Hi. My name is John Alagna. I’m from Carolina Heritage Insurance. I wanted to talk a little bit today about realtors and their listings in regards to homeowner insurance and, more particularly, flood insurance, FEMA flood insurance. A lot of times I see listings where it has all the information in there, the bedrooms, the baths, and all this good stuff, but sometimes it’s lacking information on the FEMA flood, and FEMA flood is such a huge aspect to buying a home. A lot of people are afraid that if they buy a house it could be a $5,000-$10,000 premium. There’s a lot of horror stories out there with FEMA flood.
I want to just talk to realtors a little bit about this and give some guidelines and some tips that they may want to utilize to make it easier and have the buyers rest a little bit more assured that they’re not going to have a high homeowner premium or flood premium.
Obviously, the first thing to do is to get an elevation certificate. Where do you get elevation certificates? Several different sources. Obviously try from the seller of the property. If the seller doesn’t have an elevation certificate, you may inquire with the city, the town permitting processes. You may even check if it was in MLS previously it might be in MLS documents previously from the prior realtor. Check with the seller, check with the town, check prior listings, do whatever you can to see if you’re able to get an elevation certificate. If you can’t, check with an insurance agent. A lot of times we have additional sources where we might be able to help you get an elevation certificate to quote the FEMA flood. So that’s the first thing.
The second thing is I always tell people engage an insurance agent, hopefully someone that is proficient in FEMA flood. We can help look at a home. We can look at the photos, we can look at the venting, obviously if you have an elevation certificate we can look at that as well, and we can kind of give you a scenario where it’s not necessarily black and white. Sometimes you can look at an elevation certificate and it’s just black. It just states the facts on there, whereas we can come in and look at the home and we can say if you were just to spend maybe $400, $500, $600, possibly put in an additional vent, that the premium could be five, $600. So elevation certificates we have a tendency to look at what it could be and then we’ll tell you. We’ll quote it as is. It could be 1,000, $2,000 and then we’ll let you know if you spend four, five, $600, put some vents in, this premium can come down to whatever it is, five, six, $700.
The other thing is as a realtor, you want to try and answer all the questions before they’re even asked. Have the answers there. Why not have an elevation certificate in the listing? Why not have a FEMA flood quote in the listing? Why not have the existing seller’s flood declaration in the listing to help reassure the buyers that this is what they’re paying. In some cases it can be grandfathered, in some cases the existing flood policy can be assumed by the purchaser. Basically, what I’m trying to say is engage a licensed insurance agent to help you get all those documents in there so you can have the questions answered so you don’t have to answer multiple emails of the same question. What’s the flood going to cost? Do you have an elevation certificate?
So, just wanted to kind of give that tip. We appreciate you listening in and have a good day. Thank you.