Monday, September 30, 2013

Coastal homeowners in for insurance shock

Sarah Watson in the Press of Atlantic City (New Jersey): More than one-third of New Jersey flood insurance policyholders, including many still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, will be affected by sweeping changes to the federal flood insurance program to take effect Tuesday.

While primary homeowner policies will not be affected immediately, policies for second homes, houses that have been repeatedly flooded and businesses will see sharp rate increases, potentially exceeding $10,000 per year.

The changes will affect flood insurance policyholders across the country, but policyholders in New Jersey will feel a disproportionate effect compared to the rest of the country, according to an analysis of Federal Emergency Management Agency data by The Press of Atlantic City. And flood insurance policyholders in South Jersey appear to face the most effects from the coming changes, the analysis shows.

More than 1,600 primary homeowners in Atlantic City and more than 1,000 in Little Egg Harbor Township will be affected. Of the 10 towns in New Jersey with the most affected primary homeowners, seven are in South Jersey. Of the 10 towns with the most secondary homeowners affected, nine are in South Jersey.

Florida ranks first in the nation for the overall number of policies affected — 268,000, or 13 percent. New Jersey ranks second, and its 88,000 policies affected by the changes represent 37 percent of all flood insurance policies in the state, the analysis shows.

Of those 88,000 policies in New Jersey, 17,000 affected by the changes belong to second homeowners, while more than 42,000 belong to primary homeowners, according to FEMA data. Nearly 5,000 of the affected policies belong to businesses, and more than 22,000 are for apartment and condominium buildings, for which new flood insurance rate changes have yet to be determined...

A house in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey wrecked by a tree falling during Hurricane Sandy, shot by Tomwsulcer, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

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