Why the outrageous flood insurance?

A client of mine wanting to purchase her first home was looking in the Broad Ripple area, and we got her an accepted offer early in September (yay!).  It was disclosed on the listing that the home is in a flood plain, and we knew that the seller paid flood insurance.  They informed us that they paid around $2,000/year. All good! said my client.

We did NOT know, however, that new flood insurance rates would kick in on Oct. 1st due to a new law, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. The law, which took effect July 6, 2012, is phasing out subsidies that have kept flood insurance rates low. Why the phase out? The program was left billions of dollars in debt due to several disastrous events.

The law won’t affect anyone who’s had a policy before July 6, 2012, as long as their policy doesn’t lapse. Anyone who has purchased a home in a flood plain since then, however, will now have to pay a much higher premium. Although the law has been in force since July 2012, the rates weren’t available until Oct. 1st of this year, so no one knew the true impact.

But now that Oct. 1st has come and gone, we know how bad it really is. The new flood insurance quotes are so outrageous, it will make it extremely difficult for people in flood plains (i.e. Rocky Ripple and surrounding neighborhoods) to sell their homes.

If a buyer is getting a mortgage, the lender will require flood insurance. If the flood insurance is as high as we’ve been seeing, it could potentially affect the buyer’s debt to income ratio, making them ineligible for the loan.

So, the moment you’ve been waiting for- HOW MUCH are these new rates? My client for one, was quoted around $5600/year by one company, and then settled with a quote from State Farm for roughly $3400/year.  A lender I know had a client quoted at $7200/year.  I wasn’t exaggerating when I said outrageous!

What can be done? The only thing anyone can do as of now is to push congress to change the law. That is what residents in Rocky Ripple are urging others to do. In the meantime, if you’re looking to buy at a home in a flood plain, get your insurance quote before you make an offer.

Check out Indiana Flood Maps.

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