TIMELINE OF INSURANCE RATE ADJUSTMENT: June 2013: we officially started the construction phase of our house project. (The planning phase began July 2012)
December 2013: We moved back into our house with the majority of our project complete.
February 2014: All paperwork and certificates related to our building project were closed out. Project officially declared complete. (Still lacking minor details such as exterior painting and any landscaping, but too cold to address those issues now).
March 2014: Submitted request to FEMA (umbrella under which the National Flood Insurance Agency operates) to lower our insurance premiums based on our new and improved flood savvy house. They rejected this request citing we required one additional flood vent.
Had additional flood vent installed.
FEMA again rejected our request to lower our rates. This time it was because the wrong box had been checked on our elevation certificate (final survey) sighting the source of our base flood elevation level.
In other words, they needed to confirm that we didn’t just make up some numbers to make it sound good.
Skip this section if your eyes start to roll back in your head or you suddenly feel like you need to nap. The source of the base flood elevation (BFE) MUST come from FIS or FIRM (Flood Insurance Rate Map) for your specific property.
Returned to my surveyor, spoke with the Flood Plan Manager for my city and resubmitted the forms to FEMA. They requested yet another form, a flood application form, be completed. I thought this was odd as we’ve had flood insurance for over 10 years. FEMA insisted it was the protocol. Fine.
April 2014: The next hurdle: FEMA/NFIP wanted the square footage of our garage, despite the fact that is attached to our house, they have pictures of it, and they have a survey marking it. I should clarify that these conversations were between NFIP and my insurance agent. After spending weeks sending my insurance agent down a rabbit hole, I recommend she educate herself on this product (flood insurance), take the bull by the horns, and tell them what’s what. They have all the information, we’ve crossed every i and dotted every t, you have more important things to do than run around chasing your tail all day.
Mission Accomplished: Our insurance agent called and told me our paperwork had finally been accepted and that our flood insurance rates were going to drop from several thousand dollars per year to several hundred.
The clouds parted, beams of sunshine shone down and a collective sigh could be heard across the phone lines. Then my agent told me she had to go – she was getting ready to watch a webinar on flood insurance.