WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representatives Madeleine Dean (D-PA-04), Elaine Luria (D-VA-02), and Andrew Garbarino introduced the Flood History Information Act which would ensure that potential homebuyer’s have access to a property’s flooding history prior to purchase.
The Flood History Information Act requires the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) to create a database of homes damaged by flooding and share that information with buyers and insurance companies upon request. The data shared would include the location of the insured property, the amount of coverage, dates of loss, and the amount paid on claims.
“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,” Rep Luria said. “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.”
“As part of a coastal community, Long Islanders experience the good and bad of living near the water,” Rep Garbarino said. “As wonderful as it is, flooding is a very real challenge that, when it occurs, can be devastating for homeowners. Prospective homeowners deserve to have all of the information when purchasing a home and, by requiring FEMA to collect and share flood history data, homebuyers can make informed decisions about their flood risk and prepare accordingly.”
The bill requires FEMA to provide information on whether the property owner would need to purchase flood insurance due to previous federal disaster assistance. It would also require FEMA to provide information on the number and dollar value of flood insurance claims filed for a property over the life of the property. This bill would charge a fee for insurance companies to access the flood history database but would not charge a fee for buyers or current owners. This would apply to properties under the NFIP and to private insurance companies who choose to participate in the data sharing agreement with FEMA.
The National Association of REALTORS endorsed the Flood History Information Act.
“REALTORS® applaud Congresswoman Luria for introducing the Flood History Information Act, which will authorize FEMA to disclose NFIP claims data to home buyers as well as owners. Homebuyers have a right to this information before making purchasing decisions. This legislation is particularly critical and timely in light of the extensive flooding across the country we’ve witnessed these past several weeks. REALTORS® support the bill and urge Congress to include these provisions in any long-term reauthorization and reform measure.”