NATIONWIDE — On Sept. 14, U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria, who represents Virginia’s 2nd District, helped introduce a bipartisan bill that would make sure homebuyers have access to a property’s flooding history before they buy the home.
The Flood History Information Act, which is cosponsored by Reps. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY-02) and Madeleine Dean (D-PA-04), would require the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) to start a database of homes that have been damaged by floods.
Prospective homeowners and insurance companies would have access to the location of the insured property, the coverage amount, the dates of loss and the claim amounts.
FEMA will also have to let the homebuyer know if they will have to buy flood insurance due to the property receiving past federal disaster assistance. They would also have to give a dollar value of flood insurance claims filed throughout the life of the property.
While insurance companies would be charged a fee to access the flood history of a property, homeowners or prospective buyers would get the information free of charge.
“As severe flooding becomes more common, homeowners need transparency and the peace of mind that their forever home won’t saddle them with unforeseen costs,” said Luria. “Flood insurance is expensive, but it’s a reality many homeowners have to face because of climate change and rising sea levels. I hope this legislation is the first step towards reforming flood insurance and protecting homeowners who live in communities at risk of flooding.”