President signs bill to put cap on flood insurance premiums - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

President signs bill to put cap on flood insurance premiums

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James Miller, Homeowner James Miller, Homeowner
Shakile Smith, State Farm Team Member Shakile Smith, State Farm Team Member
LEE COUNTY, GA (WALB) -

Good news for homeowners who thought they may have to pay thousands of dollars more per year for flood insurance. The increases were part of an overhaul designed to stabilize the troubled National Flood Insurance Program. A new law will prevent huge spikes.  

James Miller was worried if he could afford dramatically higher premiums for flood insurance on his home on Creekside Drive in Lee County. Now, he can relax because President Obama signed a bill Friday capping flood insurance increases at 18 percent a year.  

"I'm glad something like that happened because I was concerned about what was going to happen to me," said James Miller.  

State Farm Agent Shakile Smith says that's good news for homeowners.  

"What this cap does it allows a certain amount of premium and a premium that they'll know won't go over a certain amount," said Shakile Smith.  

Miller says he paid $900 last year on his flood insurance. He says the Flood of ‘94 caused $50,000 worth of damage to his home. He got some insurance money but had to dig into savings and borrowed thousands of dollars to fix the damage.  

"I had some flood insurance then,that was 25. That's how I got it fixed the first time, buying my materials and I spent all that on it," said Miller.    

Miller says he was fully covered during the Flood of ‘98. Smith says this cap makes premiums affordable for homeowners who live on the edge of flood zones or in areas where insurance may not be required but is a good idea.  

"By a scale they do based on an inch of their home being in a flood zone. So making it affordable for those customers is definitely a step in the right direction," said Smith.  

Smith would like to see more flood zone reevaluations done to determine who really needs flood insurance which he says could also make insurance more affordable.   

Congress made the initial changes to help cover a $24 billion shortfall in the National Flood Insurance Program created by a numerous catastrophic floods in recent years. Premium increases could be up to 25% on vacation homes and businesses.

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