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Buying a Property or already own a Property in a Flood Zone? Read some of the new Flood Insurance changes - even in sunny and beautiful San Diego homeowners can take a hit with flood insurance depending on where you live - this may help.

Property owners in flood zones are likely to get relief under a bill recently signed by the President. Under the bill (1) sales will no longer trigger immediate premium increases, and (2) properties that complied with prior flood map requirements will be grandfathered, which would likely mean that insurers may not require elevation certificates at sale to obtain flood insurance.

In response to homeowners around the country experiencing large increases in flood insurance premiums and to the increased costs at sale due to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (“Biggert-Waters”), both the House (H.R. 3770, The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, “Menendez-Grimm”) and Senate (S. 1926) passed bills rolling back some of the Biggert-Waters provisions. Although the Senate bill was broader, the Senate agreed to go along with the House version.

Other provisions of the Menendez-Grimm bill are: It limits yearly premium increases to 15% for nine FEMA property categories, no individual policy increases of more than 18% for most properties built after 1975 and 25% for older properties. It provides refunds of premiums to homebuyers after Biggert-Waters effective date. It provides for an annual $50 surcharge for residential policyholders and a $250 surcharge for businesses and second homes. It strives to reach a goal where most residential policy holders have a premium no greater than 1% of the value of coverage (i.e. $2,000 for a $200,000 policy). And it establishes a Flood Insurance Advocate within FEMA to, among other things, answer current and prospective policyholder questions about the mapping process and flood insurance rates.