In 2012, the U.S. Congress passed the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12), which requires the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to raise rates to reflect true flood risk. These changes will only effect subsidized flood insurance policies; however, keep in mind most flood insurance policies do see minimal increases annually as the cost of living increases.
What do these flood insurance changes mean for Gainesville / Alachua County?
Of the 112,766 housing units in Alachua County, only 2,934 (2.6%) have flood insurance policies. Of the houses in Alachua County with flood insurance policies, only 328 of them are subsidized.
Homeowners of primary residences in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)* will be able to keep their subsidized rates unless or until they:
- Sell the property
- Allow the current flood insurance policy to lapse
- Suffer severe, repeated, flood loses; or
- Purchase a new flood insurance policy for the property
As of January 2, 2013 owners of subsidized policies on non-primary/secondary residences in a SFHA will see 25% increases annually until rates reflect true risk.
Beginning October 1, 2013 owners of subsidized policies on properties that have experienced severe or repeated flooding will see 25% rate increases annually until rates reflect true risk. Additionally, owners of subsidized policies on businesses/non-residential policies in SFHA will see 25% rate increase beginning October 1, 2013 until rates reflect true flood risk.
If you have a subsidized flood insurance policy and receive a bill at policy renewal, pay your bill as you would normally do to continue your flood insurance coverage. If you have a flood insurance policy and receive a letter from FEMA asking you to obtain an elevation certificate, additional information is required to accurately rate your property (i.e. elevation certificate, photos, etc.).
*For FEMA’s definition of Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) click here.