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