Get ready to pay more for flood insurance. The premiums you pay are expected to jump up because of millions of claims from Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma.
Curb appeal is one thing that attracted Christie Bruner to the Shore Acres neighborhood in St Petersburg.
“This is our 4th house in this neighborhood because we love Shore Acres,” she explained.
There’s only one major drawback. Her home is in a high risk flood zone, costing her family $300 a month in flood insurance alone!
“It really throws off your budget when you have 3 kids all in activities,” she added.
Bruner recently got a notice saying her premium is likely to go up again, even though she hasn’t filed a single claim.
“We’re in a very high area where we don’t even get water in our driveway.”
Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma threw the National Flood Insurance program into a tailspin. The program was already $25 billion in debt, and is now facing another $14 billion in flood insurance claims.
Jeff DeNight, a private insurance agent with Bentley DeNight in St Pete said, “it’s very bad. It’s a very bad situation.”
That leaves federal leaders with only a few options: Raise your premiums, cut off policies for homes that continually flood or open up the market for private insurers.
“We do offer flood insurance, but sometimes, banks won’t accept it,” DeNight explained.
That means homeowners like Dan Griffith have few options.
“If it increases 5% I’m in, if it jumps 12% I’m getting hesitant.”
Griffith is even considering paying off his house just to be able to drop his flood insurance policy.
“The money I would put into flood insurance I’ll just put into a bank account and roll the dice.”
Federal leaders haven’t said how much your premiums will go up, but if you live in your house full time, there’s a 15% annual rate cap. Seasonal residents could see the biggest increase. The rate cap for those residents goes up to 25%.
“It can’t keep going up. It’s very frustrating,” Bruner exclaimed.