Here in Central Oregon, most people feel they do not live in a flood zone. But you would be surprised. The best way to check if your property is in a flood zone is to go to the FEMA website. If you would rather you can call our office at 800-452-6826 and we will be happy to check it out for you.
Most flooding in our area occurs from excess snow melt which causes our local rivers and lakes to rise quickly and without warning. We’ve seen clients lose their homes and business do to flooding. In fact, flooding is ranked the number one natural disaster in the US. Up to 11,000 households lose their homes to flooding!
You may know or not that the Flood Insurance program is actually run by the US Government as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA sets the rules and the rates but they allow private insurance companies to offer insurance to customers on their behalf. The insurers do not set the premiums FEMA does that. Your premium will be based on the property location and amount of coverage requested. Properties are located in various “zones” and can be classified as being in a “special flood hazard zone” or in a regular non-hazard zone. Obviously the closer the dwelling is located to a body of water the greater the likelihood that it is in a “special flood hazard area”. As you may have guessed, premiums are higher if a property is located in a special flood hazard area.
When purchasing a home in a flood hazard zone, your lending institution supplying your mortgage may require you to buy Flood Insurance, minimum to the amount of the loan. People paying cash for their home are not required to obtain coverage but I would strongly recommend it.
If you believe your new home is not in a flood zone, but the lender is insisting it is. You will need to get an elevation certificate supplied by a licensed surveyor. Check with your lender before you hire anyone, the surveyor may need to be approved by your lender first.
Homes not near the water will likely be considered to be not in a flood hazard area. These properties can still purchase Flood Insurance at surprisingly inexpensive rates. In many instances, a preferred policy is available for under $400.
Homes located in special flood hazard zones may be eligible for significant discounts based on the finished elevation of the dwelling and the type of foundation. In short, the higher the elevations of the structure off the ground, the less likely the chance of flood damage and the lower the insurance rate. Steve Jeter our flood expert can help you get the best coverage possible at the least expensive price.
I hope that the information provided here has helped you to gain a greater understanding of Flood Insurance and how important it is. We routinely talk to our customers and friends about this subject and the changes that continue to occur on the federal level. We are passionate about this subject because of all the recent flooding here in the Pacific Northwest. There is no doubt that our weather patterns are changing. In fact, several of our customers suffered flood losses in 2011. Most of them believed they were not located in a flood zone. I hate it when I have to tell a customer that they have no coverage because they did not buy Flood Insurance! That’s why it is so important to us that you have the best protection possible.
If you would like a free quote, please fill out the form located at the top of this page, or call Steve at 800-452-6826.
“Steve has gone over and above to get us a good deal on our insurance for renters and auto. Thank you so much, Steve.” — Susan Wales, Yoncalla, OR.