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View Full Version : East of I 95...Farm Insurance Refusal for hurricane risk



Daydream Believer
Jun. 29, 2010, 05:14 PM
I had an interesting discussion with an insurance agent today regarding insuring our farm. I'm looking for a new carrier for our property/liability insurance. I was told that because we are located East of the I 95 corridor that we were not eligible to be covered at all. When asked why, he said that they figure we are overdue for a massive 100 year epic hurricane in this area. Well, doesn't' that make you get a warm and fuzzy feeling? :confused::eek:

I argued that our farm is located on high ground and not near any flood zone and we are well inland but it was not negotiable at all. I guess they figure if we get a big one our property will all blow apart in the wind. It would take one heck of a big hurricane to do that so I was pretty amazed that they feel the risk is that great.

Has anyone else run into this before? Anyone Down East or here in SE Virginia?

I did get the name of some other insurance companies to call and I can still use my current carriers but I'm forced to have two separate policies...one for property/farm and the other for Equine Liability coverage. UGH.

oldpony66
Jun. 29, 2010, 05:34 PM
We were pretty fortunate to get homeowner's insurance when we lived on the coast in GA, and paid a fortune for the flood insurance. Of course, we actually were in a flood zone. I believe the insurance company said that they would only insure X number of properties in that particular county, we were lucky because we had insurance with them prior and were moving so we were already 'customers'. If not, we would have been calling around finding a company who wasn't "full" of customers on the coast. Glad I've left that behind.

SLW
Jun. 29, 2010, 10:59 PM
We lived on the east coast- Williamsburg, VA & Charleston, SC- for many years and had all our insurance with Allstate. When we moved to KS I contacted a local Allstate agent to get things set up for our little place with horses. They wouldn't touch us out here (Jan. '94) because Allstate was still recovering from the Hugo- '89 and Andrew- '92, payouts. We are out in the country and our fire department is a volunteer one located 9 miles away. Shrug.

Good luck finding coverage. It is getting harder and harder to do.

pintopiaffe
Jun. 29, 2010, 11:06 PM
I have a helluva time getting insurance. And I pay through the nose. And it STILL took 3 mos to the day to get running water last year after filing a claim.

Then they declined to renew me this year (just this month) and I haven't even begun to try again, because I know how bad it is to have none and try to get any.

Seems you can have a farm in a Hurricane Zone... or you can have a mobile home. But you can't have a mobile home on a farm.

As you found--doesn't matter that I'm 850 up on top of a mountain (um, if it floods up here, we have a lot more to worry about than insurance... like the Second Coming... ) and on the farthest western edge of the HZ county, a mere 2 miles or so from the next county which is NOT HZ.

My house is HZ built, with 2 x 6's on 6" centers, a steep pitched roof, etc. etc. Doesn't matter.

I don't kwow exactly what I'm going to do. The bank is on my back about it, and I told them if they FOUND it, I'd pay it... huh, haven't heard back again.

:no: :cry:

Catersun
Jun. 29, 2010, 11:13 PM
after new orleans got hit, there was a massive drop for anyone with a myrtle beach address.... LOTS of coastal folks got dropped adn then had an incrediably difficult time finding a carrier.

Daydream Believer
Jun. 30, 2010, 12:06 AM
As you found--doesn't matter that I'm 850 up on top of a mountain (um, if it floods up here, we have a lot more to worry about than insurance... like the Second Coming... )

:lol::lol: I had a good chuckle here. We are on quite high ground for our area also and not even close to a creek or river. If it floods here too we are probably experiencing a huge tidal wave and it's the end of world also.

Well, I feel somewhat better being turned down by this company. I have a few more to call for quotes tomorrow so hopefully I'll find something. This all reminds me why I hate insurance companies so much!

cyndi
Jun. 30, 2010, 12:36 AM
I feel your pain. Try living 30 miles from where Hurricane Ike hit last year! Despite the fact we are not in a flood zone, and our house is 60 years old, well built and has NEVER had a claim, and been through probably 4 direct or near-direct hit hurricanes....it's still tough. Everyone dropped windstorm insurance for the entire county and now we go through a state pool, which you think would be a cheaper option, but no. and it goes up about 15-20% a year. So we have federal for flood (just in case!), state for windstorm, and our Allstate policy is for fire/theft/liability. Yea, like what are the odds of that? Our annual insurance is close to $4K.

Oh, and how's this - our city holds the U.S. record for the most rainfall in a 24-hour period - in 1979 a tropical storm dumped 40+ inches on us. Almost the entire city flooded. Our house did not flood....does that get us cheaper flood insurance? No.

oldenmare
Jun. 30, 2010, 12:43 AM
Flood isn't covered regardless of where your farm/home is located - just saying. You need flood - have to go through the national program.

The big insurance concern in hurricanes is WIND!

