Insurance commissioner offers tips

Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine had the following tips for homeowners suffering from flood damage:

For those without insurance (Oxendine estimates that’s 80 percent of those affected):

– Start dealing with the damage, either personally or by contacting a professional. Get the wet carpet out of the house. Do not save the padding. Throw it out.

– Get air flowing in the house, but do not use the air-conditioner. Open the windows. Use large fans and dehumidifiers.

– Hope the federal government approves FEMA money to assist Georgians financially.

For those with flood insurance:

– Document the damage for your insurance company. Make sure to take photos.

– Coordinate with your insurance agent to get a restoration company to dry, clean and decontaminate everything affected.

What if a sewer or septic tank backed up?

Oxendine says bare-bones policies do not cover that, but premium policies generally do. So make sure to check on that.

In the future, is flood insurance worth it?

Oxendine says about 9 percent of Georgians in single-family homes carry flood insurance. He thinks it’s worth considering in the future. In low-risk areas, he says some of the premiums run about $120 to $150. But, he added, it can be more expensive in higher risk areas.

This question was added later after many blog comments: Can any homeowner in Georgia buy flood insurance?

Most can. Homeowners in all but 16 communities in Georgia can purchase flood insurance if their home is not located in a flood plain. The excluded 16 communities did not chose to participate in the federal flood program. A list of communities that do participate can be found at www.fema.gov/cis/ga.pdf

68 comments Add your comment

Question

September 23rd, 2009
11:04 am

Is flood insurance an option in the State of Georgia if you dont live in a flood zone? I heard Clark Howard and Neal Boortz say that insurance companies will not sell you flood insurance policy unless you are in a flood zone designated by the County. My bro-inlaw is a Prudential Insurance agent said the same thing. Is this not true or I’m I misunderstanding the flood insurance policy rules?

Answer

September 23rd, 2009
11:13 am

I think they will sell it to you, because I live in a townhome not in a flood plane, and my neighbot has carried it for years… It may depend on the carrier?

jdawg

September 23rd, 2009
11:13 am

I think that you need to check and see, my understanding is that flood insurance is available. One of the problems that the public may encounter is an agent that has not been to flood insurance education to sell it. That might have alot to do with it.. I think he said the other day that 33% of the claims for flood, were not in the flood plain. But, most people will not buy due to paying another premium….

gb1205

September 23rd, 2009
11:14 am

For those wanting health insurance to cover pre-exisitnng conditions…should homeowners also be able to flood insurance today to cover their losses from Monday?

gsb654

September 23rd, 2009
11:25 am

Flood Insurance is available to anyone (renters and homeowners) that choose to purchase this policy. The cost for a preferred Flood Insurance Policy is about $250 to $300 /year with a minimum deductible of $1,000. Homeowners with a mortgage that are located in a Flood Zone are required to purchase this additional insurance to close the mortgage. Since Hurricane Katrina, FEMA has updated the flood zone maps nearly every year bringing more and more properties that were not in flood zones, now are considered in flood zones. Those homeowners that purchased homes prior to Katrina may today be in a flood zone, when years ago they were considered not in a flood zone. There are 2 measurements of a flood zone – 100 year flood and 500 year flood.

gsb654

September 23rd, 2009
11:26 am

There is a 30 day waiting period when you purchase a Flood Insurance Policy, before the coverage begins.

truth

September 23rd, 2009
11:26 am

gb1205 – When you purchase a flood policy it has a 30 day delay before coverage would/should apply. As far as the damage from Monday and taking out a policy to cover it…. that will never happen. Each loss is seperate from each other. Meaning, you cannot buy a policy today that will cover damage from Monday.

Commissioner's Office

September 23rd, 2009
11:28 am

If your community participates in the Flood Program you can get coverage regardless of whether you’re in a designated flood area. From the NFIP Website (http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/) “The National Flood Insurance Program offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP. Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding.”

Ryan

September 23rd, 2009
11:28 am

I am an insurance agent and anyone can buy flood insurance. You do not have to be in a flood zone. The cost is more like $300-$400 a year if you are not in a flood zone. More than the 120-150 mentioned above.

