Indianapolis residents hoping for relief from new flood insurance rates
As thousands of Indianapolis homeowners learn how changes in the federal flood insurance program are affecting their rates, there's a new effort to change the law.
Liz Larner knew the Warfleigh house near the White River was in a flood plain. She knew they'd need flood insurance even though there'd never been a FEMA claim.
"This was the last house we looked at. I turned to my husband and said, 'This is my dream home. Let's buy it!'" she said. "We moved in and a couple of weeks ago got a call from our insurance agent saying our premiums had gone from $2,095 to $6,500."
Larner said she was speechless. "I felt like my dream home had turned into the money pit," she said.
Larner was among the thousands of homeowners caught off-guard by a new law meant to phase out federal flood insurance subsidies, which have put FEMA billions in debt. While the law effects policies bought after July 6, 2012, the new rates weren't available until Oct. 1st of this year.
"Never in a million years would we have bought the house if we knew it was $6,500," said Larner.
That raises another huge concern.
"Looking around the neighborhood and the number of houses for sale, what if we had to sell this one?" she said.
John Ward is worried too. He rents out several houses in the neighborhood, and under the law, premiums on rentals are set to go up 25 percent a year until they reach market rate.
"It'd crush me. It'd wipe me out, end of statement," said Ward.
There is some hope. Monday brought word of a bipartisan deal to delay the changes up to four years until an affordability study is done.
We talked to Larner shortly after she heard the news.
"I'm just absolutely thrilled and huge sigh of relief!" she said.
Any changes in the law need to be approved by Congress and some are already saying keep the law as is. With FEMA billions in debt and climbing, they say something needs to be done.