Federal flood insurance premiums on the rise

Federal flood insurance premiums on the rise
Published: Oct. 31, 2013 at 6:41 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 1, 2013 at 2:46 PM HST
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NORTH SHORE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Property owners in flood zones in Hawaii will now have to pay a higher premium for federal flood insurance. Coldwell Banker realtor Anne Hogan Perry said one of her clients recently got hit with sticker shock.

"His flood insurance last year was about $6,000. His flood insurance this year, his premium, is about $14,000," she said.

The reason for the increase in the National Flood Insurance Program is the removal by Congress of a federal subsidy. The hike affects 43,000 property owners across the state.

"Everyone basically is going to be affected in some way. It depends on the zone that you're in and the age of your structure," state NFIP coordinator Carol Tyau-Beam said.

Hardest hit will be property owners on the north shores of all Hawaiian islands, structures in high risk flood zones that were built before the early 1980s.

"They're going to now be paying the rate based on what their actual risk is and their exposure to flooding," Tyau-Beam said.

Properties along flood prone rivers and in low lying or poor drainage areas will also be affected by the federal increase. Businesses will also pay more for flood insurance.

Perry said condos in flood zones like Waikiki's Gold Coast will see premium increases of 30 to 40 percent.

"It will raise the monthly maintenance fees to each individual home owner," she said.

The new law was adopted to get control over the flood insurance program.

"The lower your structure is below that flood height, the higher your premium is going to be," Tyau-Beam said.

Perry said the higher prices will be a hardship for some homeowners, especially when they want to sell.

To learn more about the increase in federal flood insurance rates go to www.fema.gov/bw12.  To see the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, use the Hawaii Flood Hazard Assessment Tool at  www.hawaiinfip.org.

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