The storm will likely add billions, if not tens of billions, to the government's flood-insurance debt.
Two relatively modest storms that hit Houston in 2015 and 2016 - so small they didn't get names - did so much property damage they made the list of the 15 highest-priced floods in U.S. history. Even if federal aid money is provided, it can often take much longer to trickle down to homeowners, delaying recoveries from flooding.
The 50-year-old National Flood Insurance Program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, goes to Congress for reinstatement at the end of the month.
Congress has granted a reprieve to a program that insures homes in flood-prone areas.
Lenders in ME generally require mortgaged homes in flood hazard zones to have flood insurance, but it's an optional purchase for all others. "We should not be losing money every year on flood insurance".
Homeowners can purchase a federal flood policy directly from the National Flood Insurance Program or through a private insurer.
Not having insurance put owners on the hook for expenses in rehabilitating a flooded home.
How many American homeowners have flood insurance?
"You can get a $250K flood insurance policy for $450 a year".
The National Flood Insurance Program had almost five million policies in force as of June 30. Of these policies, approximately 68 percent were on single-family homes and 21 percent on condo units.
Across the state, very few residents carry flood insurance.
Irma weakens into a tropical depression
FPL is restoring power according to its detailed plan, restoring it first to critical services, next to large commercial areas. Sam Nuccio drove down to check on his house in Big Pine Key, but was told to turn around. "I believe that's what's going on".
"In the Baton Rouge (Louisiana) flood of 2016, the average disaster assistance payout was about $6,000, while the average flood insurance payout was about $80,000", he said. But the government could give people more access with more public beaches.
The NFIP was created in 1968 to provide affordable flood insurance, but a series of major losses and inadequate take-up have left it with a funding shortfall of more than $24bn.
What does flood insurance cover? This is as the program has struggled financially to cover increasing amounts of losses from increasingly frequent flooding events.
The National Flood Insurance Program policy limits have been in effect since 1994 and need to be updated to account for the increase in the replacement cost of homes and the actual cash value of their contents. Although not the best measure of the replacement cost, the median price of new homes sold in the U.S. Just days before Harvey struck, the Trump administration took a step backward by rescinding a national flood standard. Essentially, its premiums are not high enough to cover how much it pays out on claims and its other costs. It also raised concerns about an increasingly popular idea: government-backed flood insurance.
Hurricane Harvey caused widespread flooding in southeastern Texas after making landfall two weeks ago.
A rise in cost, which is the most common reason for forgoing flood insurance, has also played a significant role.
The NFIP provides flood insurance to homeowners in flood-prone areas.
What can be done to fix the program?
The Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 made a number of changes to the program, such as increasing premiums and other changes to make it "more financially stable", that would have gone a long way to restore its fiscal solvency. However, an outcry from homeowners in high-risk areas such as coastal Florida led to the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act, passed in 2014, that limited or rescinded numerous Biggert-Waters rate increases. But they should remember, too, that this program allowed them to build, or buy, a house in harm's way in the first place.
In July, the National Association of Realtors announced it had reached an agreement with the US House Financial Services Committee on key legislation to reauthorize and reform the NFIP with important modifications to retain grandfathering and reduce rate increases.