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      Flood insurance rates on the rise

      Health care is not the only type of insurance experiencing major changes across the country this year.

      Homeowners across the valley are in for some serious sticker shock on their flood insurance premiums.

      "Overall flood insurance is going up. From A to Z, no matter what zone you are in," CEO of Friendly Insurance Cesar Perez said.

      While some will only see a few more dollars tacked on to their bill, others will be paying hundreds more.

      Those who live near the coast in homes built before 1974 will see the biggest pinch, as the National Flood Insurance Program begins to phase out subsidies on older homes.

      "If it's built before 1974 and you do have flood insurance you will be put into another category, Perez said.

      Flood zone maps have also been redrawn, putting many homes in flood zones that were not in them before.

      This is increasing rates by more than 30 percent and requiring others to buy flood insurance for the first time.

      "The ones who are in preferred zones that are getting rezoned to a standard zone, they will see a big increase as well, Perez said.

      The changes are meant to boost the finances of the Federal Flood Insurance Program now about $30 billion in the red due to mega storms like Sandy and Katrina.

      While flood insurance is not a requirement for every home, Perez says it TMs better to be safe than sorry.

      "You need to cover from when the water rises from the ground up. A lot of times insurance companies will not cover you because they will say the damage is due to flood when in actuality it was due to the windstorm, so I think everyone should have flood insurance so you are covered on both ends of the stick," Perez said.

      Perez said some homeowners who find themselves in a new flood zone may be eligible for reduced rates so be sure to check with your insurance agent.