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Why you could soon be paying more for flood insurance

New system for evaluating risks will change rates for millions of homeowners

HOUSTON — Flooding is a fact of life in our area, so why could some local homeowners soon be paying a lot more for flood insurance?

Flood insurance price change

FEMA is rolling out a new pricing structure for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The new system takes effect next month for any new customers and in April for existing customers. Under the current plan the cost for insurance is based on whether your home is in a so-called 100-year flood plain, size of the home and proximity to water is not taken into account. That means large homes along the coast were not paying the real price for the risk involved.

Specific threats for individual properties

The new system, called Risk Rating 2.0, will base cost on the specific risks facing individual properties. Everything from distance from the coast or bayou to ground elevation to the cost to rebuild will now be factored in. Supporters say the higher costs will reflect the new dangers posed by climate change.

Most will only have a small increase and some will seen an decrease

There are 3.4 million single family homes now covered by FEMA’s flood insurance. According to FEMA, for 2.4 million of those homes, rates will go up by no more than $120 at first. Over 600,000 will see their rates fall. A few thousand homeowners, mostly on the barrier islands off Florida, could see costs go up over a thousand dollars a year.