There is so much confusion regarding flood insurance and flood zones. It’s no wonder, though, as there has been so much change that it is nearly impossible to keep up on it all, at least for long.

First, the flood maps are being (or have been but not all published yet) redrawn. If that isn’t going to be enough of a challenge to work through, the laws have changed – and changed again – in the past couple of years.

In the beginning of flood zones, there were already some houses built. So, the wisdom of the day decided that those houses should not have to worry about the new rules, since they are already built. The grandfather clause.

So, for all these years, those houses, built early 1980’s and earlier, would be “subsidized”. Their flood insurance would not be based on the elevation like the newer houses would be. Those houses were built in accordance with the FEMA requirements in mind. The newer home owners understood that elevation was important in FEMA Flood Hazard zones.

In 2013 a law became effective. The law stated that there would be no more subsidies for those houses built prior to early 1980’s (the exact year is county specific). That meant that all these houses needed to obtain elevation certificates (about $125-150) and have their insurance increase to the appropriate cost. But, all other houses build after that time, would see no change. 

Following a tremendous uproar, that law was amended to read that the increase would be gradual and beginning once there was a new owner. I have, however, learned that at least some of the insurance companies are raising their rates before the law mandates it.

So, at first, it was only those houses that were built before the early 1980’s. But now, since new flood maps have been drawn, they are all subject to change. So far I have heard that not too much change has been seen by those built post early 1980’s, but do understand you cannot necessarily look at yesterday’s zone as accurate today.