Coastwide
Sam Turken / WHRO

USA - 'Millions Left on the Table': How Cities Can Do More to Battle Rising Flood Insurance Rates

Increased flooding from climate change is making flood insurance so expensive that some worry they'll lose their homes. A federal program can cut costs if cities invest in flood protection.

William Jennings and his wife have lived in their Virginia Beach, Va. home for the last 37 years. And their plan was to stay in it through retirement.

"I really like my house," Jennings says, standing in the front yard. "A two-story home. A swimming pool in the backyard."

But Jennings' neighborhood has flooded more often in recent years. His house did once, too. His mortgage requires flood insurance, which now costs him $2,336 a year and is set to increase 18% in July.

The 72-year-old Army veteran worries that soon his home may no longer be affordable. His wife supports selling it and moving to avoid the additional flood insurance expense.

"Yeah, I don't want to think about that," Jennings says. "One of my neighbors said they'll just walk away from their home, and just leave and let the bank take it."

Whether Jennings keeps his house may depend on how much more Virginia Beach invests in a little-known federal program that offers sizeable flood insurance discounts.

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