New Orleans Flood Insurance

16 Replies

How do you estimate the rate of flood insurance for homes in New Orleans?  I'm looking for ballpark numbers as I vet investment properties.  It sounds like it's related to the flood class, but I'm not sure where to find that information.

I would say talk to an insurance agent...they should at least have an idea...you can look up the flood zone classification for the parish, then get with an agent that can get you flood insurance. They should have close guess of what it will be.

Each and every home will be different based on it's particular elevation. The way flood insurance is determined is by the base flood elevation for the area as compared to the elevation of the subject house. An elevation certificate is needed for this and can be obtained from a surveyor for about $250 if seller doesn't have one available. If they have flood insurance the company they have their insurance with should have one on file. Easiest way to find out is to simply ask the seller. You can use an insurance agent for quotes, but without an elevation certificate they can't give you accurate rate info. I recommend Joe Molero at TWFG Insurance Services. His website - http://www.twfg-gulfsouth.com/company.html.

Also, if a property you purchase does not have a flood elevation certificate or it is expired, you may want to consider hiring a surveyor (not sure if that is the term) to measure the actual elevation of the house and issue you a current flood elevation certificate.

For example, when I bought my primary home 5 years ago, the certificate was expired and I was being charged $1250/year (Mid City).  However, my house is raised 2-3' off the ground.  So I got a new flood elevation certificate and my insurance dropped from $1250/year to $330/year.  Of course, that was before they tacked on the $250 fee/year for non-owner occupied and/or multi-family houses that came into effect a couple years ago.

A flood elevation certificate won't always be helpful but it often is because, without one, the insurance will be based on basically the lowest point within your flood zone area.

@Charlotte McPherson Agree with what everyone posted.  Really unless you have a property in the same neighborhood and at the same elevation, only an agent can help.  Older houses built before 1970 do not need an elevation certificate.  But getting one will never hurt your premiums, likely make them lower. 

I would say for any multi family house, the lowest your costs would be is about $500, this is due to the fees added.  I have two houses that are multi and at least 1ft above BFE (one is 7.5ft above the ground, one is 3.5ft above the ground), and both run me about $600/yr, both are in flood zones (A if I recall).

@Charlotte McPherson 

If you are just looking for zone classifications the below link is helpful. 

http://maps.lsuagcenter.com/floodmaps/

However , as previously stated,  a current  flood elevation certicate provided to an insurance agent is the only real way to get an idea. Premiums can vary greatly even if the houses are next door to each other. 

If you are going worst case scenario,  as @Jennifer Tornus stated you can get a premium based on zone classification but it will be based on the lowest point in that zone. It could mean a drastic difference of $500 annually vs $500 a month. 

The link Michael posted above is a great tool, but just be aware that they show the proposed flood zones that are not in effect yet.  You have to click on the tool box "Effective Firm" to show the current maps.  For my properties not in a flood zone the premiums are around $350 annually for owner occupied and add $250/year to that for investment properties becuase of the new fee.  If you are in a flood zone get the elevation cert and then get it quoted out.

I can help you with this. Actually I have a whole post about reducing flood insurance premiums.

https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/61/topics/364937-reducing-flood-insurance-costs?page=1#p2316931

So if I'm understanding correctly and the rates haven't changed too much since this last post,  an investment property, not in a flood zone would likely start at $600/annual.  

What about Named Storm Coverage? Is this also required and if so, also based on elevation?

Add above to normal dwelling insurance and it seems we are creeping up to $300 to $400 per month just for insurance.  

Does that seem typical for New Orleans? 

I am actively looking to buy my first property here and could use some insight. 

@Troy Williams Elevated houses at or above BFE or not in a flood zone will have a minimum flood insurance cost of about $650/year for a non-owner occupant house.  Dwelling insurance (including wind & hail coverage) is separate and depends on the house construction, age and value.   For the most part, the costs of this coverage is linear with value, assuming the same deductible.  You really should get a quote for this cost. 

Some insurers will offer dwelling insurance that excludes wind and hail coverage (hurricane), and then you will need a purchase a separate wind and hail coverage policy for the state run insurance fund.

For my new construction houses, values in the $200-250k range, dwelling insurance with wind & hail coverage cost me around $2000/year.

Best to ask a local insurance agent who can look up the property address and tell you exactly what flood insurance would run. I own two properties across the street from each other...and the one with the higher elevation actually cost > $1,000 MORE in flood insurance per year until they updated the flood maps.

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@Mike Wood and others, do you always get flood coverage in non flood zones?  I'm closing on a 2 unit property that is above BFE and I had not planned to pick it up but now I feel like I should.  This is my first property so I'm trying to figure out what is overkill vs smart. 

@Erin A. For any property that I have in the city of New Orleans, I always buy flood insurance.  Its cheap insurance if your not in a flood zone.

If I owned property in other areas, it would depend on location and proximity to water.  I would not base my decision on whether the property is in a flood zone or not.

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