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How to Find Out Which Homes Are in Flood Zones-Tampa, Florida Flood Insurance Update

Flood Zones Tampa

Florida residents be aware.  Your flood insurance premiums are about to rise dramatically on Oct. 1, in some areas as high as $12,000 a year.flood zones tampa

The change is a consequence of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 going into affect this fall.  The act is designed to replenish $20 billion the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) spent in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.  The act is, in turn, part of a larger legislation called the Biggert-Waters Act which changed how flood insurance premiums are calculated.

And it’s not just affluent property owners who will see their rates go up.  All property owners in flood zones will be affected.

The new premium rates are meant to reflect a property’s true flood risk, and the federal government will no longer subsidize flood insurance.  Businesses and homes purchased after the passage of the Biggert-Waters Act will see premiums increase immediately.  Older homes will see rates increase 20 percent over the next five years.  To learn more about the impact of insurance rate changes, visit FEMA’s website.

Renters also may see their rent increase as landlords pass the added expense onto their tenants.

What’s more, FEMA has redrawn flood zones, meaning properties that were once not considered at risk are now part of a flood plain.

How do you know which flood zone your current home, or the one you may be purchasing is located in?

A website has been set up for Hillsborough County (Tampa) flood zones.  Enter the property address of the home you own, or plan to purchase, and the site will give you current information about the property’s flood zone classifications.

Zones A, AE, V and VE designate areas of high flood risk.  Zone X (areas with no hatching on the map) indicates low to moderate flood risk. When I tried searching for the same information for Pinellas County, I was redirected to the FEMA site which didn’t give me the information I was seeking. You can search by municipality, but again, the information was hard to find and not as easy as just typing  in a property’s address.

The following news story explains how the new flood insurance insurance premium increase could impact waterfront homeowners starting Oct. 1. Homes built before 1975 are especially in danger of having rates double or triple.  According to 10 News , current homeowners with properties built before 1975 would see incremental increases over five years, while new buyers would have to start paying the new premiums immediately.

Only Congress can delay or kill the law before it goes into effect.  If Congress fails to act, property values in Florida will be adversely affected as will the state’s economy.

Here’s a few articles that speak of the situation http://www.wtsp.com/news/article/333791/250/Watch-out-Flood-Insurance-rate-hikes-could-be-huge

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=1&id=296753

http://www.floridarealtors.org/LegislativeCenter/Flood-Insurance-Toolkit.cfm

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/realestate/new-flood-insurance-rules-have-consequences-for-floridas-economy/2140618

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Written by Rae Catanese, Realtor

Licensed Realtor since 2002, Tampa Bay’s own Rae Catanese regularly gives expert advice and insider tips about the Tampa Bay real estate market via her blog, The Tampa Real Estate Insider. If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in the Tampa, St. Petersburg or Clearwater areas-then this blog is for you. I typically post articles once a week. To make sure you don’t miss my newest posts, you can subscribe here! Have a real estate question? Email me here!

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