Watertown Charter Township is a National Flood Insurance Program participating community. Multiple properties within the township, predominantly along the Looking Glass River, are in the floodplain and have flood insurance. On May 3, 2011, Watertown Township adopted an ordinance which updated the FEMA floodplain maps used to determine whether flood insurance is required for your property. In some cases, properties may have seen a change in their floodplain status.
If your status changed as a result of this updated mapping and structures on your property are now considered to be in the floodplain, you probably already received a notification from your mortgage company that flood insurance is now required. However, if you do not have a mortgage on your property, you likely did not receive any notice of this change in status. If your property has Looking Glass River frontage, and you own your home, you may wish to confirm your floodplain status before you consider listing your home on the market. In addition, if you think that structures on your property are out of the floodplain, you can challenge your floodplain status. Please contact the office with any questions on this matter.
On July 6, 2012, the U.S. Congress passed the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Act). The Act calls on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies to make a number of changes to the way the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is run. Some of these changes have already been put in place, and others will be implemented in the coming months. Key provisions of the legislation will require the NFIP to raise rates to reflect true flood risk, make the program more financially stable, and change how Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) updates impact policyholders. The changes will mean premium rate increase for some but not all policyholders over time.
The new law encourages program financial stability by eliminating some artificially low rates and discounts. Most flood insurance rates will now move to reflect full risk, and flood insurance rates will rise on some policies. Actions such as buying a property, allowing a policy to lapse, or purchasing a new policy can trigger rate changes. Fortunately, there are some actions you can take to minimize the effect of these increases.
Whether or not your rates increase, it may be possible to lower your flood insurance costs. You should talk to your insurance agent about specific insurance options available to you. Please reference the Fact Sheet, Important Questions for Your Insurance Agent, which you may find useful when you meet with your agent. Make sure you discuss deductibles, content coverage and structural coverage, and ask for an estimate for all of the options.
Your agent may recommend obtaining an elevation certificate. The elevation certificate is an important document used to determine the correct rating for your structure. A licensed surveyor or registered engineer will collect elevation data on your specific structure, which can be used to re-rate the policy. Please reference the Fact Sheet, Homeowner’s Guide to Elevation Certificates for more information.
Additionally, elevating, rebuilding or altering your structure can lower flood risk and may reduce premiums. This includes building or rebuilding structures to higher elevations, adding flood vents, or filling in lower levels of a structure. Projects such as these require local permits, but may result in lower insurance premiums, or possibly removal from the floodplain. These types of projects should be discussed with Andrea Polverento, Floodplain Administrator, at (517) 626-6593 x208 or Jeff Cranson, Building Official, at (517) 622-8822.
Andrea Polverento, Floodplain Administrator
Watertown Charter Township