WHEAT RIDGE - Thousands of Coloradans will notice something different in their flood insurance this month, and it's catching many off guard.
Because they live near Clear Creek in Wheat Ridge, both Marcelo and Christina Montalva found themselves sinking in an unfortunate situation:
"The new maps came out and they raised our base flood elevation," Christina Montalva said.
Montalva is talking about flood zones, specifically the one her community has now been designated in. Since it's near a creek, the risk level for flooding has been elevated and so has the price of her flood insurance.
Last year, flood insurance for the Montalvas only cost about $1,300 per year. This year, their insurance agency is spiking it up to more than $6,000.00.
"Unfortunately, flood insurance has been a national dilemma for decades," explained Carole Walker, with the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.
Walker says the National Flood Insurance Program is $24 billion in debt. Since flood insurance is not covered under home insurance and is considered a separate category, Walker says it's treated differently.
The National Program, which Christina and Marcelo use is a FEMA based program.
"So while some homeowners are seeing their flood insurance premiums go up on average 25 percent, or in some cases, double or more depending on their risk, they're seeing that subsidized program go away because of the Biggert-Waters Act," Walker said.
The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act was created in 2012 and went in to affect this past October. It was designed to help deal with flooding issues, but Walker says it ended driving up costs.
"I don't think anyone has a silver bullet or an answer to this flood dilemma," Walker said.
Walker says Congress is looking to tweak the bill to help alleviate all of the sticker shock.
"Right now they're playing ping pong in Congress. My bill is due tomorrow," Christina Montalva said.
For Christina and Marcelo, that's not enough. For the time being they'll either have to pay their bloated bill or risk facing foreclosure.
Some lawmakers in Washington are looking to schedule a vote in the upcoming days that could help ease flood insurance rate hikes brought about by the bill.
Currently, millions of Americans are being affected by the spike.