At a time when most conversations are about the impacts of drought on the Sacramento Valley, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is also reminding people to remember floods. FEMA held a meeting in Colusa to explain changes to flood insurance in relationship to how the new flood maps are impacting homeowners. As FEMA completes mapping the new flood zones, many people are finding that they now own a house inside a flood plain. That shift can mean thousands of dollars in new flood insurance for some homeowners. The new rules from the Biggert-Waters Reform Act of 2012 mandate that home and business owners now pay the actual cost of flood protection; this will “raise rates for some older properties in high risk areas.”
Communities that were built before the “First Flood Insurance Rate Map”, in the late 1960’s, will have “adjusted rates that reflect current risk.” These policies may see an increase of 80% or more. The new rates are assessed as the regional flood maps are completed. Assessments start when a house is sold, or if the new flood maps indicate your dwellings are not in a high-risk area, or if your home has been in a flood previously. Current owners who have been paying at the lower rate will see their policies increase by 25% per year until it reaches the full risk rate.
The new rules and maps will change building codes and impact the sale of existing homes. The new rules will require all dwellings to be raised above the flood line or be retrofitted to withstand a flood event. A bill, H.R. 3315 by Congressmen LaMalfa and Garamendi, will exempt agriculture structures from the new regulations. The bill is currently on the Presidents desk waiting to be signed. If you would like more information about the new regulations contact your local insurance agent or visit the FEMA website for the most current updates.