Rising tide for flood insurance: Many Coloradans to pay more

Margaret Jackson

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By Margaret Jackson / NewsBreak Denver

Thousands of Colorado residents will pay more for flood insurance beginning April 1.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Risk Rating 2.0 will transform the National Flood Insurance Program, a move the agency says will bring more equitable pricing to flood insurance.

The changes will cost 57% of Colorado policyholders as much as $100 per month more, while 43% of policyholders will see a price decrease, according to an analysis by QuoteWizard by LendingTree LLC. In all, 19,983 of the state’s policyholders will be affected.

“Most people will see a relatively small increase,” said Nick VinZant, senior research analyst and insurance expert at QuoteWizard by LendingTree. “But there will be some people who see huge decreases — they were footing the bill for the beachfront mansions in the first place.”

Blame climate change

Risk Rating 2.0 uses five variables to determine a property’s flood risk:

  • Historical flood frequency
  • Flood type: river, rainfall, coastal surge, coastal erosion
  • Distance to water source
  • Property characteristics: elevation, soil
  • Cost to rebuild

Colorado counties where the most people will see at least an 80% cost increase include: Rio Grande, 80.2%; Chaffee, 86.2%; Garfield, 81.1%; Clear Creek, 90.1%; Gunnison, 88.3%; Archuleta, 89.2%; Huerfano, 87.3%; Pitkin, 80.5%; Eagle, 88.8%; Montezuma, 90%; and La Plata, 90.5%.

“A lot of these FEMA maps are 40 years old — this new change is keeping up with the reality of climate change,” VinZant said. “It doesn’t matter if people don’t believe in climate change. Your insurance company does.”

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I'm a Denver-based business writer with expertise in commercial and residential real estate as well as general business news.

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