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Flood Insurance FAQs for Southern New Jersey – Part 2 of 2

by: Jeff Quintin, on February 18, 2013 - Uncategorized

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Questions From Homeowner Brad

Brad – How fine-tuned are the maps right now?  If you look on the map, my house is in an A zone, but my next door neighbor is actually in a V zone…it’s that close.  What’s the defining line there?  Can I switch over to a V?  Or am I going to stay an A? What do you think?

Bill – What we’re told is the first those maps come out are very conservative.  I think they want to give the worst news first.  Again, it’s a rare situation usually to come out with completed maps.  Because Superstorm Sandy hit they wanted to get as much information out as possible.  Those maps are not complete.  There’s a Wave Action Study that needs to be added into that map.  The maps that you see in these Advisory Flood Maps right now…it’s really if you take a raw island without any structures at all…when the Lake Brothers came into Ocean City and found and started putting up the tents up by the Tabernacle…that’s what they used on these maps right now.  Once those intervening structures come, I understand it as those V zones will shrink back closer to the bay and ocean.

Brad – My neighbor’s house is an identical structure basically to mine.  If she would have the raise, it just throws off everything for the whole neighborhood and what to do with my house.

Bill – The city of Ocean City is also working on hiring a coastal engineer to help you, the taxpayers, and the owners in Ocean City, to make our case that the V zones should be shrunken in size, and they shouldn’t go as far as they do right now on the islands on these current maps.

What If I Don’t Raise My House?

Brad – What happens if you do have to raise your house?  If you have to raise it, and you can’t – for whatever…structural reasons or what not, then where are you then?

Bill – We’re having difficult conversations.  Right now, if you can’t raise the house, we’ve heard some of that.  The Federal Government is saying if you get 50% of damage and the State of New Jersey is saying that house needs to be replaced, needs to be rebuilt structurally sound to withstand the flood.  There are funds that the Christie Administration is working on getting funds to help people that have completely lost their house.  Later this year they’ll be releasing some grants with some of the money they got from the disaster assistance. The State is looking to help.  Again, there is up to $30,000 on your flood policy.  If you have questions on the Increased Cost Compliance Coverage, give our office a call or you can e-mail me.  We can answer all those questions.  Each home is individual.  You each have your unique questions, and we can help each one of you.

New Construction

Jeff – Let’s talk about new construction today.  We have a lot of construction going on right now on the island…a lot of two unit buildings.  Those are called duplexes that are being built.  A developer builds a new building.  He builds the new structure under the new elevations.  Will Flood Insurance be available for two unit condos?  Will there be a market for that?  You said they’re not funding it…they don’t have enough money.  They want the money.  I just wanted to make sure, number one, there’s that option.

Bill – Yes.  There’s going to be Flood Insurance available for everyone.  It’s just the matter of the price.  We don’t know exactly where the price is going to fall right now.

Jeff – Let’s say you’ve conformed.  You’ve elevated up.  You’re above that mark where you need to be.  Do you think, at that point, Flood Insurance premiums would be the same that they were before, or are they going to be less?

The Higher You Go…The Cheaper The Price

Bill – The word on the street that FEMA is getting out there is the higher you go, the cheaper the price.  So, if you were to build right now, starting today, you’ve got to use the Advisory Flood Maps to elevate.  Then you’re going to be in your best price scenario.  You will get the best price.  The city of Ocean City, a week before the Christie Administration did this, said we’re going to elevate plus 2’.  This means the Federal Government comes out with Base Flood Elevation and we add 2’.  This island currently stands at 10’, so any construction in Ocean City has to be at 12’.

Jeff – That’s first floor Base Flood Elevation that has to be 12’?

Bill – Yes.  Those floor joists down on the first floor for the equipment.  You can have your duct work underneath the floor joists.

Jeff – Any other thoughts or anything you want to add?

Bill – One of the things I’d like to add…most of the construction up and down the coast was older houses that unfortunately got destroyed in the storm.  In talking to agents on Long Beach Island, and you look around Ocean City, most of our new construction withstood the damage.  It did not take the brunt of the damage of the storm.  It pays to build a strong house.

Where Can You Go For Help?

We’re here to help you.  You can e-mail back and forth – we’re always answering.  There’s myself and four other siblings right now in the business.  We have a staff of over thirty, above and beyond the McMahons in the office.  We’re all more than willing to help you with any of your questions.

You may call 609-399-0060 or e-mail me at

Jeff – Where does your agency service?  Tell everybody which areas you cover.

Bill – We specialize in the coast.  We can do anything on the coast.  We know the coast.  We have all the markets.  Now more than ever it’s very important.  Where we’re successful after the storm is that we have all the contacts with the insurance companies.  The flood insurance company was in our office for three weeks.  We had a guy in our office able to help us take in the claims…putting them in because we have buying power.  Buying power is everything.  Because we’re in Ocean City, we do a ton of Flood Insurance.  We do it all the way down to Cape May County, we go all the way up into Monmouth County writing Flood Insurance.  We had a huge book, and it really helps.  We were able to get adjustors as quick as possible.

Jeff – Any questions?  Give Bill a call or send an e-mail.  Any questions for me or any comments, make them here at 609-398-5333 or  We’ll respond back to you as soon as possible.  And, as always, I appreciate your watching, and always look forward to our conversation being the best of your day.  Have a great one!

Helpful Links

* Find the elevation of your home. Most property owners in Ocean City should have a flood elevation certificate if they have flood insurance. Check to make sure it’s not expired.

* Find the elevation required for your home under the new FEMA flood map.  Search for your Advisory Base Flood Elevation by address.

* See how your advisory elevation compares to Hurricane Sandy flood levels. Read the left column (NAVD 1988 datum) on the attached PDF (click on the PDF icon above). Make sure the flood elevation on your certificate uses the same NAVD 1988 scale as the ABFE maps (or see how the scales compare). The center column (NGVD 1929 datum) is the scale that appears on most flood elevation certificates in Ocean City. (Check the current tide level on the NAVD 1988 scale in real time.

* What if your home remains below the required elevation? One thing appears certain: Your flood insurance premium will increase (because federal taxpayers will no longer subsidize the flood insurance program).