Cost of flood insurance rises, will you be paying more?

By Kelly McCarthy

October 23, 2013 Updated Oct 23, 2013 at 12:36 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) The National Flood Insurance Program reports premiums for new policies will go up on average 10 percent after Oct. 1 and some homeowners in the Southern Tier are already starting to see those changes.

After two major floods and years of recovery, homeowners in the Twin Tiers should brace themselves for another big hit. The cost of flood insurance is now on the rise.

"If you're in a high hazard zone, in an area that was affected recently, 2006 to forward and had flood damage, you're going to expect to see an increase," said George Busch, directory of Mang/NBT Insurance Agency.

That's because the National Flood Insurance Program is trying to gain back some of the money it lost from recent national flooding disasters. Flood insurance is only type of insurance offered through the federal government.

"My insurance called and said we need you to get an elevation certificate in order to renew your insurance," said Cindy Short of Owego, "They kind of just sprung it on me and said you have to have it done before December 5th, so I have two months to get it done basically."

Short said it should cost about $500 to get the elevation certificate for her home, and she's still not sure if her entire premium will go up starting in January.

"If she had a policy in effect, yeah her premium should stay relatively steady going forward," Busch said, "The elevation certificate is just so that they have it on file to reconfirm what they know from the flood map."

Rates will rise mostly for homeowners looking for new coverage, changes in ownership and repeatedly damaged properties.

"The key issue is this, if you have flood insurance now, don't let it lapse, continue to pay it," Busch said. "Continue to renew it, comply with the conditions, and your rates shouldn't spike."

Short said she's still happy to be a homeowner with flood insurance.

"Right now I'm just gonna have to figure out how to get the $500 before Christmas and that's really like a burden," Short said, "But other than that I'll think we'll be alright."

Those who still have to get coverage are the ones facing a rising cost.

The changes to the National Flood Insurance Program are under The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act.

Experts said a spike in flood insurance costs could affect the housing market if mortgages require the insurance.