Archive for the 'Flood Insurance' Category

NY Flood 2014 Insurance update

FLOOD 2014 Update                          

By Peter Wallin, Insurance Agent
Elmira NY
www.WallinInsurance.com

These past few years have seen many changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that has affected residents of Chemung County, NY.  I have studied these federal program updates and am concerned that the rates may be going up, elevation certificates may be required and delays may occur when trying to buy or sell a home.

In October 2013 the NFIP released new requirements for  Elevation Certificates be completed prior to buying a home in a designated flood zone.  These certificates are completed by land surveyors and generally costs $400-500.  The purpose is to show exactly where the home is positioned in relation to the flood level.  The home may be a few feet above the flood level, or a few feet below, which will then determine the price for flood insurance.    As an insurance agent I must also inspect the property and submit photos to the insurance company

With these new changes – prices for flood insurance may rise dramatically over the next few years – upwards of 25% increase each year.  And because this is a National program administered by the government, the prices are the same no matter where you buy the insurance.  I suggest you work with a knowledgeable insurance agent who understands this process and can assist with deductible option and coverage issues on contents.

Banks require flood insurance – usually in the amount of the loan, or 80% of the replacement cost of the home.  It’s important to check your bank or mortgage company to understand your situation and what is required.

Please read your insurance policies carefully so you fully understand what is covered and what is not.  As always, we are available to answer your questions.

Peter Wallin
WallinInsurance Agency Inc
1364 College Ave
Elmira, NY 14901
877-310-7276
www.WallinInsurance.com

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Floods and heavy rains hit Chemung, Tioga and Broome County


                                                               By Peter Wallin, Insurance Agent
                                                                            www.WallinInsurance.com

It certainly has been devastating season for homeowners and businesses here in the Southern Tier.  We have had several claims in our office and yes, FEMA is doing a good job helping out with emergency funds. 

It will take weeks to clean up the debris that has been left behind by these recent storms.  Friends and Neighbors have come together to help each other with the clean up.  Rotary clubs and other community organizations have held fundraisers and have collected bare necessities to help the people that have been affected. 

My own family has been spared the personal tragedy, but we’ve seen the disaster first-hand.  My son Peter is a student at Binghamton University, and they opened up the entire event center for victims of the flood who were evacuated and needed a place to sleep.  And even as order is restored, we are watching people go home to homes that have been severely damaged by flood waters.  Mold and the rotten smell of contaminated water and mud are beyond measure.

Insurance – how is this handled?  If you had a flood insurance policy we are seeing the claims departments coming out to assess the damage.  In most cases they will pay for damages to the structure of the building  (not contents unless you purchased contents coverage separately).  In many cases it looks like the claims representatives are assessing the damage and creating estimates for repairs.  These estimates may increase if more damage is found in the coming weeks

We are also seeing claims paid on regular home insurance policies for SEWER AND DRAIN backup.  This is an endorsement that is added to a policy that will pay when there are power outages or drainage backups from sump pumps or drains that cannot handle the water load.  Basement floods  (a lot of homeowners remodel their basements) are being paid in some areas where the drains backed up with resulting water forming in low areas of basements.    Water that seeps in from the outside is not covered.

It is important to note that Flood insurance and Home insurance are two separate policies.  Moving forward, everyone in our community shoudl assess their own situation to determine if they should buy both policies.  It may prove to be a very wise decision.

Flood, Wind, Rain & Ice: How does my insurance handle this?

Our Elmira,  NY area has seen several weather related cases during the Summer of 2011.  Here’s a brief rundown of coverages, according to Insurance Agent Peter Wallin

Heavy winds – Microbursts.  Trees falling into yards and on houses.  YES, There is insurance to pay for the removal of trees, and subsequent damage to your home.  Talk to your agent to make sure you are comfortable with your deductible.  If you have trees that are big or old you may want to take action to remove them before the next big storm.  Also, if a neighbors’ tree falls on your property YOU are responsible for the damage you incur, not your neighbor.  This is considered and act of God and technically your neighbor is not responsible.  the same goes if your tree hits their home! 

Rain or Ice – You may have rain or ice build up and then backup on your roof or through a window gap.  The resulting damage to your property is covered.

Sewer and Drain backup – this is often an optional coverage you can add to your home or landlord property.  It will pay for backup of water through drains, toilets, tubs or a sump pump that fails to work.  We have paid many claims for clients who have this coverage, and we’ve denied them when they don’t have this endorsement

Flood – here’s the problem.  This is not a covered peril on a regular home policy.  You need to have a seperate flood insurance policy.  This is a FEMA product that can be purchased from your local insurance agent.  Once you buy the policy, coverage begins in 30 days.  Beware that banks require flood insurance if your property is located in a flood zone.  But anyone can buy it.  There is options for building coverage as well as contents.   Read your policy carefully so you understand what is and what is not considered a flood.

For more information visit www.WallinInsurance.com or Peter Wallin at Peter@WallinInsurance.com


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