On Friday I got a call from our insurance agent regarding our quote on flood insurance…you may recall that we had gotten a quote that was astronomically high. But the agent had mentioned something called “Grandfather Rules”, and said that, since flood maps change over time, if we could provide a FEMA map showing that our house had been built in a lesser flood zone classification, we might be able to get a lower rate. Considering that the quote she gave us for house and contents was over $7000 with a $5000 deductible, it seemed like a good idea to go dig up some old maps and take a look. The agent said that in her 15-year career, she had seen only 2 cases where the clients had provided maps and gotten lower rates, but that we seemed like the kind of people who would be able to get those maps if they existed.
So I put MacGyver (aka hubby) on the case. He came home the next day and casually tossed 2 sheets of paper on the table. “Here are those maps.” It looked like the house HAD been built in a different flood zone.
After hanging on to the maps for a few days (hey, we’re busy planning a Sweet 16 party here) I dropped them by the agent’s office Friday afternoon as K. and I were heading out to shop for party dresses.
I got a phone call later as we were getting ready to leave the second store…it was our agent and she had already gotten a response back from the flood insurance carrier. “How does $1301 a year and a $1000 deductible sound?” It must have sounded pretty good, because K. was shushing me, saying that I was yelling in the middle of the department store 🙂
I couldn’t believe it – we lowered our premium by over $6000/year and lowered our deductible by $4000 – all because of the little known Grandfather Rules…thanks, Grandpa!
It took a little digging, but the maps are public information. FEMA has a Map Service Center, and one item in their product catalog is Historic Flood Maps. Once you’re on that page, just enter your state, county and community and start diggin’ – if you’re lucky, you may strike gold like we did!
If you’re a glutton for punishment and want all the details of the Grandfather Rules, just Google “National Flood Insurance Program Grandfather Rules” and you’ll have a slew of documents to choose from. I have to admit, we didn’t read up on them at all; just having a very knowledgeable insurance agent helped us out.
Now all we have to do is drop off a check on Monday for the (new, lower!) premium and we’ll begin our 30-day wait period for flood insurance, keeping all our fingers and toes crossed that no big storms come through before then!