New Flood Maps Mean More Flood Insurance For Some

Dec 18, 2014

Illinois is updating some of its flood maps: and that means some homeowners will need to buy flood insurance for the first time.

Winnebago County is one of the places getting a flood map makeover: The preliminary maps use more and better data. They were the center of an open house in Rockford Wednesday: residents could talk with state and federal experts about how the new Flood Insurance Rate Maps will affect them.

Hung-Hsueh Wang owns a rental house in Rockford: she’ll have to buy flood insurance for the first time, under the map change. She says city officials have told her insurance could cost as little as $10 a month…but she sees $10 as the difference between eating and not eating for some people. That’s why they are living in inexpensive housing within a flood plain.

Greg Byard is with the State Water Survey. He says the new maps are important for long-term planning.        

Beth Grobe attended the meeting and said she saw some errors in the new maps already. She owns a surveying company that specializes in getting land exempted from flood zone designation. Grobe says she’s in favor of insurance for properties that are truly in danger of flooding, but sometimes, mistakes are made. That could cost a homeowner thousands per year throughout the life of the mortgage...plus, she’s seen closings fall through because of flood maps.

There’s a 30 day comment period, and new maps will be in effect in early 2016. County-by-county flood maps are available on line at illinoisfloodmaps.org.