Public Meeting on New FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map
By Sonia Isotov
Maui County is encouraging all property owners to attend an informational public meeting on August 13 regarding the new Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) digital flood insurance rate maps (DFIRMS), which become effective September 19, 2012.
A property’s flood risk may change and consequently so would the requirement for federally mandated flood insurance. Residents can view the preliminary map revisions, understand how their properties may be affected and learn about financial steps that they may take to protect their investment.
Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Maui County and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources will provide a short presentation on insurance ramifications as it relates to changes in a property’s flood zone and will be available to answer questions.
Properties that are re-classified into a higher flood risk that have federally-insured mortgages will be mandated to obtain flood insurance. However, re-classified properties that obtain flood insurance prior to the adoption of the revised maps may be “grandfathered” into a lower insurance premium.
National Flood Insurance Program insurance specialists will be in attendance to explain how this works. Property owners may also visit www.floodsmart.gov to understand flood risks, estimate flood insurance premium and find a local agent.
Flood insurance protects property owners from the financial devastation caused by floods, which includes losses to buildings and their contents. The coverage applies whether the flooding results from heavy or prolonged rains, coastal storm surge, tsunamis, blocked storm drainage systems, levee dam failure, or other causes. Different types of policies are available depending on flood risk.
If you live in a high-risk area, flood zones A and V, which include areas typically prone to storm surge and coastal and riverine flooding, as well as natural drainage ways, owners will need a Standard Policy. Most mortgage lenders will require that you have such a policy before they will approve a loan.
For those outside of the high-risk area, zones X or XS, flood insurance is also available, usually at a lower cost. A Preferred Risk Policy can cover both a home and its contents. While owners are not federally mandated to have flood insurance in a low-to-moderate risk area, it does not mean that owners will never need it.
Large floods often extend beyond the boundaries of high-risk areas and smaller floods occur outside high-risk areas as well. In fact, a quarter of all flood insurance claims come from properties located in low-to-moderate risk areas.
To public meeting will be held August 13 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Kaunoa West Maui Senior Center on 788 Pauoa Street in Lahaina. The presentation starts at 5:30 p.m.
The public may view the new Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) by visiting the Hawai’i Flood Hazard Assessment Tool website.