TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Starting the week before Christmas, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development will let homeowners that live in special flood hazard areas, and have a mortgage through the Federal Housing Administration, get private flood insurance.

The rule was published Monday, expanding coverage options for Americans living in the special flood zones designated by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. It takes effect Dec. 21.

“Today, HUD is increasing the flood insurance choices available to individuals and families with FHA-insured loans in areas that FEMA has designated to be at special risk for flooding,” HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said. “Flood insurance is required to ensure families and individuals are prepared if disaster strikes. Increasing consumer options for this important protection is one way we are building more resilient communities in the face of climate change.”

To make it happen, HUD and FHA will ask mortgage lenders to give “detailed flood insurance coverage information when electronically submitting mortgages for FHA insurance on properties” in the special flood hazard zones.

Residents can see if their address is in a flood zone or special hazard flood area through FEMA’s National Flood Hazard map.

“We know borrowers face affordability challenges right now, yet a flood can be devastating to a family who is not properly insured,” Federal Housing Commissioner Julia Gordon said. “The choice to select a private flood insurance option may enable some borrowers to obtain policies that are less expensive or provide enhanced coverage.”

Expense is a topic that’s been under discussion for residents with flood insurance since early 2021. A revamped insurance formula, enacted through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, already added potential cost increases through Risk Rating 2.0.

Under the new calculation, the insurance costs were adjusted depending on where homes are, and the individual risk, rather than community-wide hazards.