Protect Your Home From Water Damage

Water damage can be a nightmare!

The reality is water damage claims are the most common type of homeowner’s loss. The inconvenience of cleanup, repair and potential out of pocket costs are just not worth the aggravation.

Up to 22 gallons of water are lost daily due to leaks from dripping faucets or malfunctioning toilets. Water damage is one of the most common losses to your property. How can you prevent a water damage loss?

Water Damage Prevention

There are no single ways to prevent a water damage loss, but there are ways to minimize your loss from occurring. As a homeowner, there are many things that you are a responsible for in the maintenance of your home. There are 9 places where water damage can occur: plumbing, roof, sump pump, water heaters, shower, toilet, sink, washing machine, and the ice maker.

Age of Your Home

Homes that are thirty years old or older are three times more likely to have a plumbing or drainage problem. It is highly important that the plumbing of your home is inspected annually. If you pay close attention to your monthly water bill, you will be able to quickly spot a plumbing issue.

Are You Covered?

Being a homeowner takes great responsibility, but there are some simple precautions that can be done to prevent a water damage loss, and keep you from paying thousands in damage to your property. Make sure to check with your insurance agent to review your coverage, as many carriers can limit or exclude water damage coverage for older homes. Most carriers only offer $10,000 as a buy back option, which can be minimal if serious damage occurs, and it may not be suitable to repair all of the damage.

Being proactive in maintaining your home and preserving your claims/loss history for catastrophic loss is in your best overall interest from an insurance perspective. Your history for all locations owned follows you for 3-5 years depending on the insurance company.

We offer a free review of your home insurance policy.  If you have concerns about water damage and what you are covered for please call us at 727-522-7777.  Wallace Welch & Willingham represents many insurance companies that have policies that can be customized to fit your particular need.


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Don’t pay your flood insurance renewal payments late!

Flood Payment DueNow it is more important than ever that your NFIP flood policy renewal payment is received on time*.  If your payment is late, your premium could be adversely affected.

For all renewals effective April 1, 2016, the following rules have been added by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP):

  • For properties in special flood hazard areas (flood zones beginning with an A or V) that are currently rated with subsidized rates (no elevation certificate is used for rating), OR being rated under the Newly Mapped Program may lose their subsidized rates or Newly Mapped rates when the renewal payments are received as follows:
  • If the premium payment is received after the 30-day grace period, but within 90 days following the expiration date on or after April 1, 2016:
      • 1st time, the policy will be reinstated and the effective date will be 30 days from the date the insurer receives the payment (no change to rating).
      • 2nd time, the policy will no longer be eligible for subsidized rates or the Newly Mapped rates.  The effective date will be 30 days from the date the insurer receives the payment and a new application and/or an elevation certificate may be required to rate the policy.
  • If the premium payment is received more than 90 days after the policy expiration date, the policy will no longer be rated eligible for subsidized rates or with the Newly Mapped rates and a new application and elevation certificate will be required and the standard waiting period for new business will apply.

The above rules apply to flood premiums whether paid by you or your lender. Therefore, it is important that your renewal payments are made timely. If your lender pays your renewal premium, verify that your loan number and lender are correct and your payment has been processed.

Keep on top of flood insurance renewal payments—we want to help you stay safe and pay less.


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Hurricane Season: What kind of insurance does your business need?

Hurricane Season: What kind of insurance does your business need?Hurricane season started once again on June 1st. So what does this mean for your business? There are several coverages that could make or break you should the right storm hit at the right time.

Property Coverage

Hurricane insurance coverage is provided in your property insurance. Depending on your location, your proximity to the coastline, and your carrier, you will have several different types of coverage under your policy.

All Peril – This is the most comprehensive coverage – covering everything except for what is specifically excluded in the policy.

Named Peril – Will cover ONLY what is specifically noted in the policy. It’s usually less expensive but offers little coverage.

Wind and Hail – this is the most restrictive of the three coverages and only covers damage caused by wind or hail.

All Peril, Named Peril, and Wind & Hail will all have a percentage deductible attached. It can vary from a dollar amount to a percentage amount. A deductible is the amount of loss paid by the policyholder before the insurance will begin.

Flood Insurance

Water damage is not the same as wind or storm damage. Most commercial property policies exclude coverage for losses caused by rising water. Much of the damage caused by hurricanes in coastal areas involves rising water which is not covered under most insurance policies. In cases where homes or businesses sustain concurrent wind and rising water damage, some insurers attempt to separate the covered wind damage from the uncovered rising water damage and pay what they owe. Other carriers deny the claims entirely citing the flood exclusion. It’s very important to make sure you are covered for both wind and rising water.

Business Interruption Coverage

Even if you have proper coverage under your property and flood policies, your business could be in danger. Could your business survive being closed and non-operational for 30 days or more during repair time? Most small business will find this lack of income detrimental for their business, and it causes many to close their doors. Business Interruption insurance will kick in after the 72-hour deductible period.

Make sure you are covered this hurricane season and contact your insurance advisor to go over your policies.


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Flood Reform & Your Business

Flood Reform & Your BusinessIn 2012, the U.S. Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. This requires a number of changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). These law changes are mainly the result of rising costs and consequences of flooding over the past few years.

Some of these changes have already been put in place and others will be implemented in the coming months.  Key provisions of the legislation will require the NFIP to raise rates to reflect true flood risk, make the program more financially stable, and change how Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) updates impact policyholders. The changes will mean premium rate increases for policyholders over time and they must be adhered to by all insurance companies who write flood insurance.

Effective October 1, 2013, the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) will no longer allow renewals for Pre-FIRM (built prior to 1975) business property in a Special Flood Hazard Area (this includes all A & V Zone properties) to continue receiving subsidized premium rates.  Business property flood renewals will experience a premium rate increase of 25% annually until their premium reflects true risk or until the owners submit a new elevation certificate.

New Business Property purchases that are Pre-FIRM and in Special Flood Hazard Areas will no longer be able to assume the seller’s flood policy and will be required to obtain an elevation certificate and pay the full actuarial rates.  Please note: allowing a flood policy to lapse, even if it’s the fault of your Mortgagee, can trigger rate changes and require you to obtain an Elevation Certificate to secure flood coverage.

Business Property is defined as any non-residential building that produces income, or a building designed for use as office or retail space, or for wholesale, hospitality, or similar uses.

General rate increases for all flood policy holders prior to the Biggert – Waters Act was a maximum of 10% per year.  With the passage of this Act, the maximum annual increase will be 20%. Additionally, Federal Rate Fee is increasing from $40 to $44.

If you don’t have an elevation certificate for your building, you will need to hire a surveyor to come to your property to complete the certificate. Also, effective October 1, 2013, a 5% Reserve Fund will be added to all flood policies except Preferred Risk Policies. Contact your WWW representative for a lists of surveyors in the area.

Sometime in 2014

This section of the bill requires an adjustment to the rating for all policies when their community adopts a new Flood Insurance Rate Map.  This will be phased in over the five years following the effective date of the map change or revision.

It is important to note that actions such as buying a property, allowing a policy to lapse (even if it’s the fault of your Mortgagee), or purchasing a new policy can trigger rate changes and will require you to obtain an Elevation Certificate to secure flood coverage.  We can advise how these changes might affect your flood coverage and what options you might have to lower your premium.


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