Originally published on http://www.weather.com/
The surge that's scheduled to hit the American coastline Wednesday isn't coming from a hurricane, but it could still leave a feeling of helplessness in its wake.
Flood insurance rates are set to skyrocket when a new bill goes into effect on April 1. Known as the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA), it's going to drive the prices of flood insurance plans through the roof for residents of all U.S. coastlines.
How much could they increase? In some areas where flood maps show maximum risk, premiums that were previously $500could be raised to as much as $20,000 a year or more, according to estimates released in 2013.
"My insurance is more than my mortgage," said Nancy Loft-Powers, a resident of Deerfield Beach, Florida, who told the Washington Post that her premium will be raised from the $7,500 she already pays annually. "I live by the beach in an old neighborhood. I pay [too much] insurance for a crap house that’s not great."
The congressional act will affect more than a million residents living in flood zones along the coast, according to the Post. These people were paying half the commercial rate of flood insurance, thanks to federal subsidies, but the government is phasing out this plan and leaving the residents to pay the full bill, the report added.
HFIAA was the revised form of a previous bill, the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which changed the proposed increase in flood insurance once the act took effect, the Post added. Now, primary homeowners – people who live along the coast year-round – will see a 10 percent annual increase to their insurance, on average. Meanwhile, secondary homeowners, who live elsewhere during some parts of the year, will see an 18 percent increase, on average.
Lawmakers say there's one big reason for this new law: FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is broke. It's $24 billion in debt and only able to pay on its interest at this point, and only collected about $4 billion in premiums while insuring nearly $1.5 trillion in property, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
Conservation groups have expressed support for HFIAA, saying that the dangers of living along the coastline will continue to rise as sea levels creep up, and homeowners should pay for their decision to build too close to the sea, the Post reported.
But that's not a message many homeowners, stuck with a house that has little value due to skyrocketing insurance premiums, care to hear. They've been told that putting their house on stilts or fortifying it in other ways is another method for keeping the rate as low as possible, but that's far too pricey an option for most to consider.
Still, this is a reality that coastal residents have seen brewing for years, and with 90 percent of all U.S. natural disasters attributed to flooding, most knew it was only a matter of time before the subsidies ran dry.
"It’s something we have to deal with," said Katie Ball, resident of Ocean City, New Jersey, told the Press of Atlantic City. "Some areas deal with really high taxes. We have to deal with flood insurance. That’s the price of island living.
At Prime Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you've got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable.
Call us at 732-886-5751 or send us a note at PRIME [at] primeins [dot] com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what's important to you is protected!