One of the requirements to obtaining and maintaining a mortgage or loan on your home is that it be adequately insured against unexpected disasters. It’s important to know that damage from floods or landslides are not typically included in normal homeowner insurance policies.
Evaluation of whether a home resides within a flood plain is part of the consideration in obtaining affordable homeowner’s insurance. This can affect the ability of a buyer to fulfill the terms of their purchase contract, as expensive insurance may negatively impact that buyer’s ability to qualify for the purchase of the home.
Similarly, the requirement that flood insurance be obtained can negatively impact the Seller’s ability to sell a home. A home that’s not insurable, or one that has what appear to be excessively high premiums, can be difficult to sell to anyone that must finance their purchase, limiting prospective buyers to cash only or seller-carried contracts.
In most purchase contracts in which I participate, I recommend that the buyer include a provision that their annual homeowner insurance premium be no more than 1/2 of 1% of the purchase price. Generally that’s doable, unless the home happens to reside in an area designated as residing in a flood plain — then prices skyrocket as the prospective homeowner must also negotiate flood insurance.
As geology, improvements to land, and technology change, flood maps are updated by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). Your home, which previously was not within a flood prone area, may be now … or, conversely, perhaps it is no longer, affecting your insurance rates.
In incorporated and unincorporated King County, those flood maps have recently been re-drawn and can now be viewed during one of the three public meetings listed below. Additionally, you can review the new King County flood maps online, obtain more information about these public meetings, and review the flood insurance studies by visiting the King County Preliminary Flood Insurance page.
Additional information about flood insurance in Washington State can be found at the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
Finally, be sure to periodically review the terms of your homeowner insurance policy. It’s critically important that you know exactly what is … and what is not … covered on your policy. Damage from flood waters, earthquakes, or extra coverage for all that nifty personal computing equipment you own, may require extra attention in the form of insurance riders.
For help with your homeowner insurance needs, please let me know and I’ll be delighted to refer you to an outstanding insurance professional.