Harris County Floods: The Federal Emergency Management Agency is changing how it calculates rates in April 2022

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) – If you think your flood insurance bill is already too high, upcoming changes will make it even more expensive.

Starting Friday, most of us will be paying even more because the Federal Emergency Management Agency is changing the way it calculates rates.

“Flood insurance rates would not go up unless the floods were a direct threat to our area,” said Andrea Kawaja of the Afloat Insurance Agency.

For decades, FEMA calculated insurance rates based on flood plains. Prices were the same whether your house was worth $1 million or $50,000.

But from April 2022 each property will be charged individually.

“Because low-risk areas were also flooded, they don’t count now,” Kawaja explained. “They count new things like geographical data and your address. Your distance to a water source. The topography. You look at weather data and historical data.

Rates will drop for some across the country, but in Harris County, the new calculations reflect our flooding problem.

The increase will be gradual and capped at 18% per year.

“I’ve seen price changes from $650 to $3500. That’s the range,” Kawaja said. “If you’re in a zone that isn’t a flood zone, which is a misnomer, everyone in Houston is in a flood zone, then your rate could be relatively the same and max out at 650, or it could go up and max out at 3500 .”

At the same time, Harris County is working to update its flood maps. So you could see changes to your premiums again in the next few years.

“What you’re going to see going forward is that it can rain a lot, and where five years ago we would have called it a 100-year rainfall, we’re going to be like, ‘Really? That was more of a 50-year downfall.’ Mainly because we have adopted and are using the new statistical data,” explained Alan Black, associate director of Harris County Flood Control District Engineering and Construction.

Depending on when you bought your home, you may already be paying increased premiums.

If you want to check if you are in a flood zone, visit FEMA’s website. Also contact your insurance agency for your new premiums.

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Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved. Harris County Floods: The Federal Emergency Management Agency is changing how it calculates rates in April 2022

Dais Johnston

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