FEMA has begun updated its flood maps for the state of Florida and the new maps will be put into effect before the 2012 hurricane season. The maps determine what properties are at risk of flooding in the event of a natural disaster or severe storm. Insurers rely on these maps and the risk they place on certain regions to price insurance coverage. Typically, areas that are classified as high risk are required to have some form of flood insurance protection.
Collier County will have the most drastic change next year as FEMA removes some 20,000 properties from the category of high risk. These properties will no longer be required to carry flood insurance policies, but insurers are still advising homeowners to renew their policies to ensure they are well protected. An additional 30,000 properties will be exempt from the insurance mandate in other parts of the state.
Given Florida’s moist climate, heavy rainfall is common. While only a small number of hurricanes have made landfall this year, several tropical storms have inundated the state with floods. Flood insurance would have helped many recover from these disasters, but the coverage is still rare throughout the state, putting many at risk of costly repairs. Insurers insist that flood insurance is of paramount importance and note that, on average, the cost of flood insurance is negligible when compared to the costs of repairing flood damage.