Everyone lives in a Flood Zone!

Hurricane season is upon us, and based on the devastation that Houston is going through (and with another hurricane on the way) this season may not turn out to be a walk in the park for homeowners and renters.

I am not sure if you are aware, but flood damage (and earthquake damage) are excluded under all homeowners, condominium, and renter’s insurance policies. If you are in a Federally Mandated Flood Hazard area, you are required to purchase flood insurance to satisfy your Mortgage Company or bank.  But there is a misconception that if you are not in a Federally Mandated Flood Hazard area, you are not able to purchase flood insurance – that is incorrect.

Everyone who owns a home or condominium or rents an apartment is able to purchase flood insurance, and if you are NOT in a Federally Mandated Flood Hazard area, you could receive a “preferred rate.”

As an example, the flood insurance policy that Kathy and I carry on our home costs us $1389 per year for $50K on contents and $50K on the building because we are in a Federally Mandated Flood Hazard area. If we were NOT in a Federally Mandated Flood Hazard area our rate would be around $499.00 per year for up to $250K on the building and $100K on contents, a big difference.

Here is the second misconception to flood insurance: many people think that they will purchase a flood policy when they need it or a hurricane is heading in their direction. It does not work this way, as there is a 30-day waiting period on all new flood insurance policies (unless you are purchasing the coverage for a closing or refinance).

Here are some statistics for homeowners:

1. In the past several years, 60% of all declared disasters involved flooding
2. 25% of all insurance claims paid by FEMA involved losses outside Federally Mandated Flood Hazard areas.
3. 51% of all homeowner insurance claims are related to weather or flooding

And it gets worse for business owners. Here are 3 statistics that every business owner should know:

1. Almost 40% of small businesses never reopen their doors after a flood disaster.
2. Floods happen everywhere. 25% of all flood damage occurs in low to moderate flood risk areas. Business owners should not rely on a line of credit at their bank for protection.
3. Business insurance policies exclude flood damage. Only flood insurance pays qualified claims quickly so a business owner can get back to business

I strongly urge you to call Vargas & Vargas Insurance (your Lolocal independent insurance agent) and request a FREE flood insurance quote. Or click here.

If you are inclined to make a donation to help the wonderful people of Houston Texas, my mortgage friend, Richard Smith, recommends making a donation on this site, click here.

Thank you!

Carlos

Winter Weather Part 3: After the Storm (the storm has passed, now what?)

10-19-16-winter-weather-part-3-after-imgHave you read the blogs on what to do before and during a winter storm? If so, then you’re ready for the third and final part to this blog series – what to do after the storm passes. It’s easy to think that you’re free and clear once the storm blows over, but there are still a few things that you should check off your ‘to-do’ list:

  • If your home lost power during the storm and you need a safe place to stay warm, find a local shelter by texting SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA).
  • Learn from the storm. Make a note of anything that you could do in the future to be more prepared, including supplies that you should add to your emergency kit, and improvements you could make to your family communication plan.
  • Make sure to restock any items in your emergency kit that you may have used during the storm, including batteries, medicines, food, water, and more.
  • If your home was damaged due to the storm, call your local independent insurance agent to find out if the damage is covered by your home insurance policy. They can get started making a claim for you right away!

If you need any help with your home insurance or want some general insurance advice, please let me know. And make sure that you stay tuned to this blog for more tips on winterizing your home and car, and on how to get the most out of your insurance policies.

Hopefully, our series of winter storms has been beneficial to understanding what to do, before, during and after a winter storm. If you need help with a Massachusetts auto, home or business insurance, we are the experts at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, just call 617-298-0655. We will be happy to help you understand all of your insurance needs and coverage options, and select the plan that’s best for your unique needs.