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New mapping technology makes home insurance pricing fairer

Federal flood zone remapping will tie home insurance to risk

As part of a federal push to remap flood zones around the country, some homeowners are finding that their home insurance policies may have to change.

In Calaveras County, California, the Stockton Record reports, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is digitizing and updating its maps of flood-prone areas. Many Calaveras County creeks flood during heavy rainfall, but FEMA had not included those creeks in its flood map. Kathleen Schaefer, an engineer for FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, noted that homes not in a flood zone “do not have to have flood insurance.”

The studies that FEMA is funding “will reduce [homeowners’] flood insurance,” Schaefer added.

In Kansas, similar remapping is underway, the Topeka Capital-Journal says. Shawnee County land parcels at high risk of flooding are expected to increase from 4,800 to about 8,600 after the FEMA effort is complete, meaning that more homeowners will have to carry flood insurance.

Only those homeowners whose mortgage loans are federally insured are obligated to carry flood insurance, however. And homeowners who will need to buy flood insurance have several months to do so at today’s lower rates.

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Posted: December 7, 2009

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