Back in March, with the work of local, state and federal lawmakers and citizen groups across the country, a new law was passed to amend the Biggert-Waters Act called the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act, better known as HFIAA. This amendment was a great relief to homeowners and communities, as it restored things like grandfathering, lower rate tables, and more. However, while HFIAA did great things for the flood issue as a whole, there is a false sense that everything is “taken care of”. The truth of the matter is there’s still a lot homeowners need to think about and need to know. Here is one example. Marshfield’s flood maps are delayed for a year; however there will still be new flood maps at some point, and new structures will be added to the flood zone. Grandfathering has been restored under the HFIAA. Grandfathering allows people to keep the premium rates in the flood zone they are currently in even if the new flood maps move them into a new zone. However, if you are going into a flood zone for the first time, the only way you will be grandfathered going forward is if you have flood insurance before the new flood maps become active. While this concept may seem confusing, here is an easier way to think of it. If you think you may be put into a flood zone for the first time, buy flood insurance now. And as the Marshfield Citizens Coastal Coalition (MCCC) has been saying from the beginning of the flood issue, for those eligible, buy the Preferred Risk Policy, also known as the PRP. Those eligible for a PRP are those structures not currently in a V or A zone, and rates start as low as $129 for basic coverage, and never cost you more then $500. If you are eligible, then a PRP will satisfy your banks requirement for flood insurance. The PRP is grandfathered for life, as long as you don’t let the policy laps, and while the average policy will go up around 10 to 15 percent a year, the PRP only goes up 1 to 2 percent a year. What if your home is already in a V or A zone and you cant get a PRP? Or what if you are a second pre-FIRM home or business, the only structures not protected under the HFIAA? The HFIAA has several other ways to help those homeowners. For example, there is now a $10,000 deductable available to help lower premiums. There is a detached structure clause, which means that decks and garages don’t count for flood insurance if they are detached from your main structure. And as always, knowing your structure is always helpful. For example making sure if you have a crawl space, you are not being rated as if you have a basement.
So you may be wondering how to understand the new law, how it applies to you and how do you prepare for new mapping? Well, the MCCC understands that, and that is why we are putting together a summer educational series, expanding our Executive Board, and are holding an open house. Back on May 6th, the MCCC Executive Board voted in new bylaws. In those bylaws, there are provisions to expand the Executive Board from four members to seven. Because of this, we are starting a membership drive to get people interested to apply to be on the Executive Board. To become a member, we have an application on our website. We are also kicking the membership drive and educational summer series off with an open house on July 10th at Saint Anns Parish Hall, 591 Ocean St, Marshfield at 7:00pm. This will give everyone an opportunity to see our summer schedule, meet the current Executive Board, get info on flood issues, find out how to become a member, all while enjoying some refreshments. There is still a lot of work to do and knowledge to learn, so please come down to Saint Anns on July 10th to get to know us and flood issues. For more info, go to www.marshfieldcoastalcoalition.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org