Check your Atlanta home insurance before hurricane season

Make sure your home insurance is ready for hurricane season.

Make sure your home insurance is ready for hurricane season.

Hurricane season is here, which means that it’s important to get your Atlanta home insurance or flood insurance ready. You need to have your home insurance all settled well in advance of any storm. We’ll go over a few things you need to know about making sure your insurance is ready for hurricanes.

6 things to know about home insurance, flood insurance, and hurricanes.

1. Remember that home insurance doesn’t cover flooding.

Did you know that your typical home insurance policy doesn’t cover flooding? That’s why it’s important to make sure that you have the proper flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

You should also keep these things in mind when buying flood insurance:

2. Flood insurance takes 30 days to become effective.

If you’re planning on waiting to get flood insurance until you hear about a big storm coming your way, you may not be covered in the aftermath anyway. The NFIP has a 30-day waiting period before your flood insurance becomes effective. They may make an exception if you need flood insurance to get, extend, increase, or renew your mortgage loan, but overall, don’t wait until the last minute!

3. If a tropical storm or full-blown hurricane is set to hit your area, it may be too late to get home insurance

Insurance companies may issue “binding restrictions” if a big storm is nearby, which means they won’t sell or finalize home insurance coverage for certain peril for a certain amount of time. This happens a LOT before a hurricane strikes. So, waiting until the last minute could mean that you’re out of luck for getting home insurance. As tempting and easy as it is to procrastinate dealing with insurance, hurricane season is not the time to put off getting some home insurance quotes.

4. You may not be able to increase your home insurance limits or lower your deductible either if a storm is on the way.

What if you already have home insurance? If an insurance carrier imposes binding restrictions, you may not be able to raise the limits of what your regular policy will cover or lower your deductible (the amount you’ve agreed to pay for a claim before your policy kicks in.) So, you’ll need to consider your risk and make any adjustments to your coverage well before your area is threatened by a major storm.

5. If you live near water, you may have to get home insurance coverage from a different type of carrier.

Here’s the thing: Even if your home has never seen a hurricane, living in a coastal town or near a body of water can put you at a bigger risk of being hit by a storm. Big insurance companies sometimes don’t like taking on that risk. So, if you’re having trouble finding home insurance for your coastal or beach house, you may have to think outside of the box in terms of home insurance carriers.

6. Take a look at your ALE coverage.

Most homeowners insurance policies have additional living expense (ALE) coverage, which can help you pay for the additional expenses you incur if you can’t live in your home due to a covered loss. Make sure you understand how much ALE coverage you have, how it works, and what the conditions are for reimbursement, again, BEFORE a hurricane.

We know that hurricane season can be a little scary. So, we hope these tips will help protect you, your family, and your home investment. If getting the right home insurance for a hurricane still seems a little daunting, just call our insurance experts, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an agent today! We’ll work with you to make sure your homeowners’ policy addresses your specific risks and that you save money on the coverage you need.

7 things you need to know about Atlanta flood insurance

Here are some facts to know about Atlanta flood insurance.

Here are some facts to know about Atlanta flood insurance.

Water is necessary for life, of course, but when it gets into your home it’s suddenly less about giving life and more about causing destruction. Water doesn’t have much regard for property or non-waterproof things that are in its way when it decides to flood. But that’s exactly why Atlanta flood insurance exists – to help the homeowner recover from a flood-related loss. What exactly is flood insurance and what does it do? We’re going to explain 7 things you need to know about flood insurance.

7 things you need to know about flood insurance.

1. First things first – home insurance and renters’ insurance does not cover flooding.

Many homeowners only find this out too late – meaning after their home is underwater. Plenty of people assume that flooding is covered by Atlanta home insurance or renters insurance, but it’s not. Flooding is the most common – and most expensive – natural disaster in the United States, which is why it’s important to consider protecting your home with flood insurance. The damage from just one inch of floodwater can be over $20,000.

(Keep in mind that the insurance definition of flooding boils down to this: there’s a lot of water on the ground where there usually isn’t water and it infiltrates homes.)

2. You have to get flood insurance through the NFIP through an agent.

To get Atlanta flood insurance, you will most likely have to go through an agent and purchase a policy from the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP. You can discuss your insurance needs with the agent to make sure that you have enough coverage to protect both your house and your belongings.

3. The price is the price.

Okay, here’s what we mean by that:

Since you’re purchasing insurance from the NFIP, the price is not going to chance from agent to agent, or from agency to agency. You may have heard that it’s important to shop around and get multiple quotes for insurance, and usually that’s great advice. But when you’re getting flood insurance, you’ll get a quote and that’s what the price tag is. (So, in a way it’s a little less work!)

4. There’s usually a 30-day waiting period with few exceptions.

This one is extremely important:

Your policy won’t go into effect until 30 days after you purchase it. Lots of people have a bit of panic when there’s a big storm in the forecast and a lot of rain is predicted (like during hurricane season.) But if a huge storm is going to strike in a week, your brand new flood insurance policy isn’t going to help you much. You’ve got to wait out the 30 days.

There are a few exceptions – and we mean a few. One possible exception is if you need flood insurance to get a mortgage loan, extend a mortgage loan, increase a mortgage loan, or renew a mortgage loan.

Bottom line is this: be sure to talk to your agent about when your policy is going to take effect.

5. You have to pay all in one go.

Unlike other lines of insurance coverage, such as auto insurance, you have to pay for a year of flood insurance upfront in one installment. That’s just the way it works.

6. You can get flood insurance even if you’re not in a “high-risk” flooding area.

Even if you’re not in an area that’s considered “high-risk” for flooding, you can still purchase flood insurance. It’s not exclusively for those folks who live in flood-prone areas.

