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Flood Insurance Rate Reduction Now Kicking In For Some Homeowners

Rates will revert back to Oct. 2013 rate tables

Flooding in Brick Township, N.J. during Superstorm Sandy. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Flooding in Brick Township, N.J. during Superstorm Sandy. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Rate reductions for national flood insurance policies under the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, signed by President Barack Obama in April, kicked in May 1, real estate experts said.

Effective this month, all homeowners who recently bought older houses in flood zones, and current buyers of older properties will see a premium rate reduction under the law, which restores the Oct. 2013 rate for those who had premiums jump this year under the Biggert-Waters flood insurance reform law that ended subsidies on policies, the National Association of Realtors said in a statement.

The use of the October 2013 rate tables is an interim step while FEMA develops new rate tables and guidance to process and issue refunds for policyholders who were charged full-risk premiums under Biggert Waters and are now eligible for the lower rate, according to a statement issued by the office of Rep. Mike Grimm (R-N.Y.), who sponsored the affordability bill in the House of Representatives.

Those affected include homeowners who own pre-FIRM (built before 1974, in New Jersey) homes and:
  • Purchased the home after July 6 2012
  • Purchased a new policy after July 6, 2012
  • Had a policy lapse after October 4, 2012 and subsequently reinstated coverage.
Starting on Oct. 1, 2013 these policy types had all subsidies removed and were subjected to immediate full risk rates, as defined in the Biggert-Waters law.

As of May 1, 2014 FEMA is requiring policy renewals and newly purchased properties to revert to the subsidized rates that were in effect prior to October 1, 2013. Refunds for full risk rates already paid on prior policies will still take time to be processed, Grimm's office said.


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