Excess Flood Coverage: Do You Need It?

As the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey looms ever closer, the thoughts of many homeowners are turning to flood insurance. Floods are one of the most common and most expensive home hazards, and it pays to make sure you’re properly protected, especially in this era of ever more violent hurricanes and unpredictable rainfall patterns.

What Kind of Flood Insurance Do I Need?

While the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers suitable coverage for most homes, people with high-value properties ought to consider supplementing their NFIP policy with Excess Flood insurance. If there is potential for a flood to cause more than $250,000 of damage to the structure of your home, and $100,000 of damage to its contents (the maximum coverage limits available under the NFIP), then Excess Flood insurance is worth considering.

How Does Excess Flood Work?

In a nutshell, an Excess Flood policy kicks in once the limits of your coverage under the NFIP have been exhausted, so you typically won’t pay another deductible. You also get some attractive additional coverage options, including loss of use, which pays for you to live somewhere else if your home is rendered uninhabitable due to flood.

How Much Does It Cost?

Excess Flood is available from private insurers and is not subsidized by the NFIP, which means it costs more than an NFIP policy. Premiums vary depending on the location and construction of your home, the foundation type, and even the way your home faces! But on average, reckon on it being at least twice as expensive as the equivalent amount of NFIP coverage.

How Can I Find Out More?

Give your agent at Memorial Insurance a call on 713-461-8272, and we will be glad to answer any questions you may have, run an Excess Flood quote, or simply help you decide whether this coverage is necessary for your home.

Coming Soon: Flood Endorsement!

We had some exciting news from one of our most innovative insurance carriers this week. Starting this spring, a Flood Endorsement will be available for all home insurance policies with XYZ Insurance (not the carrier’s real name because this product is still confidential).

What does this mean? Well, instead of purchasing a separate flood policy through the NFIP, homeowners will be able to add flood coverage to their home insurance.

Remember the old days when you had to purchase separate home insurance and wind insurance policies? Nowadays, most carriers combine these coverages in the same policy, even in coastal areas. Continuing this trend towards value and simplicity, the same thing is going to happen with flood!

XYZ Insurance is set to be the first company to “go live” with this endorsement, but it seems likely that other companies will follow suit because it makes so much sense for consumers.

XYZ Insurance’s new Flood Endorsement will offer:

  • Choice of flood coverage levels up to the limits of the home insurance policy (in other words, not limited to $250,000).
  • Full Replacement Cost coverage, including for your personal property.
  • Loss of Use coverage (for hotel stays and living expenses while your home is flooded).
  • Claims handled by XYZ Insurance adjusters (not FEMA).
  • Premiums likely to be lower than NFIP policies (in Preferred zones, probably around $150-$300 per year depending on coverage level).

So, when will this coverage be available to you? Watch this space for updates, or contact your agent at Memorial Insurance for more information!

Flood Insurance Increases!

Dwelling ContentsDeductiblesPrimary HomeRental Home
$100,000$40,000$1,000$371$596
$125,000$50,000$1,250$389$614
$150,000$60,000$1,250$415$640
$200,000$80,000$1,250$453$678
$250,000$100,000$1,250$480$705

In breaking news that will surprise no one in Houston, flood premiums under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) have increased, effective January 1st, 2019. The table above shows the new rates in flood zone X; premiums in other zones will vary.

The increases are in fact remarkably small, considering the huge losses incurred by the NFIP after Hurricane Harvey; the top-level X-zone policy has gone up from $450 to $480, a rise of just $30 per year. Flood insurance premiums are set by the government and are the same no matter which agent you go to, or which flood carrier you use.

For more information about flood insurance, give your friendly agent at Memorial Insurance a call today!

2018 Hurricane Prep Toolkit

Thank you to our friends at Lighthouse Insurance for the following advice. Make sure you’re well prepared for hurricane season!

Weather Alert Apps: A variety of free smartphone apps help you stay ahead of the weather. The sooner you know, the more time you have to prepare. Check out more details here.

Emergency Preparedness Kit: Get these things in advance so you’re ready for when a hurricane hits.

Hurricane Prep Resources: Follow these tips for having emergency communication and action plans – essential when a major hurricane strikes.

Stay Safe this Summer!

Why Hurricane Harvey Will Happen Again

Flooding and devastation was widespread throughout Houston after Hurricane Harvey.

 

Ever heard the following words?: “My house has never flooded, not even during Hurricane Harvey, so I don’t need to purchase flood insurance”. In the following interview, featured in Texas Monthly, local expert Professor Samuel Brody explains exactly why this is the wrong kind of thinking. A must-read as we approach peak hurricane season!: Why Hurricane Harvey WILL Happen Again.

Why You Should Take Photos Of Everything You Own

Apart from having adequate flood insurance coverage, one of the most valuable lessons that emerged from Hurricane Harvey was the importance of documenting your possessions. Just one hour spent photographing your belongings now could save you a lot of time and stress later.

If your possessions are damaged, displaced, or destroyed by fire or flood, it can be surprisingly hard to remember what you had. Not only that, but your insurance company is going to want copies of receipts or photos in order to prove you actually owned the items in the first place.

Here is how to do it right:

  • Use your cellphone, iPad or digital camera to take high quality images in daylight.
  • Open drawers, cupboards and closets and take photos of the contents.
  • Take photos of valuable items separately, with a card alongside them showing price and date of purchase.
  • Back up your photos to a cloud server, to make sure you can access them even if your computer, phone and camera are destroyed.
  • Don’t forget to update your photo inventory when you make a new purchase!

Why not take this opportunity to make sure you have enough personal property coverage on your homeowners’ and flood insurance policies? Be sure to call your account manager at Memorial Insurance if you need expert guidance.

6 Reasons Why You Should Purchase Flood Insurance Right Now

As of July 2016, just 15% of homeowners in Houston carried flood insurance. This number has increased since Hurricane Harvey, but far too many homeowners in this bayou city are still without flood protection. Here is why you should purchase flood coverage:

Flood insurance is not included in your home insurance policy: Some people don’t even realize they are without coverage until the worst happens. Your home insurance carrier will deny all claims relating to rising waters entering the home.

Flood insurance is not expensive: With rates starting at just $349 a year for $100,000 in building coverage and $40,000 in contents coverage, flood insurance is the best value insurance that money can buy.

Disaster assistance is not enough to rebuild or elevate your home: Even a few inches of flood water can cause devastating and costly damage, and a handout from the government will likely cover just a small fraction of your expenses.

Flooding is unpredictable: Many homes that flooded during the Memorial Day floods in Houston in 2016 were unaffected by Harvey …. and vice versa. Urban development, weather patterns, and other factors mean that literally anywhere in Houston is at risk of flooding.

You’re grandfathered in: Flood maps in Houston are expected to change as more severe weather events become the norm. Buy a preferred zone flood policy now and keep it active, and you’ll keep the same low rate even if your neighborhood gets rezoned and premiums double.

Flood season is coming: June through October is when the most severe weather events occur in Houston. There is a 30-day waiting period after you purchase flood coverage before the policy takes effect, so get your protection in place before the rain arrives!