Del. Flood Insurance Rates on the Rise - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Flood Insurance Rates on the Rise

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LEWES, Del. - After Superstorm Sandy hit the coastal U.S., flooding became a problem for homes across the country. Cleaning the mess up actually put the national flood insurance program underwater as well. 

The amount of debt grew greatly after Hurricane Katrina reaching $16 billion. Then it jumped once again, hitting $24 billion after Superstorm Sandy. In order to fix this crisis, congress decided to bring an end to federal subsidizing for flood insurance within flood-prone areas. 

The end of these programs will mean significantly higher premiums for those buying flood insurance within these areas. 

Friday President Barack Obama signed a bill that took a step back from this policy. The change capped the rate increase for primary homes to 18 percent. Still though, those within these areas will be paying more for their insurance. 

Marsha Davis of Lewes said the area near the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal floods often. She said insurance costs are so high that she simply decided to remain uninsured. She said there was one main reason for this decision. 

"Because of the expense," she said. "Pure and simple."

Within Delaware, there are nearly 2,400 homes that will be impacted by this rate increase. Across Maryland that number is about 12,000. All of these homes will be paying more when the subsidies run out.  

April Popelas, an insurance agent from Seaford explained to WBOC what this change would mean. 

"It means a higher premium," she said. "It depends on the insured and what type of discount they're getting."

Some premiums could rise by thousands of dollars, according to the Associated Press. 

To get around this problem, Mike Zayatz of Lewes said that many people in flood prone neighborhoods are simply not buying insurance. On his road, most of the homes are elevated by about a dozen feet. Elevating a home is expensive, but worth it if it's less than the cost to buy flood insurance, he said. 

Zayatz said he was concerned about the end of the subsidy program. He said it could have been sustainable and the debt could have been avoided if they had just charged higher premiums from the beginning.

"Nobody that pays insurance is going to say, 'Geez, my premiums are too low,'" he said. "But the premiums were too low for it to be sustainable." 

The at risk areas can be found throughout Delmarva, expanding far beyond just the coasts. In fact some of the most at risk areas for flooding are in Elsmere and Federalsburg.

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