CITY OF BELLEAIR BEACH, FLORIDA

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1 CITY OF BELLEAIR BEACH, FLORIDA FLOOD INSURANCE INFORMATION Important Information for City of Belleair Beach Residents and Property Owners Regarding Flood, Risk, Insurance, Preparation, Evacuation, Safety and Assistance One of the reasons Belleair Beach is recognized for its good floodplain management policies is that the City provides public information regarding flood hazards, flood insurance, and flood protection and mitigation measures. If you have questions concerning this information, please contact the City Manager at Are You Insured? For many people, their home and its contents represent their greatest investment. Property losses due to flooding are not covered under most standard homeowner insurance policies. You can protect your home and its contents with flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP is a federal program established by Congress in 1968 that enables property owners to buy flood insurance at reasonable rates in participating communities. In return, participating communities carry out flood management measures designed to protect life and property from future flooding. The NFIP is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through its Federal Insurance Administration. The City of Belleair Beach is a long time participant in the Program. Flood insurance is required in the City of Belleair Beach for any federally backed mortgage on a property located within a flood zone. The amount of flood insurance that is available through the NFIP as of March 1, 2005 is as follows: Building Type Available $ Single family $250,000 All other residential 250,000 Non-residential 500,000 Contents Residential 100,000 Non-residential 500,000 To find out more about flood insurance for your property and its contents, contact your insurance agent. In addition, visit the FEMA Flood Insurance Program website at 1

2 There is usually a waiting period before a flood insurance policy takes effect, so don't wait until a storm threatens before you secure the flood insurance you need. Flood Insurance Rate Maps In addition to information on the National Flood Insurance Program, the latest Flood Insurance Rate Maps are available for review at the Belleair Beach City Hall. All of Belleair Beach is in a Special Flood Hazard Area, and it is important to know the base flood elevation of any property and the flood insurance purchase requirements. Call (727) , write, or stop by Belleair Beach City Hall if you have questions regarding Flood Insurance Rate Maps or need additional information on flood protection assistance. Flood Reference Library Member libraries in the Pinellas County Library Cooperative provide flood protection reference material to the general public. Reference materials include Flood Insurance Rate Maps, state and federal publications covering a variety of subjects, and a list of agencies and individuals to contact for more information. Residents are urged to take advantage of this flood information source. Flood Safety Measures To obtain information, in addition to what is listed below, please CLICK Pinellas County Emergency Management. City of Belleair Beach residents can protect themselves from the flood hazard in our City by taking measures to insure the safety of life and property before, during and after a flood occurs. Safety precautions that can minimize the potential losses in such events include: Before the storm. Know Pinellas County's flood warning procedures. Many of these procedures are outlined in this information with more information available from Pinellas County Department of Emergency Services. Plan your evacuation in advance. Know when, where and how you are going to evacuate prior to a storm. Pinellas County has posted all primary evacuation routes with blue and white signs. Evacuation time for Belleair Beach could take hours. Evacuation from the barrier island may be longer. Your evacuation plan should provide for your pets, your personal hurricane supplies (food, medicine, etc.) and insurance considerations. If you evacuate, take proper identification and important personal papers and documents along with you. If you live in an area that is particularly vulnerable to flooding, you may want to keep plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber and other materials in stock to help prepare your property for the storm and to aid in emergency repairs afterwards. Preparation for evacuation. Keep a battery-powered radio tuned in to a local station, and if an evacuation order is given, comply with it. Even if the evacuation order turns out to be unnecessary, leaving the area is better than risking the potential loss of life by staying. 2

