Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New FEMA maps for Connecticut

One of the legacies of Hurricanes Sandy and Irene is a new focus on potential exposure for future storms.  FEMA has issued new maps this year for Connecticut, changing the classifications of some areas from one category of risk to another.  In some cases, this can translate into large increases in flood insurance premiums, or even new requirements for flood insurance where none existed before.

In past years, the government has phased in the increases in flood insurance premiums, as jumps in the costs to owners can be large, and hard to handle all at once.  Given the costs of the last two storms, it seems unlikely that further phase-ins will be used.  Therefore, it's very important that owners and potential owners consider carefully the costs of flood insurance when calculating the costs of property ownership.  Remember that rivers also flood, and that commercial properties not near the coast (such as the office building in North Haven that I'm sitting in right now) can also have water problems with storm surges.

Also, buyers should take note of the fact that it can be harder to insure some flood-prone properties, and should not wait until just before a closing to look for insurance.  It may not take as long as environmental tests or financing applications, but insurance is no longer a call on the way to the closing table. It's just another fact of real estate life today!

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