Anywhere it rains, it can flood.
That was a warning from Pinellas County’s Floodplain Management Program, which is working to keep county residents informed about the dangers of flooding.
Lisa Foster, coordinator for the Floodplain program, says that one way Floridians can protect their homes from a flood is to invest in flood insurance, and some Pinellas County residents just got a bit of a break.
“As of May first they will be getting twenty five percent off of their flood insurance premium if they live in a special flood hazard area,” said Foster. “If they live outside that special flood hazard it’s only going to be ten percent and that ten percent is going to be variable depending on the policy”
Pinellas County residents can use the county site to see if their homes are located in the special flood hazard area.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a branch of FEMA, administers the Community Rating System (CRS) classification, which gives communities the chance to earn discounts for flood insurance policies by implementing floodplain management activities.
Pinellas County increased its rating from a Class 7 to a Class 5 for implementing activities, such as community outreach programs that teach the community about flood protection methods and the alert Pinellas system.
The new rating took effect May 1, 2016 and is projected to save residents and businesses $5.3 million annually.
The Floodplain Program recommends that residents make certain their insurance policy is rated correctly, so that they can receive the proper CRS discount. It also important to remember that there is a 30 day waiting period before flood insurance takes effect.
People should also get a preferred risk policy if they are living in a moderate- to low-risk area before new maps are adopted. There is a chance that the flood classification of the property could change.
Foster says that the Floodplain Program will continue to improve.
“It’s a living thing; it will continue to evolve as regulations advance and insurance changes. We are going to continue striving for comprehensive floodplain management,” Foster said.