Recent flooding in the state has made all Coloradans more aware of the risks of living in or near flood plains. Not only do homeowners worry about destruction due to floods, but also the cost of insurance that might mitigate those losses.
Those costs are currently in flux, as FEMA continues its project to update flood hazard maps across the country. The new maps, called Digital Flood Insurance Rate maps, determine flood risks with new, pinpoint precision — “at a property-by-property level,” according to Floodsmart.gov.
This means insurance premiums are likely to adjust accordingly. “When new maps are issued, your risk may have changed as well along with your flood insurance requirements,” instructs the website. “If your property is mapped out of a high-risk area, your flood insurance costs will likely decrease. If you’ve been mapped into a high-risk area, you will be required to purchase flood insurance if your mortgage is through a federally regulated or insured lender.”
According to the Denver Post, remapping has reduced the flood plain areas in Lakewood and Arvada, while increasing them in Wheat Ridge. Those living near levees may also find that they are now at higher risk of flood, as Floodsmart.gov notes that “ hundreds of levees across the country no longer meet federal standards for protection, so when new maps are issued, these areas will be shown as high risk.”
Jerry Felice, spokesman for FEMA’s Region VIII in Denver, told the Post that the average cost of flood coverage in low-to-moderate risk areas is about $400 year. It’s an expense many experts feel homeowners should seriously consider undertaking. As Carole Walker, executive director with the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, notes: Over the course of a 30-year mortgage, more homeowners experience floods than fires – and “people would never think of not having fire insurance.”
For more information on remapping, go to: Floodsmart.gov.
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