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Update: U.S. Senate Passes New Flood Insurance Bill

You may have heard of a new flood insurance bill making its way through Congress over the past few months, in response to steep premium rate hikes and other headaches for coastal homeowners (especially here in Southwest Florida).

Fortunately, for homeowners in low-lying areas that have had to deal with higher premiums – or that were in a position to deal with them this year – the U.S. Senate has recently passed a bill that will help remedy the problem.

If signed into law by President Obama, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act will:

  • Help grandfather in properties that otherwise would suffer from redrawn flood maps;
  • Cap increases in premiums at 18% per year, down from 20%
  • Offer a refund for homeowners who purchased homes after the latest bill was passed in 2012 and had to pay higher premiums as a result;
  • Allow coverage to carry over after the sale of a home to a new homeowner; and
  • Reimburse policy holders if they successfully appeal a redrawn map for their home.

The bill is a good bit of news for homeowners in Southwest Florida and other areas that have had to pay more money over the past two years due to the Biggert-Waters act passed in 2012. Notably, the 18% annual cap, while still high, puts a limit on premium increases and saves homeowners 2% per year on their current home flood insurance rates.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation, but the bill is expected to be signed into law by President Obama this week.