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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.