Friday, September 17, 2010

Anxiety has a purpose.

Last year, right about this time - I freaked out and pulled out a flood insurance policy on my crap shack. At the time my renter/roofer/sometimes friend and I were having very deep problems.

We'd had a freak storm the year I'd bought the place which almost flooded it. I just wasn't sure my property would have been taken care of if there was another near flooding problem.

Since there are renter rules, which I abide by, it was better to just pull a policy so I didn't have to worry all the time.

It was funny because my agent thought I had flipped off the deep end. None of these houses have ever flooded - they said. Undeterred, I ponied up the 350 bucks. Now the renter could do anything he wanted to the place. Burn it. Flood it. I don't care.

Immediately I got a notice in the mail from FEMA saying I was in a flood zone. I'm a few blocks from the creek. That creek isn't going to come close to flooding my house though. The problem more exists with what the neighbors have done with their properties and how the water sheets off onto mine. So I laughed and didn't think anything of the notice.

Until this summer.

People in the valley started having a conniption about FEMA and how they had redrawn the flood maps. They'd owned their houses for decades and never been forced to get flood insurance. Now, these people had to pay 2 grand for insurance. Forced. Not voluntarily like I had. While I noticed the reports, I was basically in the stage of - it sucks to be them.

Then, the reports started coming from my town. There are little tiny creeks everywhere. None have them have flooded as long as I remember. That doesn't stop FEMA from trying to pry money from your cold drowned body.

Same price. 2 grand. Thanks to all the real estate databases I could see the houses were similar in price to the crapshack. So I talked to my agent and held my breath for my bill. He said the price would go up, but he'd fight if it wasn't too high.

Much to my relief - the bill was 350 bucks. Just like last year. Now, I think if I hadn't freaked out, I would have gotten a 2 grand bill. When I pulled the policy they asked if I was being forced by my mortgage holder to get insurance. Which I wasn't. Now that I am listed in a flood zone, I'm sure I would be. So I think I got grandfathered in at the lower price.

I also think the mortgage holders were probably raping the homeowners and jacking up the price. It is a huge difference in price. And, I would have been completely oblivious if I hadn't taken it on my own just to pull the policy. When I'd done it - my agent made it seem like no one in town held flood insurance. Which is probably why I got it so cheap.

Things are always much cheaper when you aren't being forced to buy it. Draw your own parallels.

4 comments:

John from Pomeroy on the Palouse said...

And now you've gotta make sure you never let your $350 policy lapse. And have to replace it with a $2K policy.

Most of our small town is in a flood plain. Our building isn't, or at least we haven't had to get insurance for it. But then we have no mortgage either. (Thank God!) We're a 120x32' 3 story building attached to a 90x32' 2 story building both made of brick. (old brick) You know how much it costs to insure that many bricks?

I just went to FEMA.gov to see if I could pull up a flood zone map of our town. Here's what I got:

"This FEMA website is currently undergoing maintenance.
The site will return to service at 6AM EST, Tuesday September 21, 2010.

Thank you for your patience while we improve the services provided you. "

You really think they're working on the maintenance over the weekend? Heck, maybe they're just the hardest working government workers out there.

John

she said: said...

"You know how much it costs to insure that many bricks? "

Oooh! Is this multiple choice? Do they charge by brick or by weight? ;?

"You really think they're working on the maintenance over the weekend? "

How can you say that? That public service notice is probably costing you time and a half. If you are lucky.

Think of how many jobs it might have saved or created. I mean.. probably none. Who's counting? Oh wait.. that might be a job. That will be 1.5 mil please.

Sure, you can probably get a web developer for 1/100th of the cost - but really, that would take all the joy out of pitting the public against each other - now wouldn't it?

John from Pomeroy on the Palouse said...

Yeah, well I think they charge by the brick. I know that the insurance I was paying on a "normal" split level in a big city (Seattle) that had a mortgage of 3 times as much as I paid (cash) for this old (I mean, c'mon, almost 1/2 of it is almost 130 years old, just how much can it be worth?) building was no where near what I pay now. And the work on this (these?) building isn't even done. Our county just discovered we've been working on it (as far as prop.taxes go). Almost 11 years of filling out and paying for building permits and the auditor calls up and says,"I hear you've been working on the old hotel..." Well CRAP (Can I say that here?).

And on the FEMA web guys (and gals,I suppose) working on the weekend. Maybe I was too hard on them. After all, that's (weekends) when I "upgrade" our site. Weekends and nights. Although, it's not the business's site today. I've been working on scanning and making pages for a site I'm doing on my dad,who was the "official greeter"for Seattle from the late 40's through the early 90's. The pages look OK,but I need to work on the search engine stuff. Most of the people who land on his site are there because they're looking for Latoya Jackson's manager.Oh,well...

Last question (because this comment is longer than most blog entries, huh?) What is the proper etiquette for this type of stuff? I read a "lot" of blogs regularly (well, maybe 10-15. Is that a lot?) I regularly comment on 3 or 4 (Wow, Mrs. S, you're special aren't you(grin).) And you actually respond to comments. Which is great. Do I need to respond to your response? I DO read them. But I don't want to end up like Red Eye's Gutfeld and Levy going back and forth at the beginning or middle of the show. If you respond to this,do I then respond to your comment responding to my comment responding to your comment? (or whatever>?)

(I had a nice keyboard. I apparently broke it pounding it on the desk to shake the crumbs and stuff out of it. Well, 6 of the keys fell off and when I put them back on,they didn't work. So the next keyboard from the closet was ok, till I tipped a coke on it. (it still hasn't dried out.) This keyboard {bottom of the barrel} has a screwy spacebarwhich sorta worked. So if my words run together,it's NOT MY FAULT.) Blame BillGates.(FOR EVERYTHING!)

Keepblogging!

John
From Pomeroy on the Palouse

she said: said...

"Well CRAP (Can I say that here?)."

You can say anything you want here. This is a profanity friendly blog. I hope you can put all your improvements under "cosmetic". Here, it saves a bundle in reassessment taxes.

"And you actually respond to comments. Which is great. Do I need to respond to your response? I DO read them."

I've been actually trying really hard to improve on responding to comments. I used to not be so great about it. I'm not one of those people who can walk into a party and talk to anyone - so it's been a bit of a challenge.

So, I'd just respond to things you find interesting. And how great would it be to have an ombudsman? I think it would involve a lot of -yeah.. that is a word. I like that punctuation the way it is. And, yes, I know I spell the word lose wrong - all the time!

Love, love, love Red Eye. I even got Gregs autograph on the parking ticket I got in Berkeley when he came to speak. Never park on Campus.

"So if my words run together,it's NOT MY FAULT.) Blame BillGates.(FOR EVERYTHING!)"

No, no, no. You are saying to wrong. It is every ones fault but my own. That would include Bill Gates. But, that is how the administration is playing it.. so....