If you live in the 94404 zip code, FEMA may change your insurance coverage. Why? They are preparing new flood maps and because Foster City shares the zip code with a small part of San Mateo, Foster City residents may soon be required to carry flood insurance. The shaded area on the current FEMA flood map shows the areas of San Mateo that are within the flood zone. Any new additions to the map will run south of highway 92 and both east and west of 101.
Heres the deal. If you go and buy flood insurance now, before FEMA makes the designation, the insurance is relatively cheap. A Preferred policy for a single family home in Foster City costs about $350 per year. This is for $250,000 of coverage for your house and $100,000 for contents. But only if you do it before FEMA pulls the trigger and prints the map.
We sat down with our insurance agent, Farmers Insurance agent Marie Wood in San Mateo, earlier this week and she explained the process. If we take the insurance prior to the formal designation by FEMA, our property will forever be designated Zone X, one of the three zones FEMA says are outside the 1% flood zone. And, with this designation comes a reduction in the annual cost for flood insurance. Once FEMA says you are living in a flood zone, you are required to carry flood insurance. And, thats a very expensive insurance addition. Your lender will make you carry the insurance if you have a loan. If you own your home free and clear, its up to you what you do.
Why are are talking about this need now? Foster City has levees surrounding most of the city and these levees are in first rate condition and that is why the city has never been required to carry flood insurance. But San Mateo has not taken care of its levee system and all of the homes sitting in Mariners Island, Edgewater Isle, Harbortown, Lakeshore, Los Prados, and possibly San Mateo Village will fall into the new flood zone. Shoreview, 19th Avenue Park, and Sunnybrae have been in a flood zone for several years adding, in some instances, thousands of dollars a year in added insurance costs to home owners. Because of the possibility of a levee break in San Mateo, Foster City could be flooded. Since San Mateo chose not to maintain their levee system, over 30,000 Foster City residents are now being put in jeopardy.
If you talk to your insurance agent now, and become pro-active, you can save yourself a lot of money. The $350 per year we were quoted will increase with the designation of ˜Flood Zone, but it will not increase as much as it would without buying the insurance early. The Zone X designation will remain with the property and once we sell our home, the next owners will be able to carry the insurance at a deep discount. A selling point? You bet it is.
We dont know when the new maps will show up. San Mateo and Foster City are expecting them any day now. This is one thing you can do that is pro-active for your family and can save you thousands of dollars in insurance coverage. Talk to your insurance agent now. While youre at it, if you live in San Mateo, talk to your city counsel and find out why repairing the levees hasnt been a priority.
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