Richard

September 23rd, 2009
11:29 am

Get insurance after the fact? That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all week. According to the feds, everyone lives in a flood plain. It’s just the flood risk assigned to that plain. We have had flood insurance since we bought our house and it’s only $300 per year for $100k+ of coverage. $25/mo for peace of mind is well worth it. While everyone at work was worried that day, my wife and I knew we were protected if we took a hit.

See this website for some GREAT information.

http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/

Jane

September 23rd, 2009
11:36 am

National flood insurance may be written only in participating communities. Only communities agreeing to FEMA’s requirements are eligible. There is a 30 day waiting period. The maximum coverage in the regular program is $250,000 on building and $100,000 on contents.

sandra

September 23rd, 2009
11:43 am

gb1205 – Even though some on this blog did not, I understand your humor and the point you were trying to get across. Getting health insurance for a pre-existing condition is the EXACT same thing as trying to purchase flood insurance for damage that occured Monday. It was a very good point…thank you.

Incredible Hulk

September 23rd, 2009
12:04 pm

As a catatroshpe adjuster trainer for 28 years for having worked diasters such as Hurricanes, Hugo, Andrew and Katrina. Remember 75% of the surface of the earth is covered by Water. The entire planet is a flood zone! The only thing that changes is the chance of occurence. Some area’s have a greater chance than other area’s. Do the math 20 years of flood insurance preminums at $ 400 a year and $1, 000 deductible thats almost $ 10,000 paid if nothing happens that same amount invested at 8% is more. You can always self insure and maybe come out ahead or equal. But always remember Surface Water is usually not covered under the regular Homeowners insurance policy. Believe it or not under some older mobile home policies Flood Damage may be Covered! Check with your agent. Special Note for folks that live near Lake Lanier down river what would happen if the dam broke spreading water down Gwinnett and Hall County?

Pat

September 23rd, 2009
12:10 pm

I was going to comment, but I forgot that everyone else on here is smarter and probably knows better. (i.e. Incredible Hulk, gb1205, etc.)

PinkoNeoConLibertarian

September 23rd, 2009
12:10 pm

No Sandra, it is not the same. At the risk of staying off topic…

The debate about pre-existing conditions comes about when you want to change insurance carriers, perhaps because of a job change, or you are dropped by your current carrier. You HAD insurance already but to get new insurance they will not cover your pre-existing conditions. That is wrong.

If I have flood insurance with one carrier and now I want to change to another carrier, or I got dropped by my current carrier because they “re-evaluated” their risk, there should be no waiting period or right to denial as long as I’m getting the same coverage I already have.

ChrisH

September 23rd, 2009
12:20 pm

Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine had the following tips today for homeowners suffering from flood damage:

– Hope the federal government approves FEMA money to assist Georgians financially.

>>>>>>

Thanks for the help, Oxendine. Moron.

Question

September 23rd, 2009
12:43 pm

Just got a call back from my bro-inlaw my insurance agent and said we can get a seperate policy for flood insurance regardless if you are in a flood plain zone or not. I wish he would of told me after the 2nd time our basement flooded and finished it. On Monday it flooded the basement twice, after we had extracted the water from the first flood earlier in the morning. My fault too that i should of researched flood insurance policy years ago when my basement flooded the first time. Thanks all for your insights.

Incredible Hulk

September 23rd, 2009
12:51 pm

Question don’t forget the flood policy is only effective 30 days after purchase. Therefore, your two floods on Monday would’nt have been covered unless the policy was purchased on or around August 19, 2009. This is for all the readers, in the future when your insurance agent calls you to talk or sell you something always take a minute to listen or return their call. You never know when what they have can be a life saver, physically or/and financially. Good Luck to all in the clean up. Remember, last year the folks in Iowa went through want the folks in the Atlanta area are going through now. I know I was there!

Yoko Ono

September 23rd, 2009
1:13 pm

ChrisH just echoed my sentiments. And this turkey is running for Gov.? How did such a nimrod get elected Insurance Commissioner? Where can I apply?

brandon

September 23rd, 2009
1:18 pm

gd1205 – Getting insurance with a pre-existing health condition is not the same. Health insurance will not pay for claims that occurred before you were insured. What is considered a pre-exiting condition? Let’s say that someone is diabetic – should their insurance carrier be able to say; buy our policy, but if any health issue comes up that we can possibly determine is related to diabetes…we don’t have to pay.

