My neighbors frequently complain about the - pardon the pun - rising cost of flood insurance.
Some of them have actually paid hundreds of dollars for elevation surveys to show the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that they're not in a flood zone. Still the rate goes up every year -- and it also rises with the debt on the property. So if you take out or increase a home equity loan, which many people are doing due to the economy, you have to increase your coverage, too, which boosts your premium even more. So I called my insurance agent today.
Among other things, I asked her what this Community Rating on my declaration page means. The agent checked it out and called me back.
The Community Rating is a number that FEMA applies to communities. Toms River has a 9. A rating of 1 is the best. Insurance companies use these ratings to apply discounts to your insurance premiums. So, people living in a community with a rating of 1 get 45% off their base premium. If Asbury Park had a rating of 1, instead of my base premium being $1,511, I would be paying $679.95 less, or $831.05.
The worst Community Rating is a 10. Asbury Park has a Community Rating of 10. This means that in the eyes of FEMA Asbury Park is doing the bare minimum to enable its residents to qualify for flood insurance at all -- let alone discounts. So Asbury Park residents are paying what amounts to a premium because its administration is exerting minimum effort.
Please note that the next item on this blog also refers to Asbury Park's emergency preparedness.