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Idahoan’s Facing Higher Flood Insurance Costs

djperry, Thinkstock

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — About 1,400 flood insurance policies in Idaho subsidized by the government are facing hefty premium increases despite a congressional fix intended to limit the worse of the rate hikes.

More than a million policyholders across the nation will be required to pay higher annual premiums as the federal government cuts subsidies in an effort to cover the National Flood Insurance Program’s more than $24 billion deficit brought about by the discounts and a series of catastrophic storms. Coastal states will bear the largest burden, but in Idaho and other landlocked states, older communities along rivers will be particularly affected. President Barack Obama signed a law Friday putting the brakes on a 2012 overhaul that based the cost of premiums on the true risk of flooding.

But while the new law offers instant relief for homeowners hit by premiums that soared by thousands of dollars overnight, for many the reprieve is temporary. Owners of single-family, primary residences with subsidized flood insurance policies could be hit with increases of up to 18 percent compounded annually until they switch to a risk-based rate.

Those with such policies on businesses and second homes will see their rates rise 25 percent each year. An Associated Press analysis of Federal Emergency Management Agency data found that nearly 1,450 policies in Idaho received discounts at the end of 2012, the most recent year records were available.

Of those, 440 face 25 percent increases, and more than 1,000 faced 18 percent hikes. Idaho has received a total of $5.5 million in payments from more than 700 claims since the flood program started in the 1960s. Yet residents of the state paid $4.9 million in premiums just during 2013, meaning Idaho was not a significant drain on the federal program.

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