Getting covered by flood insurance in New Jersey is one of the best ways to protect from flood damage things that are really important to you and your family.
In this article you will learn about this insurance in detail. If you need further information or require legal assistance with your home, do not hesitate to contact our New Jersey real estate attorney. With over 10 years of experience helping families and businesses with real estate matters, we are well prepared to help you.
You can contact the Curbelo law firm by phone, email, or by booking your consultation at the Ridgewood or Newark offices.
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Everything You Need To Know About Flood Zones and Insurance In New Jersey In 2023
Flooding is the most common type of natural disaster in New Jersey and can be the result of severe storms, overflowing rivers, or melting snow. Just a few inches of water can cause extensive damage to any type of home in New Jersey.
The Garden State gets about 50 inches of rain each year and with 130 miles of coastline, flooding can pose a high risk to residents. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was one of the largest natural disasters in the state, causing nearly $70 billion in damage.
Flood Zones In New Jersey
In New Jersey there are two flood zones:
- AE flood zone: It is a high risk flood zone. Although the areas are at 1% risk, they have a 26% chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.
- Coastal A Zone NJ: May suffer flooding and wave damage, although these are usually less severe than in zone AE. The risk increases with the constant rise in sea level.
You can find out if your area is at risk of being flooded through the flood map of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Most AE areas are near rivers and lakes, so if your home is near these places, it’s important to purchase flood insurance in New Jersey.
If you live in Coastal Zone A, FEMA has a guide to Recommended Design and Construction Practices for this area.
What Is A Flood Map?
Flood maps show a community’s risk of flooding. In specific terms, flood maps show a community’s flood zone, floodplain boundaries, and base flood elevation. Property owners, lenders, and insurance agents can use these maps to determine policy requirements.
What Does My Flood Zone Mean?
All individuals live in an area with some risk of flooding, it is just a matter of evaluating whether they live in an area with low, moderate or high risk.
FEMA indicates that each area describes the risk of flooding and those areas are used to determine insurance costs and requirements. You can get more information in their official website.
What Are The Low, Moderate, And High Risk Flood Zones In New Jersey?
Areas with moderate to low risk are designated on the FEMA map under the letters: B, C and X. In these areas the risk is reduced, but not completely risk-free. Typically 1 in 3 claims come from these areas.
FEMA designated High Risk Flood Areas are listed under the letters “A” or “V”.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover In New Jersey?
There are two types of coverage available against floods:
- Contents insurance: Insures the owner’s personal belongings.
- Dwelling insurance: Insures the structure of the house.
Some examples of what New Jersey flood insurance covers are:
- Washing machines and drying machines.
- Foundation walls.
- Electrical and plumbing systems.
- Curtains and rugs.
- Built-in appliances.
- Personal items.
- Valuables up to $2,500 maximum.
- Carpentry not covered by the structural coverage.
This insurance has its exclusions, such as:
- Any damage that was not directly caused by the flood or could have been prevented. An example is mold.
- Damaged caused to the land you live on such as from erosion.
- Damage caused by earth movements as a result of water.
- Ruined basements and any personal property located in the basement.
- Damage to vehicles or anything else outside such as a pool or fence.
Does Home Insurance In New Jersey Cover Flooding?
Standard NJ homeowners insurance does not cover a flood event. Your home insurance policy may protect your home if you have a burst pipe or accidental water overflow, but it, by no means, covers this natural disaster.
FEMA manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), if your home is in a high risk area, you can use this program to cover the costs of damage caused by this disaster.
- This insurance is available if you live in an NFIP participating community.
- You must have this insurance if you have a mortgage on your home from a government-backed lender.
- Most non-government backed lenders require flood insurance.
It’s important to remember that while for many years the NFIP was the primary way to insure homes against flooding, there are now private companies that might interest you as well. Do not hesitate to contact our experts so we can study your case in detail.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost In New Jersey?
The price of flood insurance varies significantly by location, but on average after the 2022 rise it is around $974 per year. NFIP-backed insurance rates in New Jersey are based on a set formula, so the policy will cost the same no matter which insurance company you choose.
The formula is based on the flood zone where you live, your home’s susceptibility to flood years, and other factors.
If you live in a high-risk area for flooding, your home’s susceptibility to flooding is determined by the height of the lowest floor of your home (including the basement) compared to the height the water is expected to rise in a 100-year flood. This is called base flood elevation (BFE).
Keep in mind that the lower your floor, the more expensive your flood insurance rates will be.
Other factors that influence rates include:
- Coverage amount.
- Deductible amount.
- Age of the house.
- If the property is your primary residence.
- Residential or commercial property.
FEMA has proposed a new flood rating system for homeowners who purchase flood insurance. The bases of the new rates are:
- Reconstruction costs.
- Distance to the water.
- Home valuation.
- Flood frequency.
If implemented, around 79% of policyholders will see an increase in the surcharge.
Average Cost Per Rebuild
Individuals in New Jersey who do not have flood insurance and their home is severely affected by flooding (especially from a hurricane) will have to spend large amounts of money on home reconstruction. An example is the following table:
|Flooding from a hurricane|
|Single Family Homes at Risk||More than 95,000||More than 270,000||More than 380,000||More than 470,000||More than 470,000|
|Approximate Rebuild Cost|
Key: The categories in the table refer to the intensity scale of the hurricane.
