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Flood Insurance Changes – 4/1/2016
Beginning April 1, 2016, FEMA will finally be implementing many of the rate increases identified in the flood insurance reform bills of 2012 and 2013.
Currently, most of the homes and businesses in the floodplain in Lansing are considered Pre-FIRM (built before 1981, when the first flood maps were created for the city). These properties have subsidized flood insurance rates. Without the subsidies rates would be much, much higher. Those unsubsidized rates are usually called “full-risk rates” or “actuarial rates”.
Here are the most important changes starting 4/1/2016:
Subsidies are being phased out for non-residential businesses. That means a 25% rate increase for businesses renewing their policies after April 1, 2016, and annual 25% increases until they reach full-risk rates.
Any property owner (business or residential) that lets their flood insurance policy lapse for more than 90 days will lose their subsidy and have to pay full-risk rates immediately. Those rates will stay in place as long as they own the home. Anyone buying the home will be eligible for subsidized rates again. They are saying that this will be effective for anyone who has ever let their policy lapse for more than 90 days in the past, but it remains to see how strictly that will be enforced.
Residential policy holders should expect rate increases of between 5 and 10% at their next renewal after April 1. Additional rate increases could be made in October, 2016.
If you have any questions about these changes, or are interested in knowing that your full-risk rates could be, call 483-4110 or contact your insurance agent.
Flood Insurance Changes - 9/3/2014
The National Flood Insurance Program is going through some changes. There are still some unanswered questions about flood insurance rates, but this is what we know:
In Lansing, most homes and businesses have always paid government subsidized rates. These rates are the same for all homes and all businesses, regardless of whether they are right on the river or on the outer edge of the floodplain.
That changed in 2013. Businesses, second homes, and rental properties are now being fast-tracked to actuarial (or full-risk) rates. These rates depend on how high the lowest floor of the building is in relation to the 100 year flood level (also called the Base Flood Elevation or BFE). The lowest floor includes the basement. All businesses will be required to pay actuarial rates within four years.
Click here for the latest updates from FEMA on flood insurance for these properties.
Most homes will keep their subsidized rates. For a short time, when a home was sold the new owners were required to pay actuarial rates, but that was reversed this past summer. Subsidized rates should now be passed on to the new homeowner.
However, subsidized rates for homeowners are also increasing, although not as quickly as rates for homeowners as for businesses and landlords. Rates will increase between 5% and 18% annually beginning in the spring of 2015.
Do I need flood insurance?
If you live in the floodplain, you need flood insurance. Homeowners and renters insurance does not cover flood damage. Only flood insurance will cover flood damage. If you are renting in the floodplain, your landlord's flood insurance will probably not cover your belongings.
You can buy flood insurance through any property insurance agent, but be aware that some agents have more experience with flood insurance than others. Get more than one quote!
Anyone in Lansing can buy flood insurance and everyone in the floodplain should have a flood insurance policy. Flood insurance policies come with an "increased cost of compliance" rider. This means that if your home is badly damaged by flooding you can get up to $30,000 extra to help floodproof your home.
If you live outside of the 100 year floodplain, consider a Preferred Risk Policy. Floods don't read maps--flooding can happen anywhere.
There is a 30 day waiting period for most new flood insurance policies, so don't wait until you see the water.
For more information on flood insurance contact your insurance agent or visit www.floodsmart.gov.