Another Last-Minute Save for Flood Insurance

November 22, 2019

President Donald Trump signed a bill Thursday evening to extend the National Flood Insurance Program until Dec. 20, another short-term gap measure that came just hours before the program was set to expire. Congress had approved the extension bill earlier Thursday before it went to the president for his signature.

This marks the 14th short-term extension of the NFIP since 2017. The National Association of REALTORS® has long called for a long-term reauthorization of the program, arguing that a lapse could jeopardize up to 40,000 home sales a month. NAR also has advocated for reforms to the NFIP, including strengthening flood mapping and mitigation efforts, as well as developing more options for the private flood insurance market.

Federal law requires the purchase of flood insurance for a federally backed mortgage in special flood hazard areas designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The NFIP provides insurance coverage to 22,000 communities across the country and protects property owners against losses from flooding, which is the most common and costly natural disaster in the U.S. But the program remains billions of dollars in debt.

The NFIP extension is part of a spending bill passed by the Senate that will keep the government operating while Congress works on 2020 appropriation measures over the next month. Housing lobbyists believe there is less of a chance that the NFIP will lapse in December since it is being included in larger legislation.

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