NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee homeowners could soon pay more out of pocket for flood insurance.
FEMA recently changed the way it calculates flood risk. For some, this will mean paying less, but the vast majority of residents living in flood zones will pay more, according to LendingTree.
“We have seen a 163% increase in the last 20 years in the number of natural disasters, and a lot of those have been floods. So even if you don’t believe in climate change, that doesn’t matter, your insurance company does,” said Nick VinZant, Senior Research Analyst at QuoteWizard by LendingTree.
Although this new system will mean some will pay more, VinZant said it’s ultimately a more equitable way of determining rates.
“What FEMA is really doing is they are shifting the burden of flood insurance. Before, everybody kind of paid for everybody equally. Now people who have the riskiest properties are going to be paying the most. And if you’re not facing a lot of risk, you’ll be paying a lot less,” VinZant said.
Unfortunately, VinZant doesn’t see Tennessee flood insurance costs going down anytime soon. He added that Tennessee has seen four different billion dollar natural disasters over the past two decades.
Rick Arnold has lived in Tennessee his entire life and has seen many of these natural disasters firsthand. He’s seen three major flooding events at his aunt’s house in South Nashville.
“Water comes up real quick. You don’t have a whole lot of warning. So when it comes up, if it’s really going to go all the way, you don’t have much time,” Arnold said.
He believes Middle Tennessee’s rapid growth has also added to the problem.
“I still think it’s due to the development. A lot of it they don’t have the infrastructure of the storm water runoff to take away from it as quickly,” Arnold said.
Fortunately, Arold’s flood insurance hike only went up a few hundred dollars over the last year, however, he admits all added costs make a difference at the end of the day.
“It’s tough, you know we’re all pinching pennies and you can’t drive your car now without paying $5 a gallon for gas, and groceries are out of sight,” Arnold said. “It’s hard to swallow all that.”