And check out this stat: FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) states that more than 20% of all flood-related claims come from homes that are in areas considered to be low or medium-risk for flooding.

You can get flood insurance from the NFIP as long as your community participates in the NFIP. More than 22,000 communities nationwide participate, so chances are pretty good that you won’t have any problems finding a flood insurance policy.

7. If you’re not in a high-risk flood area, you might be able to get a preferred risk policy.

If your home isn’t in a high-risk area, you might qualify for a fancy flood insurance policy called a preferred risk policy. Basically, it acknowledges that you’re not a high risk for flooding, so the policy might be less expensive. If you’re in a low or medium-risk flood area but you want to get flood insurance for those just-in-case scenarios, ask your agent about a preferred risk policy.

So, there you have it – seven things you need to know about Atlanta flood insurance. If you’re interested in getting a flood insurance policy to protect your home, we would be happy to help. Our team of insurance agents can assist with getting quotes and helping you get the coverage that you need. To get in touch with us, you just have to fill out our online quote form or give us a call.


Stay safe with these summer flash flood safety tips in Atlanta

A flash flood can happen with little warning.

Flash floods can happen with little warning.

When you get a lot of rain, like we do in Atlanta during the summer, it’s not uncommon to have flash floods. Flash floods happen fast, and they can strike without a lot of warning. Summer months often come with the highest risk of flash floods because a lot of rain can fall in a short amount of time. The ground and rivers just can’t keep up. So, when it starts deluging outside and it rains so hard it’s difficult to see, it’s important to know what to do to stay safe during a flash flood.

Read moreStay safe with these summer flash flood safety tips in Atlanta

8 tips to help you avoid a flooding catastrophe from heavy rains

Flooding from heavy rain can cause lots of damage to your home.

Flooding is a major problem, especially when you live in Atlanta and get deluges of heavy rain in the summer. Many an Atlantan has encountered a soggy basement due to summer storms (or any-time-of-the-year storms), and it’s very important to go over thunderstorm safety with your family. Lots of floods are caused by poor or blocked drainage, where the water has nowhere to go and just continues to build and build.

But remember that flooding due to heavy rain isn’t covered by homeowners insurance. You’d need a separate flood insurance policy for that. Anyways, we’ve got some tips to help you avoid flooding from surface water in your home.

Read more8 tips to help you avoid a flooding catastrophe from heavy rains

Flood insurance FAQs: The truth about flooding and your insurance

Flooding isn't covered in standard homeowners policies.

Flooding isn't covered in standard homeowners policies.

Imagine this. It’s the Atlanta rainy season. It’s hot, humid, and pouring down rain as it’s wont to do in the summer months. It’s been raining heavily. You get home from work one day, eager to escape into the air conditioning after a muggy ride home, and burst inside. You put down your things and wander into the kitchen for dinner…

Only to find that your kitchen looks an awful lot like a bathtub. There’s water everywhere. The kitchen flooded while you were at work, and you’re looking at a lot of damage.

Okay, you think. I’ll get on the phone and call my insurance company. So you do. You dial them up and explain what’s going on…and then they break the news.

Flooding isn’t covered in standard homeowners and renters policies.

You stare at your kitchen in dismay.

There’s a way to avoid the situation of trying to figure out how you’re going to afford all of those costly repairs and replacements. And that’s flood insurance.

What’s flood insurance?

Flood insurance is an additional coverage that you can purchase to protect your home and your belongings from damages or losses related to flooding. Since flooding is not covered under most home insurance policies, you have to purchase it separately.

What does it cover?

As we mentioned above, flood insurance protects the home itself and your personal belongings. You do, however, have to make sure that you have insurance for both the structure and the contents of your home – it’s important to make sure that everything’s covered. Taking a home inventory is a great way to make sure that you have enough coverage.

Flood insurance will protect you if you ever face a flooding loss.

Keep in mind that not all water damage is considered “flooding.” For a loss to be considered flooding, there has to have been two acres worth of flooding or two homes that have been affected (one of which is yours) from either tidal or inland waters or rapid and unusual accumulation. Basically, that means that there’s a lot of water on land where there’s usually not a lot of water.

Where can I get flood insurance in Atlanta?

Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program, but you have to buy it through an agent. You can’t go directly to the NFIP and buy it yourself. And your community has to participate in the NFIP in order for you to be able to get flood insurance.

What if I don’t live in a high-risk flooding area?

You can still buy flood insurance even if you don’t live in a high-risk area. You never know when a summer flash flood could hit your home. Even low or medium-risk homes can be at risk for flooding – floods are a very common weather-related disaster in the US. Plus, the damage from just an inch of water can be extremely costly. Yikes.

What if I rent my Atlanta home?

You can still purchase flood insurance for your belongings. Insuring the structure itself is up to the owner of the property – they take that responsibility in their own hands, and they have to decide if they want flood insurance or not.

A flood watch was just issued for my area for the next week or so. Can I buy flood insurance and be good to go?

You can buy the insurance…but it won’t do you much good for the potential flood that’ll happen in the next week. Flood insurance policies take effect 30 days after they’re bought.

There's a time limit before flood insurance becomes effective.

Now, if you have to get flood insurance because your lender requires it for you to get a loan, or to increase, extend, or renew an existing loan, don’t worry. There’s no waiting period for that situation.

Hopefully we were able to answer some of the questions you might have about flood insurance. Your home is valuable, so consider securing your peace of mind with a flood insurance policy today. If you have any further questions about flood insurance, please don’t hesitate to ask. We’d be happy to help you with any of your insurance needs. If you want to get a free quote on your Atlanta home insurance, we can do that, too!