Texas residents face increasing premium costs after Senate passes flood insurance bill

Flood insurance may become more difficult for many Texas residents, and can be more expensive, after the Senate voted Thursday to bump the overall flood insurance premium rate for people in zones with a high risk of flooding by 100 percent, according to Reuters. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives.

In 2018, the House passed a bill to reduce the rates on people living in flood risk zones by 17 percent. The bill, however, was approved by the Senate on Thursday. Though the House had made up a majority of the bill votes in the Senate, the bill came under fire for lacking details on how to pay for the cut, and the Senate voted against the measure.

Flood insurance premiums for those who live in places considered to be the “100-year” flood plain have already risen slightly to help fund the program, CNN reported. The problem is that these zones, which are based on worst-case flood scenarios, are often extremely risky, CNN wrote.

Lela Walker of Houston, Texas, told CNN that she and her husband cannot afford the extreme rate increases, which would triple her payments to $5,000 a year. “Anything to not live in low-lying areas is a good thing because there’s water everywhere here, but it’s just an impossible amount of money to pay,” Walker said.

Flood insurance is required for the federally subsidized flood insurance program, but people who buy insurance on their own can avoid paying the higher premium and receive protection, unless there are private insurance companies that do not take flood risk. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, close to 700,000 people in Texas buy insurance.

Many flood insurance rates are adjusting upward as the risk of flooding increases. But, government officials, and developers, have made a “concessions culture” at the federal level that makes it difficult for the homeowners in the high-risk zones to find safe, affordable places to live.

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