Latest Flood Maps Having Huge Impact on Home Insurance

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  • In the last several years, the federal government has changed what it calls flood maps – which are used to determine flooding risk across the country – a number of times, and whenever these alterations are announced, many homeowners are left in tough situations. This latest round of changes seems to be impacting many people in Pennsylvania particularly hard, and it could lead many to pay significantly higher home insurance rates even if no other changes to their properties have been made. While this isn’t likely to impact their existing home insurance costs, it might still be wise for agents to talk to their clients about why these changes happen and other ways they might be able to keep costs down to ensure they can afford coverage.

    The latest flood map update came in mid-2013, but a less recent alteration that was made in 2009 is still weighing heavily on those whose homes fall in one affected area, according to a report from the Cumberland Sentinel. That’s because people who bought homes in zones that were later categorized as requiring flood insurance might not have found out about that mandate until they attempted to sell the properties or refinance their mortgages.

    Why is this an issue?
    Homes that still have outstanding mortgage balances are required to have flood insurance by the federal government, the report said. Those that have paid off those balances are not. Moreover, if a building is on part of a property that is not in a flood zone, but another part of that land is, then the building itself will still have to be covered. Experts say that the problem for many consumers is that the system by which affected consumers are notified of the requirement could use some work, and also that many of the rules they suddenly have to follow can be both difficult and expensive to comply with.

    These concerns are very real ones for many Americans who worry about being able to afford all their various types of insurance coverage – from home and auto to health and life – so the more agents can do to assuage an bubbling fears could go a long way. In fact, the issue of high-quality customer service is often cited by consumers as being one of the biggest drivers of overall satisfaction with their coverage, even more than the ability to save a bit of money.