ALEXANDRIA, Va. — For the first time in years, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is redrawing flood zone maps, which could impact how much you pay for flood insurance.
Changes start for new policy holders on Friday, Oct. 1, and could cost or save you up to $100 a month.
The updates only affect people with federally-backed insurance policies. Those who have government-backed mortgages in a high risk flood area are required to have flood insurance.
WUSA 9's Verify team confirmed earlier this year that most homeowner's insurance policies do not include flood damage.
However, the new maps could mean you'll be required to purchase the insurance.
For example, 20% of Alexandria will now be considered a flood zone.
“This is really FEMA adjusting, trying to make things more equitable, where people are paying what they should be paying, and adjusting for the realities of climate change as we move forward," Senior Research Analyst with QuoteWizard by LendingTree, Nick VanZant said.
FEMA is now taking into consideration flood frequency, multiple flood types, distance to a water source, and factors like land elevation to calculate risk.
“When FEMA talks about having more equitable flood insurance, what they're talking about is the idea that the person who lives in downtown Washington D.C., shouldn't be footing the bill, for the person who has a beachfront mansion somewhere else," VanZant said.
His team analyzed FEMA's data to estimate how different states and cities will be impacted by the changes:
Virginia: 55% will see an increase in costs
Maryland: 61% will see a decrease in costs
D.C.: 72% will see a decrease in costs
Still, VanZant said the majority of these changes will be less than $20 a month.
“The problem is these 100-year floods are now happening every five, every 10 years, every year in some cases, and the flood insurance program is broken,” VanZant said.
Multiple independent scientists have said that FEMA's fix is still underestimating risk, so prepare for the worst.
Changes for existing policy holders will come in April 2022.
You can search your zip code to see how your home is impacted here on FEMA's website.