Oahu’s New Flood Maps Take Effect

We were warned, and now it’s upon us…Effective November 5, 2014, the City and County of Honolulu has 12 updated flood zone maps that all Oahu homeowners and potential homebuyers should be aware of. The main impact to affected owners will likely be in the form of mandatory flood insurance or higher flood insurance premiums.

Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968 to provide homeowners the option of buying insurance from the U.S. government to mitigate some of their flood risks. This basically resulted in government subsidies for those owners in high-risk flood zone areas.

Fast forward to the past 10 years, where the U.S. was hit with Hurricane Katrina, Super Storm Sandy, and many other disastrous events where devastating flooding occurred throughout the country. The cost to the U.S. in Federal aid has put the government in greater debt. The recent laws and policies implemented to address the growing deficit places the burden back onto the property owners to bear more of the costs for their flood insurance.

In a series of major changes to the NFIP, FEMA has begun to revise the U.S. flood maps. They are rezoning the areas that potentially have the highest risks for flooding. In addition to their insurance premiums increasing, it may affect future building permit requirements.

Is Your Home Affected By the Changes?

To find out whether your home is affected by the changes, visit FEMA’s Map Service Center or Hawaii’s Flood Hazard Assessment Tool. Also, consult your insurance company or insurance agent, or contact me.

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