Possible Relief From Flood Insurance Hikes

Congress may delay flood insurance hikes for thousands of homes along the Gulf Coast and other areas that are facing steep premium increases, The Wall Street Journal reports. A $1.012 trillion spending bill to fund the government includes a measure that would temporarily continue flood-insurance subsidies for some properties located in flood zones.

The 2012 Biggert-Waters law sets out to gradually phase out flood insurance subsidies. The subsidies are being phased out due to the national flood insurance program being $24 billion in debt. That means home owners who have long received discounts to pay for flood insurance are now being faced with large increases — anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars extra a year. Home owners affected say the increases will hurt their home values and make their homes more difficult to sell.

The provision included in the spending bill would mostly apply to newer homes built in coastal areas, such as in Florida, Texas, and Louisiana. Homes in flood-prone areas in Northeastern states, such as New York and New Jersey, would not be covered by the measure.

Steve Brown, president of the National Association of REALTORS®, says the bill “does not go far enough to support the millions who are impacted by the exponential price increases.”

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is pressing for separate broader flood-insurance legislation in the Senate that would delay price increases for more home owners nationwide for up to four years.

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