The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the National Flood Insurance Program, has been touring South Florida to inform real estate owners about how proposed flood maps based on the latest data will impact their flood insurance premiums.
Owners whose property is included in flood zones will pay higher premiums under the new maps that will take effect in 18 months to two years. Experts recommend that they purchase flood insurance now, before insurance premiums spike under the new designation. If they act now, they will not have to pay the substantially higher rates new policy buyers will have to pay as their existing policies will be grandfathered in when the zones change.
The new maps aren’t all bad news. With the new data removing some properties from flood zones, some lucky owners may actually see a reduction in flood insurance premiums.
People involved in real estate in coastal areas need to keep in mind that FEMA maps don’t consider future sea level rise or king tide flooding. Buyers especially need to perform due diligence to find out if a property experiences sea level rise flooding or may experience flooding in the period they expect to own it. Not knowing a property’s flooding status could result in a loss of property value and higher carrying costs, including maintenance, flood insurance, taxes and condo and homeowners association fees.
Local governments have officials who can help property owners who missed the FEMA meetings to decide what to do next.