Coastal Residents Catch Break on Flood Insurance Rate Hike

National Flood Insurance Program 1Flood insurance costs have been a major issue for residents in high-risk flood plain areas ever since it was announced that rates would increase by as much as 25 percent this year. Luckily, residents in high-risk areas are going to catch a major financial break thanks to a Congress vote in favor of delaying rate increases from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Congress Votes to Delay Flood Insurance Rate Hike

After homeowners and some lawmakers complained about a flood insurance rate hike that was to take effect this year, the U.S. House of Representatives stepped in to take action. Last Thursday, the House approved legislation that delays rate hikes on “grandfathered” properties by one year.

It was only a few weeks ago that members of the House of Representative in Louisiana developed a bill to delay 2012 legislation that phases out discounts of up to 25 percent that flood insurance policyholders have received for decades.

Led by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-Baton Rouge), the National Flood Insurance Program delay amendment, which was added to the Homeland Security appropriations bill, was approved on a 281 to 146 U.S. House vote.

What’s Next for National Flood Insurance Program Homeowners

The U.S. House vote is considered a major victory for homeowners who are currently insured through the National Flood Insurance Program. The vote means that flood insurance policyholders will avoid rate increases that could jump from $1,000 to $4,000 per year.

For homeowners in areas like Louisiana where the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita are still causing financial strain, the hike in costs would have been more than the nearly 500,000 residents with flood insurance could have handled.

“We’ve worked hard the last 48 hours — really worked hard — to bring it all together,” Cassidy told the media following the decision last week. “I think, in the end, as many Republicans came on board and as many Democrats came on in a bipartisan way, that hard work really paid off.”

(Image: U.S. Geological Survey)