New floodplain maps in Harris County will mean higher insurance rates for some residents adn business owners, but not if they buy new flood coverage within the next six months. That’s the word from officials with FEMA and the Harris County Flood Control District. Houston Public Radio’s Jack Williams reports.
Today FEMA released what’s known as a Letter of Final Determination, which begins a six-month window for residents and business owners to “grandfather” their current floodplain status and save money on premiums once those properties officially fall into the higher-risk category. This is the Flood Control District’s Heather Saucier.
“This is going to benefit people who, according to the new maps, are in a higher risk flood zone than according to the old maps. We’re not trying to say that they were once not at risk, we’re saying they probably always have been at risk it’s just the new maps now finally show that because they were mapped using better technology.”
The new floodplain maps become official June 18th of this year. Officials estimate about 10,000 structures will be added to the floodplain with the new maps. Large portions of the city of Bellaire that weren’t in the higher risk areas under the old maps are included in the new ones. Saucier says regardless of floodplain status, flood insurance is a good idea.
“There are so many other ways not depicted on the floodplain maps by which people can flood, so we recommend that everybody in Harris County have flood insurance simply because it is the best way to recover financially from a flood.”
Flood insurance is sold by the government, not by insurance companies and is typically very affordable. You can see the new maps and find out whether your property or business falls into the new category through a link on our website, KUHF.org.