Area flooding has steadily garnered more attention from community leaders and experts | Jonathan Boncek file photo

Upcoming changes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are intended to fix existing inequities within the program, according to program leaders. But the changes, starting Oct. 1, will also hike costs for property owners in coastal areas.

“It’s not only the right thing to do, it aligns with the Biden administration’s call to action to deliver equitable programs for all,” said David Maurstad, deputy associate administrator for federal insurance and mitigation and senior executive of the NFIP, said in a briefing on the changes Friday. 

Costs are expected to decrease for the vast majority of policyholders nationwide under FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0 system. Roughly two-thirds can expect to pay less per month. And most of those who will be paying more will see increases relatively small increases, less than 10% of policyholders will see an increase of more than $10 per month.

The figures for individual states look a lot different from the average U.S. changes, according to analysis by QuoteWizard.

As many as 74% of policyholders in South Carolina will see a price increase, the study estimates, and 3% of those will pay an extra $20 or more per month. But 0.2% of policyholders can expect hundreds more per month in insurance costs.

The new system is based primarily on the cost of replacing a home, and in the Lowcountry, where home prices and floodwaters both continue to rise, so too will insurance premiums.

There are five main variables in total taken into consideration:

  • Historical flood frequency
  • Flood type, such as river, rainfall, coastal surge, etc.
  • Distance to water source
  • Property characteristics, such as elevation and soil composition
  • Cost to rebuild

According to the study, 208,559 South Carolina policies will be impacted.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.