ABOUT FLOOD INSURANCE
Why Purchase Flood Insurance?
Up to twenty percent of all insurance claims are due to flooding sources other than floodplains. However, flooding due to floodplain areas is the only type of flooding that is subject to flood insurance requirements (as mandated by the federal government).
Regardless of the source of flooding, purchase of flood insurance is essential to secure your investment in real estate. Its far less expensive to purchase flood insurance than to repair the damage incurred in just one flood event.
Click Here to watch videos regarding flooding damage.
Click here to watch a brief video regarding flooding and flood insurance.
An Elevation Certificate (EC) is the document which is required when shopping for flood insurance. The elevation certificate provides essential information which the insurance underwriter uses to calculate the premium for flood insurance.
The Elevation certificate includes the structure’s finish floor elevation as well as the Base Flood Elevation (water elevation) adjacent to the structure. Having accurate information can save you thousands of dollars per year on flood insurance!
Base Flood Elevations
If FEMA maps show Base Flood Elevations (BFE’s) for your property, we suggest that you contact your local land surveyor and request that they prepare an elevation certificate on your behalf.
If FEMA maps do NOT show BFE’s, that’s where we can help. We prepare detailed flood studies in order to calculate the Base Flood Elevations adjacent to your property. Once we complete our work, we then work in harmony with a local land surveyor in order to prepare your elevation certificate.
It is quite common to encounter a Zone A (approximate) floodplain. What this means is that no engineering study has been performed and therefore, no base flood elevations have been calculated for the floodplain.
In order to establish base flood elevations, we prepare a detailed flood study in order to map the floodplain. These studies utilize detailed methods and are based upon the sciences of hydrology as well as hydraulics. Hydrologic analysis calculates the amount of storm-water runoff which flows down the waterway during a specific storm event (such as the 100-Year flood). Hydraulic Analysis calculates the depth of water at any particular geographic location (adjacent to each structure along the waterway). Click Here to watch a video regarding the 100-year flood and the work which is involved in calculation of the 100-year floodplain.
It is essential to utilize detailed methodology when calculating base flood elevations (in lieu of approximate methods). In fact, FEMA states that approximate methods are NOT valid for flood insurance purchases. This is why we always utilize detailed methods in lieu of approximate methods.
Flood Insurance Companies
Provide the elevation certificate to your insurance company and request a quote for flood insurance. Once you obtain a quote, inspect the document carefully to insure that the critical information contained within the elevation certificate is included within the quote document. We find that sometimes, information presented via an elevation certificate has a way of not making it to the insurance quote document which results in higher premium costs.
Should you be shopping for a mortgage, understand that a lender reserves the right to insure their investment by requiring that the borrower purchase and maintain flood insurance.
If you already own the property and do not have flood insurance, there are instances where the lender will send a letter indicating that flood insurance must be purchased within a certain time frame. If you get such a letter, be sure to act on it promptly. Otherwise, the lender can purchase the flood insurance on your behalf. Experience has shown that flood insurance is less expensive if you will deal directly with the flood insurance company.
Can I change my Floodplain?
If you believe your property was incorrectly identified as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), we may be able to prepare and submit an application to FEMA to change your properties relationship with a SFHA. This is called a Letter of Map Change (LOMC) request.
A “Special Flood Hazard Area” has a one percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year, sometimes referred to as the one-percent-annual-chance flood or base flood.
After FEMA reviews the map change request, it will issue a determination document, either approving or denying the map change. There are several types determination documents you can seek in your LOMC request.
Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA): A letter from FEMA stating that an existing structure or parcel of land — that is on naturally high ground and has not been elevated by fill — would not be inundated by the base flood.
Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-F): A letter from FEMA stating that an existing structure or parcel of land has been elevated by earthen fill and would not be inundated by the base flood.
Letter of Map Revision (LOMR): A letter from FEMA stating that fill material has been placed in order to remove a portion of land from the floodplain. A LOMR is typically utilized for land development projects. The preparation of an application for a LOMR is more extensive and therefore more costly than applications for LOMA’s and LOMR-F-‘s. The time frame required to obtain a determination document pertaining to a LOMR typically ranges from six to twelve months.
If FEMA grants the map amendment or revision request, the property owner may no longer be required to pay flood insurance. The property owner may send the determination document to their lender and request that the federal flood insurance requirement for the structure be removed.
Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) and Letter of Map Revision based on Fill (LOMR-F)
Click here to access a discussion regarding LOMA’s and LOMR-F’s.
Letter of Map Revision (LOMR)
Click here to access a discussion regarding LOMR’s.
Floodplain Terminology and Definitions
Click here to access an explanation of floodplain terminology and definitions.