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New Flood Plain Forces Residents to Buy Flood Insurance

Some residents received a letter from their mortgage companies telling them they need to buy flood insurance or it will be purchased for them.

The newly mapped Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood plain has caused an outcry among residents surrounding the Frank and Poet Drain.

New Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), that went into effect in February, have increased in size significantly and include more properties than ever before.

Residents added to the flood plain received letters from their mortgage companies telling them they must buy flood insurance or insurance would be purchased for them at residents' own expense.

Additional insurance costs could be a high as $100 per month according to Terry Avery, a resident who has recently been added to the flood plain.

"This additional cost could be enough to cause some property owners to abandon their homes," Avery said at last Monday's Trenton City Council meeting.

Residents were given a deadline of 40 days to purchase flood insurance after receiving the letter and City Engineer William Hogan said waiting too long could be far more costly than purchasing insurance on their own.

"If they impose the forced insurance on you it is at a much higher cost than what you could obtain on your own," Hogan said.

Though Hogan said he isn't sure just how many homes were affected by the new FIRMs, he said he and his department are working hard to find that out.

Hogan added there were previously about 180 homes in the flood plain and now the number is significantly larger.

Hogan said residents newly affected by the FIRMs could do two things after receiving a letter:

  1. Purchase insurance on your own. Don't wait and have it imposed upon you. Find the best rate possible in order to save a maximum amount of money.
  2. Call your mortgage company and ask if challenging the new FIRMs can help you avoid keeping the insurance, indefinitely. Residents can challenge the new flood plain by hiring a surveyor and finding out if the property's elevation is resistant to flooding. If the elevation number is high enough, residents may not need to buy additional insurance. However, mortgage companies could still impose flood insurance upon residents even after successfully proving the property has a high enough elevation to avoid flooding.

Residents who succesfully challenge the new FIRMs and have already purchased insurance may be entitled to a refund according to Hogan.

The flood plain near Harrison Avenue usually fills up about five to six times per year on average according to Hogan. When flooded, and become inaccessible to residents.

Hogan said residents who received a letter could purchase insurance during a two-year grace period at a greatly reduced rate because they had not previously been in the flood plain.

Only residents who still owe on their mortgages and whose homes are now in the new FIRMs flood plain surrounding the Frank and Poet Drain must buy flood insurance.

Homeowners who do not have mortgages did not receive letters and are not being forced to purchase additional insurance. Additionally, homeowners who were already in the flood plain and already have flood insurance are not being forced to purchase additional insurance.

Hogan said he put together a packet of information regarding the FIRMs available at the Trenton Department of Engineering.

An extensive list of insurance providers can be found in the Trenton Patch directory.

To find out if your house is in the new FEMA FIRMs flood plain go to the FEMA Map Service Center website and enter your address.

For more information call or visit the Trenton Department of Engineering, 734-675-8251, located on the second floor of .

Melanie Stpeter-Hill March 26, 2012 at 12:21 PM
What FEMA and mortgage companies neglect to tell you, is that if your in flood zone "A" or "V" your not required to purchase flood insurance. Double check before you purchase. Saved us slot if money!
Melanie Stpeter-Hill March 26, 2012 at 12:27 PM
A lot of*
Nate Stemen (Editor) March 26, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Do you already have flood insurance? Did you receive a letter? Tell us your thoughts!
Judi Blueye March 27, 2012 at 01:27 AM
I have had it in Woodhaven since I bought my house...when I first bought my house I had a $5000 deductible which lowered the price and no one cared. Unfortunately when Wells Fargo bought my mortgage they insisted that my deductible be no more than $1000. they also keep bumping up the minimum acceptable amount I can have my homeowners insurance for, despite that the amount I owe and the amount my house is worth keeps going down. I now have to have homeowners insurance that is roughly 3x what my house is worth. I pay as much on insurance as I do on principle.
michelle April 12, 2012 at 02:20 PM
I just got the letter from my mortage company two days ago telling me to get insurance or I will get their imposed plan for $2000/yr. It is ridiculous. I called AAA and they told me they could not do better that the $2000 because they don't directly offer it; they go through an affiliate. I was told my AAA they have been getting a lot more calls lately so maybe (like me) some of those letters went out more recently. Does anyone have a good recommendation for insurance? They also want $200k covered when my house is worth less than $100k now. I know it is replacement cost of the house and not the actual sale value. I just need a break. I AM about ready to walk from my house. Things keep getting so bad that I am about ready to deal with bad credit for a while. I'm getting so fed up. Anyway, if someone knows of a decent rate I could really use the help. I don't want to make more phone calls then I have to. I also need the $1000 or less deductible like Judi mentioned. Thank you.
michelle April 24, 2012 at 01:18 PM
As an update, my friend's mother was able to find an insurance policy for around $350/yr (vs the $2000/yr my mortgage company offered). She did warn it would go up in two years. We get a two year break since they just made the change. Even so, she said it would be closer to $900 which is still a big difference. Part of the cost difference is due to that I only went with enough coverage to cover a little above what I owe on my mortgage. So my coverage is $150,000 + $60,000 for personal belongings. The deductible is $1000. If anyone needs help let me know and I can get you in touch with her.
Julie May 15, 2012 at 02:28 AM
Hi Michelle, Can you please give me the information about where your friends mother got her insurance? I would like to contact them. thanks! juliekayk@aol.com
Sharon February 28, 2014 at 12:50 PM
The new rates for flood insurance in Trenton is ridiculous. Anyone else having this problem?? I will not stay here if a revision is not done very soon! Can anyone help me??

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