WASHINGTON – Don’t expect a lapse – not yet anyway – in the National Flood Insurance Program, the country’s largest flood insurer. The program has been set to expire on Sept. 30, but the U.S. Senate recently passed an extension that would keep the program afloat until Nov. 21. The House had previously passed the extension.
The bill is expected to be signed by President Donald Trump.
This extension will mark the 13th time the program – which is billions of dollars in debt – has been rescued by lawmakers with extensions. The NFIP provides flood insurance coverage to 22,000 communities nationwide and protects property owners against loss from flooding, the most common and costly natural disaster in the U.S.
Federal law requires the purchase of flood insurance for a federally backed mortgage in special flood hazard areas designated by FEMA. Private flood insurance is also available in many high-risk areas, but the NFIP may be the only option for some homeowners.
Any lapse in NFIP funding could jeopardize up to 40,000 home sales a month, the National Association of Realtors® has warned in the past. NAR has long called on long-term reforms to the program. NAR supports reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program, including calls to strengthen flood mapping and mitigation and the development of more private-market flood insurance options.
Meteorologists warn that rising sea levels and increasingly powerful storms will continue to threaten more areas with flooding.