I am totally in favor of taking away an insurers ability to deny a claim for almost any reason they can come up with. This is the problem: if insurers were not screwing the customers the issue of Health Care reform would probably not even be an issue. As far as I am concerned; the insurance, medical, pharmaceutical industry screwed itself.

I guess those of you that might be recovering bank losses from the FDIC don’t want the government in your business either. How many of you are going to give back the money?

csquared

September 23rd, 2009
1:32 pm

of course they’re not giving the money back. that’s the hypocrisy of it all. as for Ox talking about insurance tips, I’d rather get my info from the Feds or other sources. Of course If he’s elected Gov. we’ll ALL need flood insurance from the BS. runs downhill you know?

Steve

September 23rd, 2009
1:34 pm

Hey, numbskulls!
When glb1205 asked “For those wanting health insurance to cover pre-exisiting conditions…should homeowners also be able to flood insurance today to cover their losses from Monday?” , he was RIDICULING the idea of being able to buy health insurance AFTER you get sick!

Paul

September 23rd, 2009
1:53 pm

Question- flood insurance will only cover parts of a dwelling that are above Ground level. If you are not in a flood zone the insurance is expensive but not insane, yes I know it is only aout $400 a year but that is what all other perils on a home policy cost for the same amount of coverage. If you do live in a flood zone be prepared to shell out some cash. a $200,000 home will cost you about $1300 depending on what zone you are in.

Heavenly creature

September 23rd, 2009
1:59 pm

“…he was RIDICULING the idea of being able to buy health insurance AFTER you get sick!”

no Steve, HE WAS NOT. That post, and yours and a few others who support it, just shows what idiots we have to contend with in society. There is absolutely no correlation between pre-existing medical conditions and ANYTHING glb or YOU wrote. His analogy was way off base, as is your interpretation of it. Go back to school, brainiac. And leave the important decisions to people who understand. Brandon is the one who makes sense on this thread. Read his comment. Then shut up.

Augustus on the Gulf Coast

September 23rd, 2009
2:43 pm

I pay $100/month for flood insurance covering the house only, not the garage or contents. The premiums go up for everything you add to coverage. Since Hurricane Ike, I added contents coverage. Costs a few hundred more/year but could be worth it. In any case, flood insurance doesn’t make you whole. In addition to the deductible, depreciation of covered items is included. If it covers 75 percent of your loss, you’re doing well. I know of some flood victims whose houses were completely destroyed leaving only the foundation and all they got was a check to cover 50 percent of the value, leaving the owners with a mortgage to pay off.

Augustus on the Gulf Coast

September 23rd, 2009
2:44 pm

One more thing, FEMA won’t spend more than about $28K per house for those without flood insurance. And it make take a year or more to get the money. Don’t expect them to make you whole.

Richard

September 23rd, 2009
2:51 pm

I don’t think FEMA should pay ANYTHING for those without flood insurance. Why should the government help those who don’t help themselves?

Augustus on the Gulf Coast

September 23rd, 2009
3:03 pm

Well, you may think they don’t, but they do. If you were a victim of Ike, you’d know. A lot of people who lose their houses are poor and can’t afford flood insurance. They’ve lived in the house forever and there’s no mortgage. Google it if you don’t believe me.

Kelly

September 23rd, 2009
3:11 pm

is that webpage correct that was given to see the communities in GA that participate in flood coverage?

Jim

September 23rd, 2009
3:11 pm

I am a Insurance Agent Also… and when they say $300-400 a year for flood… All of the rates are based on amount of Coverage …. If you want higher coverage such as $100,000 to $250,000 rates can be as high as $850 to $2000 a year….

Nono

September 23rd, 2009
3:22 pm

glb1205–your analogy wasn’t accurate. The correct comparison would be someone buying health insurance and then asking the insurance company to cover the cost of an actual doctors visit or surgery or medical SERVICE that took place before their insurance coverage kicked in, not the health condition itself. Oh, and it must be nice to be so healthy that you don’t have to be up nights worrying that if you ever change jobs or get laid-off, your likelihood of NOT having health insurance again is astronomical because of pre-existing chronic health conditions that are totally beyond your control and in no way your fault for having. Way to go you narcissist. Your lack of compassion for your fellow human beings simply astounds me.

