FEMA changes could mean you need flood insurance, or pay more for it | WHEC.com

FEMA changes could mean you need flood insurance, or pay more for it

Charles Molineaux
Updated: June 15, 2021 06:55 AM
Created: June 14, 2021 11:18 PM

GREECE, N.Y. (WHEC) — A Greece family and local officials, are warning homeowners who live near the water they could soon be hit with big changes in how federal emergency managers deal with flood risk.

“We wish it would go away,” said homeowner Kathy Mueller of Hilton. “But, the reality of what we saw in the two years of what we saw, the water coming over the break wall was… It would not.” 

Mueller and her husband are trying to stay ahead of any big changes with a major project. They’re lifting their entire house to be ready for water five feet higher than we saw in the last round of lake flooding.

“We’ve been on this street 46 years and never needed flood insurance,” she said. “Now, there’s a potential that we will go with that.” 

“I think the threat is real,” said Town of Greece Planning and Economic Development Director Scott Copley.

Lake levels may be low now, but Greece town officials say two new initiatives from FEMA could bring the flooding issue right back up again. Click here to see the new flood zone maps of areas now under consideration by FEMA as at risk for future floods.

Anyone with a mortgage in an area designated flood-prone will have to get flood insurance.

At the same time FEMA’s forthcoming new, individualized, risk evaluations for individual properties could determine how much insurance homeowners need.

“I think the majority of people are going to see either an increase in their existing premium costs or they’ll need to have an insurance policy all together,” Copey warned.

How costly? In New York, flood insurance can average $1,200 a year on top of your existing homeowners' policy.

The new FEMA risk evaluations are expected this fall and town officials say the flood zone maps will probably come before then.  

Homeowners may then have to pay up.  For insurance, or to make their homes less vulnerable.

The Mullers already fortified their break wall and now they’ve raided their retirement funds for their house-raising project.

They say some of their neighbors are considering similar projects, or just planning to pay up for flood insurance. Most will have to do something.

“For those that do you have homes, or cottages, you just want to be aware of some of these changes that could be coming,” Kathy Muller said.

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