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How will FEMA's new flood zone maps affect area homeowners?

Published: Jul. 16, 2018 at 10:08 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 17, 2018 at 11:47 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency's new flood zone maps will go into effect in August, and that could affect some area homeowners' insurance rates.

Dean Exline with GeoInnovation, PC - Consulting Surveyors and Trainers joined WECT's Jon Evans for Monday afternoon's News Now to discuss the flood maps and elevation certificates.

"It depends on what part of the county you're in as far as how much it changes," Exline said. "Some places where flood elevations will be higher, some of them are considerable, two, four, five feet in some places."

Residents who live along the intracoastal waterway are likely to see changes. Their proximity to incoming ocean water plays a big role in how the flood zone maps are drawn as well as the elevation certificates, which may need to be updated even if a homeowner had one done when they purchased their house.

Exline said increases in insurance rates are possible with these changes and that if homeowners have questions about where their houses stand, they can call him.

"I would have to assume it would mean a higher insurance rate for their flood insurance," Exline said. "From our perspective, we show the new elevation and how it affects their house. Their house may have been built to the original, say elevation 10 for instance, and now if it's an elevation 12 or 14, it could be affected because now the structure itself is into the actual flood elevation shows on the maps.

"I have talked to a number of people who have said the numbers have gone up a lot."

Exline said FEMA updates the elevation certificates periodically and that, in general, insurance companies contact the insured to let them know if they need to take action.

"If they have a mortgage on the property, most likely they will be notified, especially if you're close to the intracoastal or a creek ofr something like that," Exline said.

In addition to people living in intracoastal areas, Exline said some areas in North Chase and other low-lying ares will have dramatic changes in flood zone mapping.

He added FEMA's new maps indicate flood zones are more spread out, meaning they will affect more people.

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