Regardless of the category of a hurricane, the damage caused could amount to thousands of dollars. This is why mortgage lenders require borrowers to carry flood insurance for the life of the mortgage.
Flood Insurance Payment Options
You can pay your flood insurance rates as part of your mortgage, making payments easier and allowing you to spread the cost of flood coverage.
Typically, these policies are for a full year, but in some cases the mortgage lender may deposit your policy premium.
Flood Insurance Limits In New Jersey
Flood insurance has coverage limits, including:
- Home Flood Insurance Limits: NFIP will only cover a home up to $250,000. If rebuilding a home exceeds the limit amount, you should consider a private flood policy. NFIP does not offer coverage for additional living expenses, but a private insurer may.
- Contents Flood Insurance Limits: NFIP covers personal property up to a maximum of $100,000 and the sub-limit category of valuables up to $2,500. With additional private insurance, you can increase coverage for these properties. Policies have their individual limits on possessions within a specific category, known as sublimits. Some categories include jewelry, art, electronics, bicycles and others.
Flood Insurance Deductibles
A flood insurance deductible is the cost you pay when you file a claim with the insurer before paying your share. Flood insurance policies have 2 deductibles:
- For home insurance.
- For personal property or contents insurance.
Insurance companies can set the maximum amount for your deductible, which can be as high as $5,000, and you are not required to choose the same deductible for both types of insurance.
A higher deductible lowers your rate and you’ll have to cover the difference yourself, so make sure you have enough savings to cover this deductible.
Can Renters Get Flood Insurance?
Renters can get flood insurance even if they don’t own a home. This is because they own their personal property, so they are covered through contents coverage.
It is possible to increase the amount of insurance from your insurance company, but to do so you must take into account:
- Number of floors.
- Flood risk.
- Year of construction of the property.
If you are a tenant and are having a legal problem with your landlord, do not hesitate to contact our NJ Landlord tenant lawyer.
How Long Do I Have To Wait To Get Flood Insurance In New Jersey?
NFIP requires a 30-day waiting period before your coverage becomes effective. Since areas more prone to flooding may be at higher risk, some private insurers offer shorter waiting periods.
In lower risk areas, waiting 1 month may not be as much of a concern, however, you can reduce the waiting time by choosing private insurance. Depending on your private insurance provider, the waiting period can range from 10 to 30 days.
New Jersey Flood Insurance FAQs
Is Flood Insurance Required In New Jersey?
State law in New Jersey does not require you to carry flood insurance, but your lender probably will. If you don’t have flood insurance and your home ends up damaged or destroyed in a flood, you may end up paying a lot of money to rebuild your house.
What About Damages to my home caused by A Storm, Fallen tree Or Strong winds?
Damages caused by wind, falling trees and/or storms are covered by homeowners insurance (HO) sold by insurance companies in the state and regulated by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.
What Is A Claim Appeal?
NFIP provides you with an appeal process if you received a written denial letter on your claim or any part of your WYO program. This process will help resolve any claim issues and provide you with additional coverage.
What Options Do I Have After An Appeal To FEMA?
An insured can only appeal to FEMA after a denial and only for the items that were denied. If you are not satisfied, you should follow the NFIP Flood Insurance Claims Manual.
What Is The Deadline To Appeal A Claim?
If your property is damaged by a flood, you may need to meet certain building requirements in your community to reduce future flood damage before making repairs or rebuilding.
NFIP provides Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage of up to $30,000 and may be available to help cover your costs.
If I Filed An ICC Claim With My Insurance Company, Are They Required To Advance A Partial Payment?
There is no requirement that companies under the Write Your Own (WYO) program advance partial payments. However, the Federal Insurance Administrator has waived the ICC work completion requirement prior to payment, allowing partial advance payments of up to 50% of the ICC available limit.
What If My House Has Foundation Damage But The Insurance Adjuster Didn’t Include It On My Claim?
You can file a supplemental claim if your home has foundation damage. Also, if you have an engineer’s report, you must provide it to the insurance adjuster.
What Is A Supplemental Claim?
Your flood insurance adjuster will submit a final report to your insurance company which will serve as a claim on your behalf.
In the event the final report undervalues the cost to repair or replace the insured property, you may file a supplemental claim prior to the expiration of the extended filing period.
Can My Insurance Company Deny The Foundation For Land Subsidence If It Was Caused By A Flood?
According to the NFIP, loss to property caused by ground movement will not be insured, even if it was caused by flooding. The following are included:
- Sinks and sinkholes.
- Gradual erosion.
- Sinking of the land.
- Destabilization or movement of the ground due to the accumulation of water on the surface.
What Should I Do If I Have A Problem With An Insurance Claim?
For any type of problem with an insurance claim, contact the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance at (609) 292-7272 or check their website: www.nj.gov/dobi/index.html. You can also get in touch with us so we can take a look at your case and guide you with the best possible options available for you.
New Jersey Real Estate Lawyers To Help You With Flood Insurance
If you have a problem with your flood policy or file a flood damage insurance claim, it’s important to get it right.
Our experienced Latina attorney Carolina T. Curbelo will be able to help you with all these procedures in an effective way. With over 10 years of experience in real estate matters, Carolina will be able to find the best strategies to solve your situation, concern, doubts or questions regarding this insurance or any other real estate matter in New Jersey.
Contact our firm today and schedule a professional consultation.