More than half of Dorchester County is at risk from natural elements that can cause destructive flooding in both coastal and inland areas. Unfortunately, most homeowners insurance policies exclude flood damage and the effects of rising water levels due to improper drainage and wind-driven rain. But government flood insurance is available to all owners and renters of insurable properties in Dorchester County, regardless of whether your flood risk is high or low. And, according to Federal Emergency Management Agencythat show just got better.
Dorchester County is well acquainted with major storms, with Hurricanes Isabel and Irene and Superstorm Sandy causing local flooding this century. What FEMA explains, people live in one of four flood zones, with Zone A being high risk (a one percent annual chance of flooding). In this county, Zone A includes directly along the choptank river from Caroline County to north and west of Cambridge. the neck district, taylors island, Blackwater National Wildlife Refugesouth Vienna Y Hoopers Island They are also in Zone A.
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that floods are the most common natural disaster in the U.S, and it is the most expensive in terms of lives and dollars. Hurricanes have caused above-average flooding in the last four years, and the same is expected in 2022. FEMA says the best way to lessen the impact of flood damage on your home or business is with flood insurance, which is why they offer the National Flood Insurance Program.
However, while the NFIP has provided affordable insurance for decades, there has been a disparity in the price of coverage. Owners of lower-value homes have been paying more than their fair share in premiums, while those with higher-value homes have been paying less. But now, after 50 years, FEMA has updated its methodology with Risk Rating 2.0 and promises that premiums will be more equitable in the future.
Using Risk Rating 2.0, FEMA incorporates more flood risk variables into its cost calculations: flood frequency, flood types, distance to water, elevation, and rebuilding costs. Therefore, they can establish fair rates that will decrease and increase equally. In the first year of Risk Rating 2.0, premiums are estimated to decrease for 69.7% of all policies in Dorchester County, while 29.9% will see an increase equal to $0-$10 per month.
Not everything will change, as FEMA will continue to maintain existing legal requirements. For example, rates on most policies cannot increase more than 18% per year. And the discounts will still apply to policies in communities that participate in the Community Rating System, a voluntary program that incentivizes efforts that reduce a locality’s flood risks beyond the minimum NFIP requirements. Dorchester County has participated in the program since 2019.
Private carriers like Smart Flood Insurance Inc. They will say that their policies have advantages over the NFIP. For example, they offer broader coverage and your limit is as high as $5 millionwhile the NFIP is $250,000. But they also admit that private carriers are not available in all areas, have questionable longevity, may turn away an applicant and may not renew a policy. The NFIP, on the other hand, is available in all participating communities, will not refuse to accept an applicant, and will never stop renewing.
the National Association of Realtors Supports Risk Rating 2.0 because it prices flood insurance for each home individually rather than based on the flood zone the home is in, and because it reveals the risk and cost of insuring a property up front to the homeowner. or the tenant can make better informed decisions. This will be especially important for residents and business owners in Dorchester County, where 21% of properties currently have more than a 26% chance of feeling the effects of flooding within 30 years. That stat will only get worse, promise RiskFactor.comhow a changing environment (new weather patterns, stronger storms, rising sea levels) affects even more properties in the community.
What FEMA says, “Buying flood insurance is the first line of defense against flood damage and a step toward faster recovery after a flood.”
To learn more, visit the “Risk Rating 2.0: Equity in Action” section at FEMA.gov.