Flood insurance rates could spike by 25 percent for some Galveston residents


People in Galveston already pay thousands for insurance between home owners, windstorm and flood insurance it can be thousands of dollars a year and now they will be even paying more.

This may be what comes to mind when you think of Galveston Island homes, but most are like John Brown Jr.'s. And the insurance bill for these homes is already quite steep.

"I am paying $4,000 for windstorm, $3,500 for flood and $1,100 for fire and my homeowners policy," Brown said.

Brown is facing an increase in those costs thanks to changes in the National Flood Insurance Program that were approved last year by Congress.

The biggest change is subsidies that helped defer costs for older homes are going away. This year, it translates to a 20 to 25 percent rate hike this year for some.

"Depending on if it is a primary residence or a business, it could be 20 percent a year or 25 percent a year to where it is the full rate. So it could be quite large," Galveston insurance agent Hal Rochkind said.

The increases are just beginning. Over the next few years, the subsidies disappear completely.

At the same time new flood maps will place entire neighborhoods in a higher risk category which will add to the financial burden of paying for flood insurance throughout our area.

Here on the Island, local officials are trying to get those new maps changed so the costs do not force people to move.

"We got to have another solution if you are going to take away subsidies and grandfathering because none of these communities will be here," Galveston City Council member Terrilyn Tarlton said.

Insurance agents say right now the biggest impact is being felt by those buying homes near the coast as well as coastal businesses and rental properties, but as subsidies end, the higher rates will be seen by almost everyone living along the coast.

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