Rising flood insurance costs worry property owners

Subsidized rates in national flood insurance pool end Tuesday

MIAMI – Some South Floridians worry about losing their homes when subsidized rates in the national flood insurance pool end Tuesday.

That means some homeowners will see double and triple-digit percent hikes in premiums.

"The fear is that we'll be priced out of our house and we worked really hard to get into this house," said Dominique Mayorga, who lives in an east Hollywood neighborhood.

"Even when we asked our agent, I think it's hard to get answers from them as well. I don't think they know either," added her husband, Alex Mayorga.

The flood insurance pool, launched in the 1960s to make coverage affordable in high-risk areas, took such a financial hit after Hurricane Katrina and Sandy that Congress decided to bring property owners and bills up to speed on Oct. 1.

"The rates they pay on their premiums reflect the actual risk faced by their property," said Bryan Koon, the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. "There are a great number of people in the state who won't be impacted at all, but there some whose rates could increase fairly significantly. People in the state depends on property, primary residence or secondary residence, at what level their house is."

"I think a lot of people in the neighborhood would be priced out, and they wouldn't buy," said Dominique Mayorga. "They would have to leave or they wouldn't buy here. There wouldn't be families moving in here."

Of the 6 million policies in the national pool, one-third are in Florida, and 13 percent of property owners in Miami-Dade County and 5 percent in Broward County will see rate hikes.

Map: Total number of subsidized policies by state and county (as of 12/31/12)