Flood Insurance Could Increase for Homeowners - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Flood Insurance Could Increase for Homeowners

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DOVER, Del.- If you own a home or business, you could soon be paying more for flood insurance.

For those who don't live in a flood zone, and think you're high and dry, think again.
Remapping is under way, meaning more people will need to buy coverage.    
 
FEMA representative Dave Bollinger says an anticipated increase in flood insurance is something that won't bring joy to every homeowner.

"Due to a congressional act called the Bigger Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012, that starts by taking away subsidies from secondary homes. So if you own a vacation home at the shore, starting January 1 of this year, you saw a 25 percent increase," said Bollinger, Mitigation Outreach Coordinator for FEMA.

According to FEMA, nationally, five percent of homes and businesses saw an immediate 25 percent increase in their flood insurance premiums.

The agency is about 25 billion dollars in debt. Bollinger says that's because the costs of recovery have skyrocketed for high risk flood zones.

Government leaders have devised a plan to remap all flood zones and to increase rates to reflect a homeowner's actual flood risk.  The increase in rates is to help sustain the program.

Some homeowners who were not in a flood zone could now be in one due to remapping.

"The map is saying here is a risk given a certain amount of rainfall in your area, it will bring the water to what we call a one percent chance flood level. We used to call that the 100 year flood, but everyone confused that with, 'Oh that really only happens every 100 years and that's not really what that is," said Bollinger.

Bryan Stockton with Nationwide insurance in Dover says 20 percent of homeowners don't know that flood insurance is not covered under their homeowners policy.

"They're surprised a lot of times. They assume that just because there's some terminology on their homeowners policy that may equal that they're covered for flood, when in fact it's two separate entities," said Stockton.

FEMA says Congress won't bail the agency out just yet. Leaders are hoping this rate increase will help lower the debt.  

For more information on the FIRA of 2012 or to find out about cost-saving options available to homeowners and business owners, log onto www.fema.gov/flood-insurance-reform-act-2012.

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