Know How Changes to Flood Insurance Affects You
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), floods are the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster. Each year, floods are reported to cause millions of dollars of damage. Property owners have insurance options to cover loss during fire, wind, hail, lightning strikes and other natural disasters, however, a homeowner’s policy will not cover flood damage.
Does Your Home or Business Need Flood Insurance?
Homeowners, businesses and renters have an option for additional coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), established in 1968. Federally backed flood insurance is available in participating communities that adopt and enforce floodplain management standards to reduce flood damage. Property owners can purchase coverage for structures and contents. Renters may purchase for their belongings.
Floodplain management is the operation of a community program of corrective and preventative measures for reducing flood damage. These measures take a variety of forms and generally include zoning, subdivision or building requirements, and special-purpose floodplain ordinances (FEMA). On Volusia.org, the county urges all residents and businesses in areas vulnerable to flooding to carry flood insurance.
Determining Flood Zones
To determine if a property is in a flood zone, maps are available online at FEMA.gov and are searchable by address. If a homebuyer is seeking a mortgage to purchase property, and the property is determined to be in a Special Flood Hazard area, the new homeowner will be required to have a flood insurance policy before closing. Outside a Special Flood Hazard area, homebuyers should still consider having a flood policy. Approximately 25 percent of flood insurance claims come from low- to moderate-risk flood areas.
Congress must reauthorize the NFIP to continue to provide flood insurance after November 30, 2018. According to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), without political advocacy for the NFIP, more property owners will become uninsured and will have to turn to the federal government for tax-payer funded disaster relief and rebuilding assistance after major floods.
“The NFIP is in desperate need of reform,” stated NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall in a recent news release. “The National Association of REALTORS will continue fighting for these reforms as the next NFIP reauthorization discussions loom later this year.” REALTORS have been urging extension of the program for months. More than 129,000 REALTORS, or roughly 15 percent of the membership of NAR, sent letters to their senators/members of Congress in support of the extension.
Currently structured, the NFIP is not financially sustainable over the long run. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the program is not charging enough for premiums to cover expected claims in catastrophic loss claims and has already borrowed over $30 billion from taxpayers to make up the difference.
For answers to flood insurance questions, contact your local insurance agent or visit them online at: FEMA.gov/National-Flood-Insurance-Program.