CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – People in the Lowcountry are not strangers to flooding and the problems it causes. For those of you who own property in a flood zone, as of April 1st, your insurance rates are likely changing.
This is happening because of FEMA research.
FEMA began re-evaluating properties and their specific flood risks in Oct. 2021, and now, new rates go into effect. This is going to change monthly flood insurance costs for more than 200 thousand people across South Carolina.
“It is very important in Charleston, about half of the city is located within what’s called the 100-year floodplain or the 1% storm floodplain,” City of Charleston Director of Stormwater Management Matt Fountain says.
About 75 percent of South Carolina policyholders will now pay more per month, while about 25 percent will pay a little less. The rate changes range between $10 to $100 per month.
A FEMA spokesperson provided this statement explaining why the rates changed and how the new values are assigned.
Policyholders with lower-value homes were paying more than they should, and policyholders with higher-value homes were paying less than they should. The development of the new rating methodology exposed longstanding inequities in pricing, which have been corrected with the new methodology. Policyholders who were unjustly subsidizing other policyholders for decades are now paying the amount they deserve.
Fountain says that in the Lowcountry, staying aware of your risk and policy is essential. In fact, the city established the stormwater department as a stand-alone department about three years ago because of the impact on the city.
Fountain advises people should check in with an insurance agent when they get their next monthly bill to make sure it’s appropriate. He says there are a few ways to do so.
“There are options to verify that your building is constructed and the FEMA knows how your building was constructed to see that you’re not higher risk than they think you are, basically make sure that’s correct,” Fountain says. “Also, if there are opportunities to like elevate things like your H-VAC system, your air conditioner, which can help reduce your risk and reduce your flood insurance.”
FEMA reports that these rate changes are the first time in the National Flood Insurance’s 50 plus year history that some policyholders will see a decrease.
A FEMA spokesperson explained the reasoning behind the research, called ‘Risk Rating 2.0′, and changes in this statement:
With the intensity and frequency of flood events growing due to climate change, ‘Risk Rating 2.0′ will fundamentally improve the flood insurance landscape with a new rating system that is adaptable to changing weather patterns, modern, risk-based, property-specific and actuarily sound.
The City of Charleston has more resources about flood insurance here.
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