Dave in Marietta

September 23rd, 2009
3:27 pm

gb 1205 knows that providing health insurance for a human being is far different than insuring your house. He was being sarcastic because he obviously doesn’t have sympathy for people with preexisting health problems.

PC

September 23rd, 2009
3:31 pm

We live in a 100 year flood zone and are required by our mortgage company to have flood insurance. We pay $1,500. a year. It is all about the risk factor. Today it paid off.

Mike

September 23rd, 2009
3:34 pm

I’m a catastrophic adjuster also….

You can purchase flood coverage with your carrier(by endorsement/HO3 policy only) or thru the federal government. You can’t buy coverage today and have it enforced for the recent storms… but better to be safe than sorry.

SunkelSam

September 23rd, 2009
3:35 pm

It is definitely the GOPs fault for not regulating the insurance companies more than they did.

Pat

September 23rd, 2009
3:39 pm

I think Richard should use his nickname instead. It’s fitting.

Hmm…..let’s see, where do I start. Flood Insurance Maps are measured for the 100-year flood and 100-year encroachment. I have some maps here if you think I’m wrong. The 500-year data is not available on all maps, b/c all haven’t been updated yet. Besides the fact that this is recent, if you are nowhere near these floodplains, why would you think you would need this insurance?

This was an abnormal flood, Dick. Helping yourself has nothing to do with it. Next time you’re in an abnormal flood where things shouldn’t happen and you’re clinging onto a tree for life, I’ll make sure to tell the rescuers “He can do it himself!”

John

September 23rd, 2009
3:50 pm

We offer Flood insurance here at my office. http://www.johnlewisagency.com

After the fact

September 23rd, 2009
4:20 pm

Classic “I think Richard should use his nickname instead. It’s fitting.”

bkbroila

September 23rd, 2009
4:22 pm

OK…John OxenDICK…he feeds on these opportunities to get his NERDass out and POLITIC FOR GOVERNOR…WHEN MY GRANDMOTHER’S HOME WAS FLOODED IN SOUTH GA….GEMA CAME RIGHT IN AND OFFERED RELIEF…OXENDINE CALLS TO FIND OUT WHERE HE CAN LAND THE “STATE HELICOPTER” TWO WEEKS AFTER THE FLOOD WATERS RECEED SO “PEOPLE WILL SEE IT LAND AND KNOW HE WAS(CONCERNED)! HE WENT STRAIGHT TO CITY HALL AND THE FIRE CHIEF AND CHEIF OF POLICE AND TOWN OFFICIALS TO “ASK FOR SUPPORT FOR HIS GOVERNORAL CAMPAIGN”…HE DID NOTHING FOR THE PEOPLE. HE LET GEMA DO EVERYTHING AND THEN SHOWS UP, PRETENDING TO GIVE A CRAP. WHAT A DOUCHE BAG.

HEY JOHN, SINCE WE PAY FOR YOU A STATE CAR WITH LEATHER, POWER SEATS, AND $6,500 WORTH OF UPGRADES EVERY COUPLE YEARS, WHY DON’T YOU DRIVE THEM EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE, RATHER THAN WRECK THEM AFTER A NICE WINE BINGE…TWICE! YOU DON’T HAVE TO FLY A HELICOPTER FROM ATLANTA TO MACON WHEN YOU HAVE A SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT….GA TAXPAYERS ARE TIRED OF FOOTING YOUR UNNECCESARY TABS…AND BUY SOME LOOSER SHIRTS, YOU FATSO…
OH, I COULD GO ON ALL DAY, BUT I HAVE TO GET BACK TO WORK…I HAVE TAXES TO PAY SO THIS FAT MORON CAN SPEND IT…TALK ABOUT FAIR TAX, JOHN? MAKE SOME PROMISES YOU HAVE NO INTENTION DELIVERING ON…TOOL BAG

HJO

September 23rd, 2009
4:50 pm

What if you don’t have flood damage but rather water damage in the basement due to the heavy rain.I live up on a hill but still have water in the basement from the rain.

Thanks

HJO

September 23rd, 2009
4:52 pm

Enter your comments here

Sid560

September 23rd, 2009
4:58 pm

Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine should have helped Georgians be better covered and prepared. Oxendine can’t even run the insurance commision right, and now he wants to run the state as Governor? No way will I ever vote for Oxendine for anything!!

