The Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended indefinitely the opportunity to buy low-cost flood insurance for Nassau County residents who live in a designated flood zone.
Homeowners who live in a flood zone are required to buy flood insurance.
Residents of several Nassau communities — including Valley Stream, Massapequa Park and Hempstead — who were declared in a much-criticized decision to live in flood zones in 2009 were allowed to purchase lower-cost “preferred risk policies” through Dec. 31.
Those policies often cost $200 to $400 per year, while traditional policies can cost $2,000 per year, officials said.
FEMA has agreed to extend the “preferred risk” coverage indefinitely, said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who campaigned for the change.
“Nassau County homeowners can breathe a little easier knowing they are no longer staring down an impending deadline that could have cost them thousands of dollars,” Schumer said in a statement.
The decision is expected to impact thousands of families on Long Island, said Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) in the same statement.
Valley Stream Mayor Edwin Fare said the decision will give time for the federal government to improve its flood maps, as the flood map changes in 2009 added 25,000 property owners to the flood zone and led to higher insurance premiums.
“I’m very pleased for the residents and homeowners,” he said. “We want residents to stay in their homes.”
Above: Waters from Tropical Storm Irene flood a Long Beach street. (Aug. 28, 2011)