Homeowners could have more flood insurance options than the federally-subsidized national program under a measure unanimously passed by the Florida Senate Wednesday designed to encourage private insurance companies into the market.
The bill, SB 542 by Sen. Jeff Brandes, creates an alternative to the federal National Flood Insurance Program by authorizing private companies to write the insurance that had previously only been available through the federally-subsidized program.
The federal program has undergone major reforms in the last year that have sparked hefty premium increases for homeowners in flood-prone areas and with older homes, whose premiums had traditionally been subsidized. The outcry over the giant cost increases prompted Congress to enact a stop-gap measure that delays the most expensive changes to the Bigger-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, but does not repeal them. The hefty rate increases will be phased in over time.
Under the Senate plan, homeowners could potentially save money by buying less insurance than is allowed under the federal program, such as insuring their property only for the outstanding value of their mortgage, the property’s replacement cost or the actual cash value of the property. The current limits under the federal program are $250,000 for a home and $100,000 for personal property.
The bill also authorizes insurance companies to offer various deductible amounts and to give homeowners more options for covering contents, living expenses, secondary structures, etc.