If you like your current flood insurance… Getting old isn’t it? But before you think this doesn’t apply to you because you don’t live in a flood zone, keep reading.
Back in 2012 Congress passed legislation (The Biggers-Waters Act) requiring FEMA to raise flood insurance rates to cover all the money they had spent on disasters like Hurricane Katrina. Floodplain maps all over the country have been revised, putting areas that have never experience floods into a high-risk zone. FEMA flood insurance rates have increased up to 3000% for some homeowners. FEMA was supposed to allow homes that had flood insurance already in place to be grandfathered in and not have their rates increased but this isn’t happening. One I know of had their house payment with insurance go from around $900 to $2200 a month. That homeowner just walked away from his house. Who can afford that?
But if you think this doesn’t affect you because you live high on a hilltop, think again. You may not have to pay the high rates, but what will it do to that town down the hill from you? Homes will be abandoned as families can’t pay a 3000% increase. No one else will be able to buy the homes because they won’t want to pay that price. Banks will have to sit on the homes and never make the money back so the banks could fold from the losses. Homeless, mentally ill and drug addicts will squat in the homes. No running water and no sanitation will turn them into hazardous waste sites. Will you want to go to the downtown shopping core if it is surrounded by abandoned houses overrun with drug addicts?
Homeowners from lower income areas such as flood-prone areas in towns to high-priced mega-mansions and vacation homes in ritzy coastal regions are all affected. All of these areas could start looking like downtown Detroit.
That’s just if FEMA only sticks to flood-prone areas. After the massive snow and ice storms this year, what if they decide they have to recoup the cost of responding to them? They could decide that everyone that could potentially be in the path of a severe snow and/or ice storm will now have to have high-cost insurance. That would affect more than half of the United States, if not more.
What if more earthquakes start occurring? Then they would demand higher earthquake insurance rates. So while California would get out of the snow insurance issue, every single home in the state could be affected by either flood or earthquake insurance – or both.
You may not think this could happen, but we all see how the government operates, how they always work on a slippery slope and once they get away with one thing, they continue on to see how far they can go. So first we need them to stop the insane flood insurance requirements that affect us all whether we actually live in the flood zone or not.
But we can’t just blame FEMA for this – Congress ordered them to do it, so Congress needs to fix it. Over 200 Democrats and Republicans have co-sponsored the “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.” (H.R.3370) Now if you’re like me, even though it is bi-partisan, that whole “affordability” thing hasn’t worked out so well for health care, so I have reservations about how well it will work in this instance, too. One thing FEMA will have to do is “study” the “affordability” of their decisions – because Heaven forbid Congress would have actually studied the impact before they passed the legislation in the first place. Apparently it was another one of those laws they had to pass to see what was in it. And by failing to read it, they failed the American people once again because it’s full of unintended consequences. Unfortunately, this “fix” is just like all the Obamacare fixes because it just delays the implementation for four years. But let’s hope that unlike Obamacare, the delay will allow time for a real fix.
The legislation could come up for a vote next week, so now is the time to start contacting senators and congress members to have them support H.R. 3370. Since this is one time they seem to be on the same page, they may actually want to hear from us and respond positively.