Federal Flood Insurance rate hikes affecting first coast homeowners

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Flood insurance rate increases are a big issue for people on the First Coast. Florida Governor Rick Scott is urging the President to block federal flood insurance rate hikes that threaten to hammer property owner's pockets.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the state of Fla. face looming deadlines to pay their premiums.

"The average person who has flood insurance only pays a few hundred dollars a year for a preferred flood policy," said David Miller, CEO and founder of Brightway Insurance.

He says there are a small percentage of people in the Jacksonville area affected by rate increases, created under A 2012 law.

"The idea was to make sure people who built in flood prone areas pay their fair share of the premium for the flood insurance that they needed," said Miller.

Miller says for many years, rates had not gone up and more and more people chose to build along the coast. Now with new premiums in place many people can't afford coverage. Some Florida property owners face hikes as much as tenfold.

"Certainly places in Jacksonville will be affected. Places out at the beach, east of the inter-coastal marshy areas, Julington Creek," said Miller.

The Senate passed a bill that would delay the flood insurance premium increases for four years. The House is working on a modified version that could be voted on next week, an encouraging sign for concerned homeowners.

In the meantime, Miller has some advice.

"Certainly if you have flood insurance it's important to stay tuned," said Miller. "Also If you're looking at buying a house it's important to ask those questions. Especially if the house is in an area that is either close to the water or in an area that you know is low-lying."

There's a state effort designed to cut premiums, a revised flood insurance bill is expected to go up for a vote Wednesday.


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