SC homeowners could see changes to flood insurance rates in 2020

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Some Lowcountry homeowners could be paying more for flood insurance.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plans to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which could mean higher rates for single-family homeowners.

FEMA’s new system would change rates based on different variables which would include the distance a building is from a water source and the cost of re-building.

Thousands of people in the Lowcountry live in flood prone areas, and the new rates could significantly impact those people.

One resident said, "If it goes up an awful lot more, it’s going to put me in financial risk. It’s going to put my neighbors in financial risk.”

Not only are people concerned about paying higher premiums, but they’re worried that property values will start to go down once people realize how high those rates could be and houses become harder to sell.

“Either you will have to be stuck in foreclosure or you’ll be forced to sell at a lower price to someone who has a different lifestyle or will build something that won’t fit into the character of the community,” said another resident.

It’s not yet clear exactly why the reform’s happening, but a GOA report states that FEMA had 20.5 billion dollars in debt last year.

The new rates for single-family homes could go into effect by October of 2020.

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