BoBo

September 23rd, 2009
5:12 pm

HJO, How did the water get into the basement? If its surface water..water that came down hit the ground then entered the home then its not covered.

Drunkdawg

September 23rd, 2009
5:16 pm

If you want or need flood insurance due to your area flooding, buy it and use it. If you dont need it or will not buy it then shut-up. If you wait until its too late and then say, I wish someone had told me I needed flood insurance then you are stupid so bend over and take it, Idiot. Also for everyones information so you can say you were warned, This Will Happen Again and Again sooner or later.

luckydog

September 23rd, 2009
6:14 pm

FEMA: the flood insurance for the irresponsible.

nana

September 23rd, 2009
6:55 pm

I was under the impression that if you had health insurance at least within the last 30 days that pre-existing conditions were covered? At least that’s what we believed when my husband changed jobs and health insurance coverage wouldn’t be available for 90 days, that’s why we paid for COBRA. Perhaps I’m not remembering it right it was several years ago. I think that if you go without automobile insurance coverage even for one day you have to go to a sub standard carrier until you’ve had it for 6 months. I know this is off topic but there were already a lot of comments off topic so I thought I’d put in my 2 cents. BTW Heavenly creature’s comments don’t seem to heavenly! LOL

Pat

September 23rd, 2009
8:02 pm

It’s pretty telling that names like “drunkdawg” and “luckdog” are the ones saying idiotic things about flood insurance. Let me reiterate………there are many people who live well away from the established and studied floodways. Why would you think you would need flood insurance if the experts are telling you there is no need for it? Especially if you can’t pay for it. Since FEMA actually does a good job of studying these floodways (b/c they pay private consultants to do it), you don’t have to worry about the validity.

Let’s think about things, or research it before opening your mouth next time. Thanks for playing…..oh yeah…45-42!!!

I couldn’t resist.

Richard

September 23rd, 2009
8:38 pm

Pat, only a small mind takes to name calling. I’ll bet you support socialized medicine and Obama.

I don’t think my tax dollars should be used to subsidize those who didn’t have insurance. It was their choice to roll the dice, and they happened to crap out. When you buy a house, you should take into account all the expenses. If you can’t afford to cover the house, find another one.

Pat

September 23rd, 2009
9:22 pm

Well, Dick, you know what assuming does. You don’t see me claiming that you and Rush are best friends. Even though your comment leads me to believe that you guys both blow hot air.

It’s funny how people are concerned about their tax dollars all of a sudden. I didn’t see conservatives all up in arms when Reagan and both Bushes which are all conservative Repubs were growing the government. Leave those comments for other posts and stay on task before you make some idiotic, socialistic comments like the rest of the followers looking for a cause to be noticed.

You rolled the dice when you chose white or wheat this morning. You rolled the dice when you stopped at the red light. But no one else will complain if you ran the red light and somone plugged you, causing the tax dollar paid ambulance to pick you up. But then again, where was the tax-dollar paid study citing the statistical analysis of running a red light and making it safetly? Oh yeah, there isn’t one. I don’t see you complaining about your tax dollars getting the flood insurance studies done correctly, so you must think that the designated major flood areas are accurate, correct?

Which is why the tax-dollar sponsored FEMA offers to help is times of disaster. It’s one time you can count on your tax dollars to actually help when you need it. Flood studies are not done to quantify a disaster that is as abnormal as this one that just occured. AS I STATED BEFORE. Areas that were not supposed to be flooded were flooded.

I’m sure we should all build an Ark in our backyards too, just in case??? What about the houses well outside of the floodplains and high in elevation that got flooded? Those no risk homes had no reason to get flood insurance, but sometimes things can’t be helped. Not all things can be accounted for, especially with nature. Before you know it, you’d need so many policies, you would pay as much as a mortgage. Simply not feasible.

Richard

September 23rd, 2009
9:48 pm

No, my insurance will pay for my ambulance ride, as well as my hospital stay, treatment, and funeral should it be necessary.

I just know that I can be safe in the knowledge that should we get flooded out, I don’t have to depend on a handout from the government. I’m sure they’ll bail people out and play Robin Hood as usual.