Long Beach Island will be facing nor’easters, hurricanes, and winter storms. Tidal flooding is a real concern and all homeowners should have flood insurance. For more information on the National Flood Insurance Program call 800-427-4661. For an agent in your area call 800-720-1093 or visit http://www.floodsmart.gov. Flood insurance is available to all Township residents and renters even if the property has been flooded in the past.
Flood insurance rate maps are on file in the Townships Building Department. For a determination of your flood zone, or for a personal consultation on flood mitigation and retrofitting of your flood prone home please call 609-361-6695.
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created by Congress in 1968 to provide homeowners flood insurance at a reasonable cost. Keep in mind that standard homeowners policies do not cover flood losses. Depending on your coverage, location (flood hazard zone), and elevation of the structure, rates will vary. In the regular Federal Flood Insurance Program, coverage of up to $250,000 is available for residential dwellings, and up to $100,000 is available for contents. There is a 30-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect. Flood Insurance is required by law for federally financed loans when buying or improving structures. For more information on flood insurance call 1-800-427-4661. National Flood Insurance Program website is www.fema.gov/nfip/
Long Beach Township participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which makes federally backed flood insurance available for all eligible buildings in the floodplain. Flood insurance covers direct losses caused by surface flooding, ocean or bay flooding, and local drainage problems.
The NFIP insures buildings, including mobile homes, with two types of coverage; Building and contents. Building coverage is for the walls, floors, insulation, furnace, and other items permanently attached to the structure. Contents coverage may be purchased separately, if the contents are in an insurable building. Inventory your house contents and take photos of every room for future claims.
Mandatory Purchase Requirement
The Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 made the purchase of flood insurance mandatory for federally backed mortgages on buildings located in the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). It also affects all forms of Federal or Federally related financial assistance for buildings in SFHAs. The SFHA is the base (100-year) floodplain mapped on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). It is shown as one or more zones that begin with the letter “A” or “V”.
The rule applies to secured mortgage loans from such financial institutions as commercial lenders, savings and loan associations, savings banks, and credit unions that are regulated, supervised, or insured by Federal agencies such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of Thrift Supervision. It also applies to all mortgage loans purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac in the secondary mortgage market.
Federal financial assistance programs affected by the laws include loans and grants from Agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, Farmers Home Administration, Federal Housing Administration, Small Business Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
How It Works
Lenders are required to complete a Standard Flood Hazard Determination (SFHD) form whenever they make, increase, extend or renew a mortgage, home equity, home improvement, commercial, or farm credit loan to determine if the building or mobile home is in a SFHA. It is the Federal agency’s or the lender’s responsibility to check the current FIRM to determine if the building is in an SFHA. Copies of the FIRM are available for review at the Long Beach Township building Department and the Surf City Branch of the Ocean County Library. Lenders may also have copies or they use a flood zone determination company to provide the SFHD form.
If the building is in a SFHA, the Federal agency or lender is required by law to require the recipient to purchase a flood insurance policy on the building. Federal regulations require building coverage equal to the amount of the loan (excluding appraised value of the land) or the maximum amount of insurance available for the NFIP, whichever is less. The maximum amount available for a single-family residence is $250,000. Government sponsored enterprises, such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, have stricter requirements.
The mandatory purchase requirement does not affect loans or financial assistance for items that are not covered by a flood insurance policy, such as vehicles, business expenses, landscaping, and vacant lots. It does not affect loans for buildings that are not in a SFHA, even though a portion of the lot may be. While not mandated by law, a lender may require a flood insurance policy, as a condition of a loan, for a property in any zone on a FIRM.
If a person feels that a SFHD form incorrectly places the property in the SFHA, he or she may request a Letter of Determination Review from FEMA. This must be submitted within 45 days of the determination. More information can be found at the following link: http://www.fema.gov/how-request-flood-hazard-determination-review-fema
FLOOD INSURANCE CORNER
Spring floods and flood insurance claims: A few basic tips
Since you are reading this article, you have an interest in flooding. Do YOU have a flood insurance policy?
Each year with your policy, you receive a packet of information from FEMA about your policy and a flood loss history of the property. Included with the packet is a copy of the “Flood Insurance Claims Handbook,” or FEMA F-687.
This short, easy-to-read handbook explains the process of filing a flood insurance claim. The booklet is divided into three main sections:
- What to do before a flood
- What to do after a flood
- Addressing questions about your flood insurance claim.
The handbook has a lot of good advice in it. With spring flooding just around the corner, here are just a few of the many tips:
Contact your insurance company or agent immediately. Have a copy of your policy number when you make the initial call. Your agent will advise you how to file a written notice of loss.
Take lots of pictures. In the case that you can’t save damaged materials for the adjustor, then take photos and save 12-inch square samples of the carpeting and sheetrock that had to be removed. Steve knows of a case where a property owner allowed damaged appliances to be hauled away by a scrap metal recycler before the adjustor saw them. That property owner was not reimbursed for those appliances.
Make a list of damaged contents, including information about brand names and replacement costs. Make another list of damages to the structure. Make second copies of same lists for your records (maybe a photo of the list if you can’t make a physical copy).
An adjustor will contact you about visiting your property. Ask to see the adjustor’s identification and assist the adjustor in order that he or she may better assist you. The adjustor will complete a detailed estimate of damages and provide you with a Proof of Loss.
That Proof of Loss is your official claim for damages. The Proof of Loss must be completed, signed and turned in to the insurance company within 60 days after the loss occurs. A property owner can appeal a Proof of Loss that he or she disagrees with, but you can’t appeal a proof of loss that is never filed!
For more information about how to file a claim, review the Flood Insurance Claims Handbook. For an understanding of coverages, review FEMA’s Summary of Coverages.