3 When preparing your home prior to evacuation, it is advisable to turn off all the electricity, with the possible exception of the power to your refrigerator. Also, fill your tubs, sinks and any available containers with water, in case fresh water is not available after the storm. Shut off your water main to prevent any contaminated water from backing up into your house. If possible, board up your windows to protect them from flying debris. Move as many valuables as possible to upper floors or higher elevations. Elevate furniture if possible. Permanent property protection measures such as structural elevation and flood proofing are non-emergency improvements designed to minimize potential flood damage. Since every structure is unique in its permanent property protection needs, individuals should call professionals in the field of engineering and architecture for assistance. After the storm. The City will be working as quickly as possible after the storm to insure a speedy and safe return to your homes. Often times more people are injured after a storm due to unsafe buildings, downed power lines, contaminated water and other unsafe conditions than are injured in the storm itself. Carefully check for structural damage prior to entering a building. Use caution when reentering the structure. Turn on electricity one breaker at a time and watch for smoke or sparks. Permit Requirements With Belleair Beach's participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the City administers flood management regulations and measures designed to minimize the potential of flood losses in the City. Any development in Belleair Beach requires a permit from the Pinellas County Building Department. Through this process, the City ensures development is taking place according to flood regulations. Regulations include required elevations of living floor areas, flood proofing of certain construction, limitations on placement of fill and prohibitions of certain substantial improvements, additions or reconstruction. In accordance with NFIP standards, the City of Belleair Beach requires that if the cost of any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvements to a building equals or exceeds 50% of the building's market value, such work be considered a substantial improvement. The existing building is then required to meet the same standards as a new building. For residential structures, these requirements typically mean raising the living area of the building to the base flood elevation. The City's substantial improvement requirements are enforced through the development and building permitting process. Applicants for remodeling or repair of "nonconforming" structures (i.e. buildings which are not elevated to or above the base flood elevation) are required to submit a cost estimate of the improvement and, if necessary, an appraised value of the existing structure, to determine if the work constitutes a substantial improvement. With these requirements, the City ensures that over time, more of the old non-conforming structures in the City will be elevated to the base flood elevation and protected from potential flood damage. 3

4 The City's permitting review process may seem cumbersome at times, but is necessary to allow the City to participate in the NFIP, making flood insurance available to any City residents who wish to protect their property from flood damage. Development that occurs without City permits threatens the City's continued participation in the NFIP and the ability for residents to obtain flood insurance. If you see development occurring without permits, protect your rights and contact the City immediately. Questions and Answers about Flood Insurance 1. What Special Flood Hazard Areas Inundated by a 100-year Flood are identified in Belleair Beach? Zones AE is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to the 100-year floodplains that are determined by a detailed study. In most instances, Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) derived from the detailed hydraulic analyses are shown at selected intervals within this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply. In Belleair Beach, the AE Zones range in elevation from 10 feet to 12 feet. Zones VE is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to the 100-year coastal floodplains that have additional hazards associated with storm waves. BFEs derived from the detailed hydraulic analyses are shown at selected intervals within this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply. In Belleair Beach, the VE Zones range in elevation from 12 feet to 16 feet. 2. What is the "100-year flood"? The term "100-year flood" can be misleading. It is not the flood that will occur once every 100 years. Rather, it is the flood elevation that has a 1- percent chance of being equaled or exceeded each year. Thus, the 100-year flood could occur more than once in a relatively short period of time. The 100-year flood, which is the standard used by most Federal and state agencies, is used by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as the standard for floodplain management and to determine the need for flood insurance. A structure located within a special flood hazard area shown on an NFIP map has a 26 percent chance of suffering flood damage during the term of a 30-year mortgage. 3. I have lived here forever and have never been flooded. Why do I need flood insurance? The flood hazards shown on NFIP maps are based on the best information available at the time the maps were prepared. In many areas, hydraulic and hydrologic studies were conducted to reflect the long-term projection of flood risk. Because of the infrequent occurrence of flood events and the relatively short history of the NFIP, Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) are not based only on the past flooding occurrences. The fact that a flood hasn't occurred within memory doesn't mean one won't happen soon. 4

5 The 100-year flood is a relatively rare event (1-percent chance in any given year), but structures located in the floodplain have a significant chance (26%) of suffering flood damage during the term of a 30-year mortgage. For these reasons, flood insurance is required as a condition of receiving Federal or federally backed financial assistance. 4. What elevation is used when rating a structure for a flood insurance policy? The difference between the lowest floor elevation of your structure and the 1% annual chance flood elevation is used to determine the insurance rating. Note: Only buildings are insurable, other structures are not. 5. How do I get a copy of the National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP) map for my area? Call the FEMA Map Service Center at Or visit the web site at 6. Who can prepare an Elevation Certificate? Elevation Certificates must be prepared and certified by a land surveyor, engineer, or architect who is authorized by state law to certify elevation information. 7. My house is in the floodplain. What do I need to know? Buildings in special flood hazard areas shown on FIRMs may be damaged when flooding occurs. Some buildings flood frequently, while others get damaged by only the more severe events. You should know that usually you can get flood insurance, by contacting your regular homeowners insurance agent. FEMA and others recommend that everyone in special flood hazard areas buy flood insurance. If you buy a home or refinance your home your mortgage lender or banker may require flood insurance. But, even if not required, it is a good investment especially in areas that flood frequently or where flood forces are likely to cause major damage. Another thing you should know is that your community requires permits for remodeling, improving, expanding, or rebuilding your building. In order to reduce long-term flood damage, the NFIP requires that buildings that are substantially improved or substantially damaged become compliant. This means if the cost of the improvements or repairs is more than 50% of the market value of the building, you will have to make it compliant with the rules for floodplain construction. Usually this means lifting if off the foundation and elevating it above the predicted flood level. If you carry a flood insurance policy and have major flood damage, you may be eligible for up to $30,000 more to help pay for the cost of this work. 5

