Federal flood insurance premiums may rise for some Houston-area residents
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Thousands of residents in our area could soon see a significant increase in their federal flood insurance bill because of new rules set into action by Congress.
Congress has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cover its own expenses, so that means you could be paying more -- especially if you live in a flood-prone area like Galveston.
Lorri Heffner knows her beautiful Galveston home is in a floodplain. That's why she's always prepared. She buys flood insurance from FEMA's national flood insurance program. However, this year's insurance quote took her by surprise.
"Called my insurance agent, as I always do to check on policies and make sure everything is up to date, and they did inform me that the rates would be going up this coming year," Heffner said.
It's going up because FEMA announced it will be raising insurance premiums for many customers.
"They say it's the federal government's attempt to make it actuarial and pay for itself," Galveston County Engineer Mike Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald says some people's rates could be going up as much as 25 percent over the next three to four years.
Fitzgerald hasn't received many specifics yet, but he says the biggest increases are coming to vacation homes and those in high-risk areas, like most of Galveston County.
"My understanding is that in a high-risk zone area, instead of paying hundreds per year, you would pay thousands per year in your flood insurance premium," Fitzgerald said.
He says his office has received several complaints and concerns.
"There's not any recourse for a homeowner that I know of. You have to pay and that's the end of the story," Heffner said.
If your policy is set to expire soon, you could see those changes when it's time to renew. Otherwise, they will be phased in over the next three of four years.
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