VA BEACH - Virginia Beach will adopt new flood insurance rate maps by mid-2014.
The drafts of the maps are out for comment and review now.
The new maps will change how some properties are affected by floodplain regulations. Some homes and businesses previously not labeled in flood zones could be in them next year.
In 2012, Congress passed the Flood Insurance Reform Act to make the National Flood Insurance Program financially stronger. With more storms and sea levels rising, the cost of repairing homes keeps going up.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it's raising rates to reflect true flood risk, meaning the people who have to flood insurance will be paying more.
Beginning this October 1, property owners in areas that constantly flood will see a 25 percent hike each year until their payments reflects the true risk.
Homeowners in areas with a one percent annual chance of flooding can keep their rates until they sell their property. The new owner will have to pay the actual risk rate.
Officials say those who are affected will probably need an elevation certificate to determine their correct rate.
To minimize the increase, experts suggest:
-talk to your insurance agent
-consider a higher deductible to lower the premium
-consider building or rebuilding on higher ground to reduce your premium.
-consider adding vents to your home's foundation or breakaway walls