policy features one overall coverage limit and is the best choice if you intend to eventually drink what you have acquired. With this option, you have the flexibility to add and remove bottles without having to notify your insurance provider each time. You’d only have to report a change if the value of an individual bottle grew to exceed the limits on your policy.
- A “scheduled” policy, in which each bottle or case is itemized or insured separately, is a better choice if you have bottles of the highest-priced vintages or if you intend to hold onto the items in your collection long term.
In addition to coverage solutions, here are other considerations needed:
- Consider appraising – seek the guidance of third party professionals who are best equipped to assess a one-of-a-kind collection.
- Store smartly – consider proper store conditions when building or renovating your cellar.
- Keep track – utilize inventory software or third party vendors that provide cellar inventory solutions to know what you have, where it is located, and when it is the most opportune time to drink it.
- Utilize qualified vendors – seek out qualified and experienced wine shippers, buyers, off-site storage, security, and more.
By securing the right wine insurance to protect your collection, you’ll be able to replace your bottles should they break, be burned, experience water damage, and more! The Team at Gulfshore Insurance works with insurers who specialize in protecting these types of investments. We provide the necessary expertise when it comes to insuring valuable wine collections.
PURE Insurance, the policyholder-owned property and casualty reciprocal insurer designed for high net worth individuals and families, announced the launch of PURE Starling®. The offering provides coverage for individuals and families who suffer financial losses resulting from fraud and cyber fraud.
The threat of fraud and cybercrime is greater today than ever, and high net worth individuals are targets because their home networks are typically less secure than corporate networks and they have substantial balances on their financial accounts. This new offering from PURE will provide clients with the peace of mind that they are covered should they suffer a loss due to fraud or cyber-attack.
As an optional endorsement to PURE’s Homeowners policy, PURE Starling® provides broad coverage for fraud and cybercrime, including coverage for financial loss resulting from online and offline fraud, services to help assess and respond to cyber extortion threats and coverage to remove malware and reinstall software after an attack. Coverage limits of $100,000 and $250,000 are available. And, recognizing that high net worth individuals may require higher coverage limits to protect their family’s significant assets, PURE will also make available a $1 million coverage limit for PURE members who take steps to reduce their risk by subscribing to a cyber monitoring service that actively monitors their home network and devices. Limits may be subject to underwriting requirements.
Highlights of PURE Starling include:
- Coverage for Online and Offline Fraud: Members will be reimbursed for their financial loss related to fraud, whether the crime is committed online or offline. Examples include social engineering of an authorized account user, criminal deception, unauthorized transfers, forgery or alteration of checks, acceptance of counterfeit money and more.
- Coverage for Cyber Extortion: In the event of a cyber extortion incident—a type of attack in which a cybercriminal demands money to prevent the damage or distribution of content or to restore access to the functionality of a device—this coverage will afford immediate access to crisis management advice from a subject matter expert to help best respond to the threat, and in the event a payment is made, reimburses the member for the amount of the payment.
- Coverage for System Attacks: This policy will provide coverage for the cost of a professional to reinstall damaged software, remove malicious code, reconfigure the device or system and replace electronic data that has been lost or corrupted as the result of a cyber-attack.
This product will be available to PURE members with a target Florida launch date of December 2017.