TELLAHASSY – In case you’re already crushed by high insurance premiums, here’s more bad news: Floridians will pay way too much for flood insurance.
Under new federal estimates released this week, Florida residents will see their federal flood insurance premiums double, on average, in the coming years.
For homeowners in Pinellas County, premiums for the National Flood Insurance Program are expected to increase 112%, from $1,537 to $3,257. Hillsborough County homeowners should prepare for a 125% increase, from $1,132 to $2,549.
There’s a bit of good news: rate increases of 18% annually are set for renewal policyholders. And for some, their premiums will go down.
The increases are part of a new flood insurance methodology by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the flood insurance program.
For decades, the program’s methodology for calculating premiums has been unfair, federal officials say, resulting in owners of low-cost homes subsidizing higher-cost homes.
The new methodology, known as Hazard Rating 2.0, includes more flood variables and better reflects a property’s actual flood risk, according to FEMA. Policies that have been renewed since April 1 have already migrated to the new methodology.
“This newer system means that low-cost homes will no longer absorb the costs of repairing more expensive homes as floods become more frequent and severe,” David Morstad, senior executive director of the National Flood Insurance Program, wrote in the Tampa Bay Times in 2021. “. .
The data shows that about 15% of homeowners in Pinellas and Hillsboro counties will see their insurance premiums decrease or not change. Most (62%) in Hillsborough County will see increases of $10 or less per month. About 46% of Pinellas will see increases of $10 or less per month.
In Pasco County, 23% will see premiums drop or not change. On average, premiums in the province will increase by 60%.
Florida Senators criticized the new ranking methodology. Senator Marco Rubio tried to delay its implementation. Sen. Rick Scott said he has introduced legislation to allow more companies to offer flood insurance and require FEMA to disclose its models and data used to calculate flood risk and insurance premiums.
Scott said in a statement Wednesday that the new rating system is “unsustainable and unaffordable for Florida families.” Right now, Florida pays more into the flood insurance system than it is being paid out, he said.
“It just doesn’t make sense for residents of a donor country to see their premiums increased,” Scott said, adding that he would reintroduce the legislation.
For the nearly 600,000 Floridians with single-family homes covered by federal flood insurance—more than any state—new methodology project rates rose 104% on average, from $888 to $1,808.
Two of the 10 Tampa Bay zip codes in Florida experience the highest increases.
In ZIP Code 33621, which includes MacDill Air Force Base, the roughly 560 homeowners could see a 406% increase, from $612 to $3,093.
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The 845 homeowners in the 33715 ZIP Code, which includes Tierra Verde, could see a 413% increase, from $1,170 to $6,003.
Florida residents already pay the highest homeowners insurance premiums in the country. Car insurance premiums are consistently in the top five most expensive in the country.
New flood premiums can have a significant impact on homeowners through state-run citizens’ property insurance policies. Last year, state lawmakers required all homeowners with citizen policies to also have flood insurance by 2027.
Anyone seeking a new flood insurance policy would have to immediately pay premiums for a higher risk rating of 2.0.
Times staff writer Ian Hodgson contributed to this report.