Former VA insurance agent here - and while you are not uninsurable (well, yet) you are in a high risk area.

Contact some of the larger insurance agencies such as USI, HRH, Marsh (think they handle personal lines), etc. Warning though - you may find your farm rated as a commercial entity by some of the carriers and will be a (usually) higher premium.

Ashland is aways from you (just north of Richmond) BUT Kate Myers at McArdle and Associates has always been a great agent (and I know one of her farm clients is in West Point which is definitely east of I95!) - Kate is a horse person and just a really cool lady. The office number is 804-798-4494. That is the first call I would make...

GOOD LUCK!

oldenmare
Jun. 30, 2010, 12:45 AM
Cyndi:

Just read your post. I HIGHLY recommend you review your flood policy with your agent - you may find that you are paying more in premiums than you will actually recoup in coverages.... I know this was the case with my parents when they lived on a coastal river.

I'm NOT saying drop the flood coverage - I'm saying get a thorough review and cost analysis done and evaluate your options.

OM

cyndi
Jun. 30, 2010, 09:05 AM
Cyndi:

Just read your post. I HIGHLY recommend you review your flood policy with your agent - you may find that you are paying more in premiums than you will actually recoup in coverages.... I know this was the case with my parents when they lived on a coastal river.

I'm NOT saying drop the flood coverage - I'm saying get a thorough review and cost analysis done and evaluate your options.

OM

I know we are paying more than we would recoup - the highest $ in coverage we can get for flood would NOT replace our home in a total loss. But that's all we can get under federal flood program. That portion is only about $350/yr. It's the windstorm that is the real killer - but at least there we CAN insure for an amount that would replace in a total loss situation.

JSwan
Jun. 30, 2010, 11:25 AM
DB - I'm actually in a floodplain and have flood insurance and if a hurricane comes up the Bay all I can do is bend over and kiss my ass goodbye.

I'm insured through Farm Bureau - but they don't do commercial coverage for equines so you'd still have to have a separate policy and then compare and contract to look for gaps in coverage.

A lot of folks around here use EMO for their equine businesses.

Since you're looking for quotes I thought I'd toss those two companies out. Farm Bureau is great for the farm operation business you're considering, you can add on the business as an additional insured - just work out details with your agent.

Good luck. You're gonna need it. :(:dead:

CatOnLap
Jun. 30, 2010, 11:57 AM
Well, just saying, you can have floods even on top of a mountain. We live on top of a hill, but we've had two flood claims after big storms. Seems water has to go somewhere and after the storm blew some of the shingles off the roof, the water collected in the vapour barrier in the attic and finally broke through in a big whoosh all over the hardwood floor- claim # 1. Then, because the house is more than a half century old, and the ground was so wet from record rainfall, that the drain tiles failed and our basement flooded- claim #2.

Now earthquake insurance around here- that's another story. Earthquakes have cost me around $10,000 in replaced windows in the last 10 years- they shake the house and the thermopanes crack open. Try and get earthquake insurance on the pacific west coast! I pay $1700 a year for a basic farm/homeowner's policy with $1000 deductible. Earthquake insurance would more than double the premium.

Daydream Believer
Jun. 30, 2010, 12:33 PM
DB - I'm actually in a floodplain and have flood insurance and if a hurricane comes up the Bay all I can do is bend over and kiss my ass goodbye.

I'm insured through Farm Bureau - but they don't do commercial coverage for equines so you'd still have to have a separate policy and then compare and contract to look for gaps in coverage.

A lot of folks around here use EMO for their equine businesses.

Since you're looking for quotes I thought I'd toss those two companies out. Farm Bureau is great for the farm operation business you're considering, you can add on the business as an additional insured - just work out details with your agent.

Good luck. You're gonna need it. :(:dead:

Jess,

I actually have Farm Bureau currently; and you are right...they won't touch a commercial horse operation with a 30 foot pole. I had to practically give Valium to the Farm Bureau agent when he came out the first time and saw our 22 stall barn and large fenced arena. I had to convince him that I'd carry separate Equine Liability insurance which I have done.

My equine policy is with Agririsk now owned by Markel. They won't touch anything with "feathers and fins" so my pastured poultry business will have to be covered by Farm Bureau. I'm dreading that phone call.

I can continue to have two separate policies but as the agent I spoke to yesterday said, if I ever do have a claim, the two insurance companies are simply going to argue over who has to pay most likely. That was why I thought it would be neat to combine the two if possible.

I will check out EMO. Thanks for the suggestion.

