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The Real Deal: Flood Maps Still Not Final

ALTAMONT – Flood insurance, after tropical storm Irene and hurricane Sandy, is something a lot of homeowners talk about.  Anyone in a designated flood zone, is most likely required to have flood insurance but with FEMA and the NYS DEC redrawing flood maps across New York State, your designation may change. 

When we bought the house, everything was all set until we went to sign the papers and they said, you gotta have flood insurance,” says Bob Rice.  He has owned his home along Township Road in Altamont for nearly a decade and while there is a small creek in the back yard, he says the property has never flooded. Still, because it is in a designated flood zone according to FEMA, he has had to pay about $900 per year for flood insurance.   I feel like it's Christmas for them, I just keep giving them money and they just keep using it wherever else they need it... I don't like it,” Rice says. 

When Rice heard the Albany County maps were being re-drawn, he called to see if any changes were being made to the area where his home is and was happy to learn his home and garage had been removed from the flood zone.  The problem?  Although the maps were released in March of 2012, they are still considered preliminary.  They likely won’t become final for at least another year and until FEMA stamps them as final, they will not be used for insurance rating purposes by lenders.  “So, I have to pay for something for two years that I don’t really need after all these years, it’s crazy,” Rice says.   

Most of the new maps locally are preliminary but if you haven’t looked to see if there are any changes to your property, now is the time to do it.  If you live in Albany County, you only have until July 2nd to submit a comment for FEMA/DEC consideration. 

In other upstate counties, FEMA has taken two to three years to finalize maps.   It’s been a small relief for those who have property being added to the flood zone but for Rice, it’s frustrating especially since flood insurance premiums have been on the rise over the past few years and are expected to double over the next three years. 

To check and see if your property is impacted by any changes:
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