I don’t watch much news these days, but even if you watch no news at all, you’re probably well aware of the fact that there are several parts of the country that have experienced unusually bad flooding. Flooding can be caused by a number of factors, and for those who are in the hurricane states (like me in Florida), you know that hurricane season is now upon us and one of the things that come along with a risk of hurricanes is a risk of flooding.
About 10 days ago we closed on a rental property in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I always get a quote for flood insurance for my properties because I know from personal experience that flooding surely happens outside of FEMA’s official “high risk” flood zones (in fact, according to the Floodsmart.gov nearly 25% of flood claims come from low to moderate risk areas). Imagine my surprise when I attempt to get a quote for flood insurance for the property and our insurance agent tells us that they are not allowed to write any flood policies because Congress let the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) lapse on May 31 and the senators are yet to come to an agreement to extend the program. New flood policies and renewal policies have come to a screeching halt.
This is important news for rehabbers and landlords who deal with properties in or near flood prone areas. For those who are rehabbers and looking to resell to retail buyers, you should be aware that closings are stalled all over the country because federally regulated lenders require buyers in flood zones to carry flood insurance. While there are private insurance companies that provide flood, those options are very limited and highly expensive. Be sure to know what your flood zone is and what restrictions exist with your buyers’ lenders.
For landlords with properties in or near flood zones, you may want to check the dates on your flood policies and check in with your insurance agent to see how you should handle payments at renewal time (since its possible that once Congress reauthorizes the flood program it can be retroactive). Also, if you’re in areas that are at risk for hurricanes, you may want to check those windstorm policies to see if you’re covered in the event of flooding that happens as a result of roof damage.
In the meantime investor friends, as Congress battles this out, let’s do our best to protect our assets and stay dry!