Michigan Geomatics
Professional Land Surveying and Civil Engineering 


Flood Insurance

Five Things You Need to Know About FEMA Flood Zones and the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) 

By Scott D. McLain, Professional Surveyor 57817

1.)       Banks and Lenders are Requiring Flood Insurance:

  • BW-12 will make The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) self-funding.
  • The penalty to lenders not following the rules has increased.
  • The purchase of any home will be reviewed for flood insurance needs.
  • Existing home owners may receive a letter from their lender that they have 45 days to obtain flood insurance or it will be forced on them through the lender.

2.)       All Waterfront Properties are in a Flood Zone:

  • Yes, but that does not mean that your home is.
  • This is the good news. In my 25 years of filling out Elevation Certificates, only 10% of the structures where below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).
  • Most lenders use an outstate company that looks at a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) to determine if you are in a flood zone.
  • They DONOT visit your property and have no way of knowing if your home is built in a low area or on a bluff 5 feet above the water.
  • If your house is above the BFE, you may still want or need flood insurance as part of your homeowner’s policy.

3.)       eLOMA or LOMA could be the Answer:

  • A Letter Of Map Amendment (LOMA) will remove your home from the NFIP and the FEMA flood insurance requirements.
  • As a Professional Surveyor, in most cases, I can file online with FEMA to have the FIRM amended.
  • When I make a visit to the home to collect elevation information, I also need access inside and to any crawl spaces. FEMA needs the elevation of the lowest floor and any mechanical equipment, such as a furnace or water heater.
  • Most eLOMA’s can be completed in one week.

4.)       Elevation Certificate:

  • If your home does not qualify for an eLOMA or if your home is in a Special Flood Hazard Area, then I will complete an Elevation Certificate.
  • This will be used by the insurance company to set your rate.
  • Without an Elevation Certificate, you could be charged at the highest rate.

5.)       New Construction:

  • If you are thinking of building, you need an Elevation Certificate.
  • You also need an elevation benchmark set on the site.
  • You do not want to find out after your dream home is finished that it is in a special flood zone area
  • Michigan State Building Codes require that you be 1 foot above the Base Flood Elevation.

 Call me any time: 231-325-2655

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