ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Tina Baker has lived in her Shore Acres neighborhood in St. Petersburg for more than four years.
She’s watched as her neighbors homes have flooded several times during that period, but her home has never flooded, while she’s been there, until Hurricane Idalia.
“I’ve stood here and watched the water go up and up and up, you know, and right under their cars and right into their houses,” said Baker.
She has flood insurance through the national flood insurance program, but was concerned about filing a claim because she didn’t want her rates to go up.
“I didn’t want to use it to begin with but by the time you realize you have water up your walls and mold growing within like 24 hours, I felt like I needed to apply for it,” said Baker.
Jake Holehouse is the President of HH insurance and says filing a claim under the national flood insurance program will not increase your rates.
“If a property has flooded two times in a 10-year period with a thousand dollars or more of claims, they are considered to be a repetitive loss property. A step up from that is being considered a severe repetitive loss, which is four flood claims,” said Holehouse.
He says even with a severe repetitive loss designation, a homeowner can still obtain flood insurance through the Federal Program.
“In many of these cases, I think the policy holders will get a notice of non-renewal, probably next year. It’s definitely scary anytime a policy holder gets a notice of non-renewal but what would happen is, typically they would work with their current agent to be able to re-write them into the NFIP direct facility,” said Holehouse.
The NFIP direct program simply means a third party is not administering the policy and that claims are handled directly though the national flood insurance program.
“There’s really not a difference from a coverage or a rate standpoint,” said Holehouse.