Homeowners Grow Frustrated with Higher Flood Insurance Rates

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It’s no secret that flood insurance rates have threatened to increase for homeowners across the country. But previous estimates of the significant rate hike homeowners could face from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) appears to be quite low, according to a new article by The New York Times.

National Flood Insurance Program Overhaul

Homeowners were able to breathe a sigh of relief last month after lawmakers announced a delay in legislation that would hike the flood insurance rates of thousands of homeowners living along the coast.

The legislation, signed in 2012, was to phase out discounts of up to 25 percent that homeowners had benefited from for decades. The idea in phasing out the discounts was to help the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which had been in the red for some time, boost its bottom line.

Some estimated the rate increases homeowners could face would reach as high as $4,000. But according to reports, some homeowners could still see their rates hike — and by much more than originally expected.

Flood Insurance Rates Could Increase by $15,000

Homeowners living everywhere from New York City to Louisiana have been complaining about impending rate increases that could end up breaking their banks. While lawmakers proposed to delay increases for one year, the story revealed that many long-time coastal homeowners are still worried about hikes to come.

Palmer Doyle, a retired firefighter, shared that he had paid between $350 and $458 annually for federal flood insurance for seven years. But due to the loss of discounts, a change in flood insurance maps and the financial impact of Hurricane Sandy, his rates are expected to jump to as much as $15,000 annually over the next decade.

Reports show that government officials, grass-roots organizations and residents are mobilizing to prevent the massive increase from ever taking effect. Some are already paying mapping experts to challenge the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) new flood maps.

Some are also recommending that FEMA give financial credit to people who undertake renovations to protect their property. But while lawmakers have proposed several amendments and bills to reduce the impact of the eventual increase, it is unclear whether any will pass.

Image: Emily Baron