National Flood Insurance Program Likely to Lapse Again

Dennis Norman

Talk about the housing market not being able to catch a break….it seems every time something positive happens to give us a little encouragement, something else pops up to give the market another black eye. Here we are less than a month after the home-buyer tax credit deadline has passed and we are seeing reports of home prices dropping again as well as the volume of sales, and now, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is set to expire on May 31st. Of course Congress could extend the program prior to the expiration, but the word I hear from the National Association of REALTORS is that is not going to happen.

So what happens after May 31st?

The NFIP will no longer have the authority to issue new flood insurance policies nor renew existing policies until Congress reauthorizes the program. This will not affect existing policies however, nor policies purchased prior to the May 31st expiration. Obviously for sellers with homes in flood plains, this will not help them sell their homes, and for those homeowners that have existing flood insurance policies expiring (particularly with hurricane season approaching) it’s probably going to put them a little on edge.

There is some help and alternatives…

FEMA will allow buyers to assume existing flood insurance policies on homes they are buying, so if you are purchasing a home in a flood plain and the current homeowner has flood insurance you can assume it….now, if the expiration date of the policy is not far off that may make a buyer hesitate for fear that their insurance could lapse before Congress takes care of things.

An alternative is to purchase private flood insurance from a company such as Lloyd’s of London, Chubb or AIG….get ready for premium shock though as flood, when not subsidized through a government program like NFIP, is expensive.

Hopefully when Congress gets back to work after the Memorial Day break they will get the program extended before too much time lapses.

For more information you can check out the following web sites:

FEMA

FHA

Fannie Mae

Freddie Mac

VA

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