Without any name calling or finger pointing, can somebody please explain this comment? [Flood Map Info]

“Yes, Wow! My flood insurance is getting a 5% reduction on top of the 25% annual increase. Great work, Long Beach. NYC fought the flood maps and as a result, their flood plain is three feet higher than ours. So while a guy in Rockaway Beach doesn’t have to pay the flood “tax”, we’re looking at $4,000+ per year soon.

I’m interested in the NYC portion. This comment was posted somewhere on this blog.

UPDATE: Ok, a friend of mine just sent this link: rockawaytimes.com/2015/06/27/city-fighting-flood-maps-and-thats-good/

23 Replies to “Without any name calling or finger pointing, can somebody please explain this comment? [Flood Map Info]”

  1. I have a somewhat related question, how do we figure out what our unsubsidized flood rate is? I know all of us will continue to see an increase until we reach the unsubsidised rate, but would be nice to know what that number actually is.

  2. I can explain.

    FEMA, quite arbitrarily, revised our flood maps about six years ago to reflect a “flood plain” of 11 or 12 feet above average high water. It was previously mapped at 8 feet for some twenty years. After a lawsuit by me, FEMA stated the plain was raised for “economic, not necessarily scientific reasons”.

    From that day on, virtually anyone in Long Beach with a mortgage was required by law to pay a “flood tax” FEMA calls insurance. As a government administrated program, prices soared.

    To afford some fairness, homes with basements or first floors below this arbitrary “flood plain” built prior to the maps was granted a huge “discount”. How could those owners envision such an arbitrary “flood plain” and “insurance” mandate?

    Now the government is “phasing out” these “discounts,” or as they call them “subsidies”. Prices will raise at least 20% (plus government surcharges) each year, until they reach the variable and arbitrary “full” rate which is also increasing 12% per year.

    The program gives a discount to owners in communities which make efforts to guard against flooding. Long Beach received a 10% discount, and had that raised to 15% this year through their hiring a consultant to make this application.

    Homeowners in New York City were much more lucky to have their government go to bat for them in fighting the entire remapping process. Instead of heralding in the new map flood plains, as Long Beach did, New York City fought them, resulting in much lowered flood plains (some as low as 7-feet). Thus, many owners in NYC shore areas are exempted from this “tax” or enjoy much cheaper rates.

    One goal of the federal flood tax “insurance” program is “to make shore front properties affordable and discourage … private ownership and… effect the relocation of … families”. Another goal is a “federal disaster tax,” paid by every American property owner.

    The flood laws are changing weekly. I get updates to their manual almost every day. There’s a chance of some relief, but it’s completely out of our hands and can quite simply one day boarder on a confiscatory tax, if it hasn’t already.

    I hope this is helpful in understanding this mess.

  3. @BltByKrmn :

    The full “unsubsidized rate” of your place would depend on several factors. To get it, you’d need to know the elevation above average sea level of your lowest floor or bottom of your basement or crawl space. An engineer or surveyor charges about $500 to determine this and prepares an “elevation certificate”.

    With that number you would TRY TO FIND a competent insurance broker who would look up the rating of your home in the Flood Rate Manual. Most brokers have no idea how this works.

    That would be your full rate. For older homes with basements, it’s very high, about $3500. A lower rate could be obtained by filling in the basement or crawl space or raising the first floor.

    That full rate is also increasing at 12% per year and new surcharges as the federal government continues spending money it doesn’t have.

    Congress has mandated that alternatives to this, including private insurance and “stormproofing” be offered, but these have been blocked for about a year by the current federal and NYS administrations.

  4. Good things do occasionally happen. We just got notification that our insurance is being lowered by about $2,000… To $540! We went up 3 ft higher than the requirement; I guess that’s part of the reason. We were really surprised.

  5. Lynn, your first floor is 16 feet above the ocean.

    Isn’t amazing how the government can make you think you are “lucky” to only be forced to pay them $540 a year for some “insurance” that you’d never need or want? And they forced you to spend how much to raise your house and how much in new property valuation tax?