6 8. Can I buy flood insurance immediately before or during a flood? You can purchase flood coverage at any time. There is a 30-day waiting period after you've applied and paid the premium before the policy is effective, with the following exceptions: 1) If the initial purchase of flood insurance is in connection with the making, increasing, extending or renewing of a loan, there is no waiting period. The coverage becomes effective at the time of the loan, provided application and payment of premium is made at or prior to loan closing. 2) If the initial purchase of flood insurance is made during the 13-month period following the effective date of a revised flood map for a community, there is a one-day waiting period. This only applies where the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) is revised to show the building to be in an SFHA when it had not been in an SFHA. The policy does not cover a "loss in progress," defined by the NFIP as a loss occurring as of 12:01 a.m. on the first day of the policy term. In addition, you cannot increase the amount of insurance coverage you have during a loss in progress. 9. Does my homeowner s insurance policy cover flooding? Unfortunately, many homeowners do not find out until it is too late that their homeowner s policies do not cover flooding. National Flood Insurance protects your most valuable assets-your home and belongings. 10. Is Flood insurance only available for homeowners? Flood insurance is available to protect homes, condominiums, apartments and nonresidential buildings, including commercial structures. A maximum of $250,000 of building coverage is available for single-family residential buildings; $250,000 per unit for residential condominiums. The limit for contents coverage on all residential buildings is $100,000, which is also available to renters. Commercial structures can be insured to a limit of $500,000 for the building and $500,000 for the contents. 11. Can I buy flood insurance if my property has been flooded before? You are still eligible to purchase flood insurance after your home, apartment or business has been flooded. 12. Will Federal disaster assistance pay for flood damage? Before a community is eligible for disaster assistance, it must be declared a federal disaster area. Federal disaster assistance declarations are issued in less than 50 percent of flooding incidents. The premium for an NFIP policy, averaging about $400 a year, is less expensive than interest on federal disaster loans. 6

7 Furthermore, if you are uninsured and receive federal disaster assistance after a flood, you must purchase flood insurance to remain eligible for future disaster relief. 13. Is wind-driven rain is considered flooding? No, it isn't. Rain entering through wind-damaged windows, doors or a hole in a wall or the roof, resulting in standing water or puddles, is considered windstorm-rather than flood-damage. National Flood Insurance only covers damage caused by the general condition of flooding (defined above), typically caused by storm surge, wave wash, tidal waves, or the overflow of any body of water over normally dry land areas. Buildings that sustain this type of damage usually have a watermark, showing how high the water rose before it subsided. Although the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) specifically excludes wind and hail damage, most homeowner s policies provide such coverage. 14. What about Condominiums and Flood Insurance? Boards of Directors of condominium associations typically are responsible under their by-laws for maintaining all forms of property insurance necessary to protect the common property of the association against all hazards to which that property is exposed for either the insurance value or replacement cost of those common elements. Boards would be well advised to include their attorneys, as well as their agents, in coverage considerations, because insurance requirements are driven by by-laws and affected by state regulations. This responsibility would typically include providing adequate flood insurance protection for all common property located in Special flood Hazard Areas. Such association document requirements could make the individual members of the boards of directors of associations personally liable for insurance errors or omissions, including those relating to flood insurance. It would be prudent to determine whether the Directors and Officers (E&O) policies provide for such coverage. 15. What about Unit owners in a Condominium? Condominium is that form of ownership of real property in which each unit owner has an undivided interest in common elements. Condominium unit types include detached single-family dwellings, townhouses, or units within a high-rise or low-rise apartment type building, which are considered to be single-family residences by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Unit owners, who may be individuals or associations, have unique coverage needs that merit particular care. Owners should obtain information about the by-laws and building coverages already provided by the association, because such coverage would be primary, while the unit owner s coverage of building elements is excess. The assistance of their agent is needed to coordinate the appropriate coverage combinations. For more information about the NFIP, ask your insurance agent or company, or call the NFIP's toll-free number at CALL-FLOOD or TDD#

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