Flooded street and buildings

Many American homeowners in flood-prone areas are facing more expensive insurance premiums.

Filer: “Particularly post-Katrina and post-Sandy, now, insurers are going back in and reevaluating the risk and that’s why we’re starting to see the increases in insurance.”

That’s Larry Filer with the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency at Old Dominion University.

He says the payouts required after huge storms have strained the National Flood Insurance Program, so premiums are going up, especially for homes in flood zones.

Filer: “This is all happening and we don’t even really have the sea-level rise effects in here yet. So sea-level rise is a game-changer for a lot of this.”

As sea levels rise, flooding is likely to get much worse, and costs to protect and repair coastal homes will increase.

For the homes at greatest risk, insurance could become unaffordable, and cities may face hard decisions about how to sustain their shoreline communities, and what to do when the cost is too high.

Filer: “The biggest fear and the biggest concern is that you wake up one day and you realize in your city that you have a large swath of properties that are uninsurable.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Bruce Lieberman, a long-time journalist, has covered climate change science, policy, and politics for nearly two decades. A newspaper reporter for 20 years, Bruce worked for The San Diego Union-Tribune...