NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "We have a flood risk in Orleans Parish. It did not go away. But the beauty is flood insurance did get less expensive," insurance specialist Bruce Bender said.
New FEMA flood maps are about to make flood insurance policies a lot cheaper.
"Seventy-three percent of the properties will be taken out of the flood plain and put into a moderate risk area. They will most likely, many of them, will qualify for the reduced premiums," Bender said.
The new maps reflect drainage and levee work that's been done post-Katrina. Now, someone with a home worth $250,000 who typically pays $900 a year for flood insurance will now pay $500, thanks to the new rates.
"What is going to happen is, you're going to get a letter from the lender that says you are no longer required to have flood insurance. That will come about 60 days or so after the maps become effective," Bender said.
But he said don't be fooled. Just because you aren't required to have it doesn't mean you don't need it.
"You're now at a lower risk, but the risk is still there. It has only been reduced. It has not been removed," he said.
While about 85,000 homeowners should see savings, not everyone will be positively affected by the new maps.
"About four percent are being newly identified in the high-risk area," Bender said.
Some parts of Algiers will now be considered a high risk area, and that doesn't sit well with Dr. Susan Weyer.
"So, these folks that flooded to the rooftops are going to pay $450, and I'm going to sit in Algiers with a house that hasn't flooded in 35 years, and I'm going to pay $2,200," Weyer said.
Property owners are urged to look at the new maps to see if they'll be affected. The maps becomes official on Sept. 30.