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FEMA - The Federal Emergency Management Agency of the US Department of Homeland Security, initially created under President Jimmy Carter by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978 and implemented by two Executive Orders on April 1, 1979 - is about to change their flood insurance program that has never changed since its inception. Notable changes are coming all dependent on flood risk assessment.

Currently, insurance rates are based on a property's 1% annual chance of flooding plus the elevation of the home.  Starting in October, insurance rates will reflect a property's unique flood risk. Insurance costs will factor in replacement cost whether the risk is rainfall, river or coastal flooding, and how close it is to the potential source of flooding. They will factor in future catastrophic risks from sea-level change, drought and wildfires. A $1 million home in Florida currently pays the same insurance rate as a $200,000 home in Montana even though they have a significantly different risk. Naturally, those Montana homeowners are not too pleased!

First Street evaluates the risk of flooding and climate change risk for all homes and provides a RISK SCORE they call a FLOOD FACTOR.

This is another consideration for home buyers - and their professional agents/advisors - who evaluate these elements with them. Insurance costs are almost certain to keep escalating as climate change continues to spark 'big damage' events....combined with rising construction costs. 'Climate-proofing' will become even more important in home construction, adding more costs, that may potentially be offset by lower insurance premiums. Insurance risk assessors consider numerous construction methods that offset risk.....such as a new fire/wind resistant roof, security systems that monitor for flooding, leaks, etc, using building materials resistant to wind, hail, etc, and of course, elevating homes.

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