Thanks for all the input and feedback. I guess I'm lucky in that "all" I need to worry about is a major hurricane. We do have a very well built concrete block barn...one of the only such barns in the area...so if we do get a big one coming, we will hunker down in there and wait it out. No way could I evacuate over 30 horses if we did get an evac order. We have a generator, camping gear, etc...and we'd manage for a while.

cheval convert
Jun. 30, 2010, 12:45 PM
Well, just saying, you can have floods even on top of a mountain. We live on top of a hill, but we've had two flood claims after big storms. Seems water has to go somewhere and after the storm blew some of the shingles off the roof, the water collected in the vapour barrier in the attic and finally broke through in a big whoosh all over the hardwood floor- claim # 1. Then, because the house is more than a half century old, and the ground was so wet from record rainfall, that the drain tiles failed and our basement flooded- claim #2.

Now earthquake insurance around here- that's another story. Earthquakes have cost me around $10,000 in replaced windows in the last 10 years- they shake the house and the thermopanes crack open. Try and get earthquake insurance on the pacific west coast! I pay $1700 a year for a basic farm/homeowner's policy with $1000 deductible. Earthquake insurance would more than double the premium.

The type of water damage you had is not considered a flood by insurance standards. Basically, home owners insurance covers "water from heaven" , which is what you had. "Water from he!!" on the other hand is when your house if flooded from the ground up; for this you need flood insurance.

BTW, I have a cottage on Cape Cod. I have had to go through Lloyd's of London to get insurance. I was using the state plan (pricey) but when I started renting it out, the state plan would not cover it so I had to got to Lloyd's (pricier). At least we don't need flood insurance - all of the Cape would have to be underwater in order for my cottage to be flooded.

crosscreeksh
Jun. 30, 2010, 01:52 PM
I feel your pain!! IMO Insurance companies are in business to line THEIR pockets - not protect the client. We had had Farm Bureau insurance for years in upper NY with a 50x250 barn in the heart of blizzard country. Never a claim. We moved to NC and tried to get Farm Bureau insurance there...Nope, they didn't cover "horse" farms and/or vehicles with farm tags!!! We had to scrounge for an insurance provider despite the fact that we were NOT a public service stable!! And after being robbed several times - no claims made - we had to hide the fact that we had bought a GSD trained protection dog or they would have refused us coverage at all!!! Right now I'm being swamped with solicitations from "Farm" insurance companies, seeking my business, when I KNOW they don't cover horse farms!! It's a pain.

JSwan
Jun. 30, 2010, 02:19 PM
Jess,
No way could I evacuate over 30 horses if we did get an evac order. We have a generator, camping gear, etc...and we'd manage for a while.

The offer to bring them here is always open. We'd manage somehow. Trouble is, if we got another Camille or Agnes I'd be fitting the livestock with snorkels.

Sigh. It's tough trying to find coverage to begin with, and then to mix and match to make sure there are no gaps.

You know, since hurricane season has started maybe it's time to create a resource/reference thread for folks on the east coast. I remember reading how a person's barn caught on fire after they raked wet shavings into it, folks without water for their livestock because of power outages.... stranded livestock, etc. Folks who didn't know what a hurricane evacuation route was, where they could find stabling or accommodations for pets.... that sort of thing.

Not a pleasant topic but probably a good one to discuss.

theoldgreymare
Jun. 30, 2010, 02:29 PM
God this thread scares the pants off me No problem with insurance to date (and I am just across the Bay for you DB) but I am up for renewal in July so now I am biting my fingernails after reading this thread.

I have a baaaddd feeling about this hurricane season. We are sandwiched between the Atlantic and the Chesapeake Bay. Historically, this area has a very low incident of direct hits by hurricanes but you never know. We are also in the "no evacuation possible" boat and just had the discussion with owners about our protocol in the event of landfall here.

springer
Jun. 30, 2010, 03:03 PM
I've had the same problem, twice. Once with my house in South Florida located east of 95, and once with my LOG home in Montana. (insurance co.s HATE log homes) The Florida house was not insurable as it was during hurricane season and there was a storm in what they call "the triangle" - which basically encompasses anything west of Africa. It held up my closing and luckily we found a window. Then when I built my home in MT, NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE would take me. I had a mortgage so I had to have insurance. I ended up calling the state of Montana (insurance commission?) or something like that. They were able to find an agent to help me. Maybe they have a similar agency in your state.

Daydream Believer
Jun. 30, 2010, 03:18 PM
I posted this on another forum and one poster over there made an extremely good point...that hurricanes like Fran and Hugo that went way inland...well past I95...did loads of property damage hundreds of miles inland. So, being west of 95 is no guarantee of safety from a hurricane.

I was in Raleigh when Fran hit in 1996 and I know of several houses that were condemned after trees came down on them or had roofs taken off. A manufactured home up from us was literally ripped apart. Many of the inland areas are not "hardened" to the effects of high wind either unlike coastal areas where most of us build with wind in mind. It's nothing for us to get 70-80mph winds here at our farm for a Nor'Easter. I know now to expect that and put up nothing that can't withstand strong wind. When I lived in Central NC, I never saw winds like that until Fran came to visit.