Tampa Bay realtors worry about flood insurance rate hike - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa Bay realtors worry about flood insurance rate hike

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CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) -

Just as sales are starting to rebound, some Tampa Bay realtors worry skyrocketing flood insurance rates could flood the housing market.

"You're gonna have the sellers that can't afford their insurance in a year or two and all of the sudden they have to sell their property," explained realtor Martha Thorn. "It's gonna create problems with appraisals and if that happens, that will definitely bring values down."

The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act is set to start Oct. 1. The law, which passed last year, ends the federal subsidies for flood insurance many homeowners have relied on for decades. Homeowners in certain low-lying areas could see their rates gradually increase.  Other homeowners, who recently purchased older homes, could see their rates immediately double, triple, or increase even more than that.

Related story: 07/17/2013 Flood insurances rates could increase

"Most people have mortgages on their homes, so they're not going to be able to drop their coverage, but they're not going to be able to afford their premiums," said insurance sales advisor Jennifer Rabon of Connelly, Carlisle, Fields and Nichols. "It's completely unaffordable."

Many are calling on Congress to act.

Related story: 07/31/2013 Flood insurances changes run into resistance

"There are a lot of petitions going around right now that are being signed by homeowners, insurance agents, real estate agents," explained Rabon.

The US House of Representatives recently voted to delay implementation of the new law. The Senate is expected to take a vote soon.

For information about your personal flood insurance rates, call your insurance agent or visit FEMA's information page.

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