There is a simple fact that many people in the Tampa, Florida area don’t realize when they buy their home insurance policies: without flood insurance, Tampa residents are at risk of damage and loss to their dwelling because flood is not a covered peril in a home insurance policy. Maybe you’re in what is considered a “low-risk” area and are not required to carry by your mortgage company. However, even if your house is built on higher ground and in a safer area, your personal property and dwelling are still at risk.

With hurricane season lasting six months of the year (June through November), there is always risk associated with flooding from sustained heavy rainfall and watershed saturation and backup causing thousands in damage to your house. If you still think your home is safe, consider this fact: roughly 25% of all flood insurance claim reporting occurs in “low-moderate risk” areas..

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What happens if my home is damaged by flooding and I'm not covered?

There are two possible outcomes for residents of Tampa with losses from flooding and no flood insurance: Tampa homeowners can hope that the federal government will declare their community a disaster area, in which case there may be financial relief; or they will have to replace their losses out of their pocket. Because of the financial and emotional strain it can cause for families, the best plan is to get covered with flood insurance

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How do I obtain flood insurance?

In Florida, Flood insurance is not part of a standard homeowner insurance policy. It is purchased  through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) usually through a Write Your Own (WYO) carrier that is acting as a general agent for FEMA. Just recently some homeowners companies started offering flood insurance as endorsement to the homeowners policy, something that is brand new and has not been done in the past. In order for you to obtain coverage, you need to work through a licensed insurance agent. At Cornerstone Insurance, our Tampa insurance agency has years of experience helping homeowners in Florida obtain flood insurance through the NFIP and now as an endorsement with some homeowners carriers. We are fully licensed and able to find you the best coverage at the best possible rates for your dwelling. We will walk you through each step of the application process and will be there to help if you ever need to file a claim.

Important Note: Unlike most other types of insurance products, flood insurance coverage does not take effect immediately! There is a 30 day waiting period (unless you are closing on a loan) for the coverage to go into effect. Tampa residents must keep this in mind when they purchase a flood policy. So, if there is a major hurricane, tropical storm or heavy rain in the forecast  you are probably already too late to cover your dwelling. It is important that you buy your insurance well in advance of storm season so you will be ready in the event of a disaster.

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So how much is Florida Flood Insurance?

Below are the 2015 FEMA Preferred Flood Rates for X, C and B zones for primary homes (you reside there more than 50 percent of the year). Add $250 per year to a non-primary dwelling.

Building / Contents                                              Annual Premium

$20,000 / $8,000                                                         $162

$30,000 / $12,000                                                       $198

$50,000 / $20,000                                                       $258

$75,000 / $30,000                                                       $301

$100,000 / $40,000                                                     $333

$125,000 / $50,000                                                     $349

$150,000 / $60,000                                                     $371

$200,000 / $80,000                                                     $405

$250,000 / $100,000                                                   $430

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FEMA Flood is paid once a year and is an annual policy. Currently, the premium may be paid through a checking account electronically, or via most major credit cards including American Express, VISA and Master Card.

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