Jun 102015

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By G. Steven Bray

The recent flooding in our state may have some folks thinking about flood insurance. The National Flood Insurance Program, backed by the federal government, provides the only reasonable insurance for those in flood-prone areas against catastrophic loss.

Unfortunately for those who need the insurance, the government announced an annual surcharge starting this year of $25 for owner-occupied homes in flood zones and a surcharge of $250 for vacation homes. Insurance premiums are heavily subsidized by taxpayers, so the much higher surcharge for vacation homes is intended to reduce that subsidy somewhat on properties that are considered more of a luxury. If you own your vacation home free and clear, you could consider dropping coverage, but unfortunately, if you own a home in a flood zone that has a mortgage, you have no choice but to pony up the extra $250.

FEMA reports that the average premium for homes in flood zones is $638, so the increase for owner-occupied homes is rather mild, especially given reports last year that the fund was in danger of running dry.

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