    Oh yea, great things happened.

  6. Mr. Martin, you provide absolutely great info. Thank you!!
    The City is just so full of it I find it amazing. The 15% discount that I received was after the 25% increase. So, in the end, I still wound up with approx. a 19% increase. Only in LB would leaders try to sell this as a decrease. Do they ever stop trying to take us for idiots? Similar to the “no tax increase” BS they spread. I’d rather have a tax increase than the water bill increase and the water main insurance scam and the higher sanitation fees. DO THEY EVER STOP LYING?

  7. Hey Tuttle, Did you already get the increased discount of 15%? I thought that does not go into effect for policies renewing on or after May 1, 2016. Did you have to call your broker to get the increased rate now?

  8. The rate was my updated estimate rate for next year’s policy. My broker has been very good on this and when I called they had the estimate prepared. They did caveat this by telling us there was a chance it could still change before next spring.

  9. Thanks Jerry. Mine went up 15% this year including additional charges, I’m pressing my insurance broker for the full rate so I can make some educated decisions.

  10. Jerry, thank you for the clearest most comprehensive explanation of rates I have to date. Much appreciated. One additional point: my policy which renewed in August had a $200 increase which my broker called “the new two family fee”.

  11. Yes, Neal. Thanks for the kind words. That’s one of the new “fees”. There’s a $25 fee on every policy except those homes that aren’t 100% owner occupied full-time. Those enjoy a $250 additional fee.

    Tenants, whom the feds think don’t vote, get clobbered through that $250 fee on their landlord.

  12. The legislation waived the $250 fee for any home “which serves as a full-time principle residence”.

    The executive branch then interpreted that to mean “only the insured’s full time residence is exempt.”

    See how they are screwing us at every turn?

  13. Most homes cannot be raised. The only way out of this is to try and pay off your mortgage so you can drop your flood policy – that’s what everyone who doesn’t have a mortgage is going to do eventually, because the rates are insane. Alot of other people who understand what is coming, are selling out now, that’s one reason why you see so many houses for sale in LB. The new owners buying them, most don’t understand what is coming.

  14. One answer here would be a private mortgage that’s not subject to the government’s whims at back-door taxation.

    These regulations are changing every week! How the hell would somebody buy a home here when the feds could tax them unsalable on a whim? We really need some change nationally. The middle-class providers are being sapped of every penny, one group after another, while the administration plays class-envy games.

    Remember, only the rich seashore owners have to pay! They’re greedy anyway!

  15. You can raise anything, but why should I be forced to pay $300K to raise my $500K brick house and give up the basement when it hasn’t flooded in 103 years? With those economics, I might as well send the keys to the Feds and walk away from the place.

    Many folks raising their $300K bungalows are now facing doubling property taxes and debts they can never repay.

  16. That’s exactly right. Raising a home with a basement is insanity – flood insurance hardly covers anything in a basement anyway. The choice between raising a bungalow, or just knocking it down and building a new elevated house there, if you look at how most of these raised bungalow jobs ended up – doesn’t look worth it to me.

  17. Because if you have a mortgage, you must have flood insurance, which will go up to over $9K per year. If you had opted into NY rising you would have been eligible for a grant to elevate your home vs. being out of pocket for much $$.

    And note that if you don’t increase your livable space, impact on property tax should not be significant (and likely offset by the reduction of flood insurance premiums)

  18. Tell that to the folks who are seeing $10,000 increases in tax bills after adding two garage spaces and a fire sprinkler. Taxes are determined by “assessed market value,” which is has little to do with square footage of living space, and they are phased in over eight years so the sheep don’t notice.

    You’re drinking the Kool-Aide. While NY Rising may be the answer for some, it has been the ruination for others. Blindly throwing money at imaginary boogeymen is seldom a viable remedy to absurd over regulation.

    A decision to raise a structure must be based on more than a fractional handout and volumes of government threats and promises.

    Easier to simply get private financing and let the government shove their Fanny-Mae mortgages.

    Enjoy the 34 step staircase to check your mailbox.

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