Flood Insurance in Foster City, still a HOT topic……

I’ve been asked to comment on a couple of scenarios that have recently been brought to Jim for discussion. The first is about those fortunate souls who find themselves in the enviable position of not having a home loan.  The question posed was whether or not they will have to purchase flood insurance when the Foster City change goes into effect.  The short answer, no.  Just as you are not required to carry a homeowner’s insurance policy, you will not be required to carry a flood insurance policy.  It is worth noting however, if your home is your largest asset and you may need to access your equity via an equity loan/line or a reverse mortgage, you would be required to carry insurance at that time.  If this were to be after the 2010 deadline (assuming nothing changes in terms of the flood zones), you would not be able to lock in the “preferred rate.”  Just like some who choose not to carry homeowner’s insurance once their loan is satisfied, you would be self-insuring for better or for worse.
The second question posed to Jim was regarding condo unit owners (the following comments also apply to town homes).Typically, in a condo situation there is an HOA (Homeowner’s Association). General rule of thumb is the association has what is called a “master” policy. In most cases, the master policy covers from the studs of the walls out, plus any common areas.  They do not cover the interior of the units or any liability issues that may arise within your unit.  In the event of a flood, if you do not carry a flood policy for the interior of your individual unit, you would not have coverage.  It is very important however, that you check with the company who handles the policy for your HOA to see what the policy covers.  Lenders usually do not require evidence (proof) of insurance for condo owners who are part of an HOA, as the exterior is covered under the master policy for most covered perils such as fire.  It would typically be the responsibility of the HOA to have its own flood policy for the exterior of the building plus any common areas.  If your HOA does not have a flood policy and later becomes required to carry one, you could find yourself in an assessment situation.  Do yourself a favor, check this out, or go to a board meeting and discuss this issue with your board members.

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