WASHINGTON – Whether it was flooding in Texas earlier this week from Tropical Storm Nicolas or the destruction of Hurricane Ida that stretched from neighborhoods in Louisiana to the highways in the northeast, recent weeks have shown why flooding poses such a risk to Americans.
In fact, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in our country.
And you don’t have to live on the coast to be in danger.
CONGRESS AND FEMA
While all of this flooding might make you think of flood insurance, Congress thinks it for other reasons.
The national flood insurance program is due to expire on October 1.
While Congress is expected to expand the program, the biggest impact on your life may be the changes FEMA wants to make to flood insurance policies, changes that will likely impact rates.
Currently, policies are based on a house’s elevation and its annual flood risk of 1%.
From October 1, factors such as flood history, frequency of heavy rainfall, as well as proximity to a water source will be taken into account.
The numbers mean that what you pay will change.
FEMA estimates that about 73% of current policyholders will pay between $ 1 and $ 20 more per month
It is expected that 4% of existing policyholders will see price increases of more than $ 20 per month.
But FEMA also says about 23% of flood insurance plans will be cheaper, a recognition some Americans have been paying too much for years.
“It all depends on where you are,” says Dr. Ed Kearns.
Kearns operates floodfactor.com which allows anyone to enter their address and see their own risk of flooding.
He says that while FEMA’s drive for change is important, more risks associated with climate change should be considered.
“I would really love to see how climate change is impacting this heavy rainfall,” Kearns said.
The reality, he says, is that some areas will be hit harder than others by flooding in the years to come and Americans need to be insured and prepared to pay more.
“If you live in a house on a slab of land and next to the ocean, or in a low area, you should expect to pay your fair share. “
New policies will see rates change next month, current policyholders will see those changes next April.
If you’re someone who wants flood insurance but can’t afford it, keep an eye out for Congress. A proposal to create new grants is currently included in the multibillion dollar spending bill.