2. What does community participation in the NFIP mean and how does that affect a homeowner?
Community participation means that if the property is determined to be within the 100 year flood zone, the home owner can get federally managed and federally backed flood insurance.
Some communities may decide not to participate, which in turn does not allow them to purchase federally backed flood insurance. The nonparticipating communities are not eligible for grant, loans or disaster assistance. However, First Track Information Services (FTIS) is still required to inspect Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) to determine flood hazard risks and to provide notice of such risks.
3. What is the Base Flood Elevation (BFE)?
The BFE is the height of the base flood, usually in feet, in relation to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 or other various datum referenced in the Flood Insurance Study report.
4. When is mandatory flood insurance required?
The Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 mandate the purchase of flood insurance as a condition of federal or federally regulated financing for acquisition and/or construction of buildings in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) of any participating community. The purchase of flood insurance on a voluntary basis is frequently prudent, even outside of SFHAs.
These acts prohibit federal agency lenders, such as Small Business Administration, United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Housing Service, and the Government Sponsored Enterprises for Housing from making, guaranteeing, or purchasing a loan secured by real estate or mobile home in a SFHA, unless flood insurance has been purchased and is maintained during the term of the loan.
5. I have lived here forever and have never been flooded. Why do I need flood insurance?
The flood hazards shown on National Flood Hazard Maps were prepared in many areas based on hydrolic and hydrologic studies. These studies were conducted to reflect the long term projection of flood risk. Due to the short history of the NFIP, the accuracy of flood events is not based only on past flooding. A flood might occur soon even though there hasn't been one within memory.
Even though there is only a slight chance (1% in any given year) of suffering flood damage in 100 year flood, there is a significant chance (26%) of flood damage in a 30 year mortgage. Therefore, flood insurance is required.
6. Why is the flood map wrong?
Since the flood maps are based on the most recently available topographic information, the accuracy of the map is dependent upon the accuracy of the topographic information. It is possible; therefore, that some high ground is shown as a low laying land prone to flooding, and some low areas are erroneously shown to be outside the floodplain. In addition, FEMA may not be aware of earth fill brought in to elevate a building site to above the BFE.
7. If the borrowers disagree with our determination, what can they do?
In the case that the property owner or the borrower disagrees with the determination, they may apply for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA), or a Letter of Map Revision-based on fill (LOMR-F). The LOMA or LOMR-F removes the SFHA from the property per letter.
The documentation required for a LOMA or LOMR-F review includes;
An elevation certification, this must include the Base Flood Elevation on the FIRM, and the lowest adjacent grade of the structure(s) on the property.
A completed LOMA or LOMR-F form, which you can get here.LOMA, or LOMR-F
Upon submitting the application, the average wait is 6 to 8 weeks. If the application is not completely filled out, a written notice of the missing information will be returned to the sender. There is no fee for a LOMA; however, there is a $425 fee for a LOMR-F. Back to Top
8. What does the borrower need to do while they are waiting on their LOMA or LOMR-F to be reviewed?
If you do not want to wait the 6-8 weeks for a LOMA or LOMR-F to be issued, FEMA advises you to buy the flood insurance. If the LOMA or LOMR-F is issued the current years premium will be refunded unless a claim has been paid or is pending. To receive a refund, submit the LOMA or LOMR-F to your lender and ask that the lender waive the insurance requirement. In order for your flood insurance policy to be refunded the mortgage lender must confirm in writing that;
1. The flood insurance was initially required as part of the mortgage;
2. Because the LOMA or LOMR-F was issued, the requirement for flood insurance no longer applies.
9. Why could First Track's flood zone determination differ from the surveyor's determination?
First Track Information Services (FTIS) must use the boundaries of the SFHAs shown on the flood maps to determine if the mandatory purchase of flood insurance applies. Thus, even though a site survey may indicate the property location is above the BFE, and is technically outside the floodplain, if the map indicates that the site is within the dark-shaded SFHA, the lender must require the purchase of flood insurance. The requirement to purchase flood insurance is a condition of any federally backed mortgage loan, including second mortgages, home equity loans, and refinancing of existing loans.
10. What if there is no elevation on a flood map?
If the property is in a flood zone A, without a letter or number after the "A", the flood zone is approximate and not based on a detailed flood study. No BFE has been determined for the area. FEMA can only approve a LOMA or LOMR-F if a BFE has been established using standard engineering methodology. If the BFE has not been established you may contact another government agency that has actually conducted a flood study,
and determined flood elevations. You can check with your local building, planning, zoning, or storm water management office. If there is no existing flood study, one will have to be developed by a registered engineer in order to process a LOMA or LOMR-F. FEMA publication 263, entitled "Managing Floodplain Development in Approximate Zone A Areas", may help guide an engineer in conducting the necessary flood study.
This manual may be ordered free of charge by calling 1-800-480-2520, or may be downloaded from the FEMA web site at www.fema.gov
11. Why won't the changes I requested appear on my certification?
Due to the continuing changes to our flood certifications, your internet settings may not be set up to handle any changes you requested. To fix this problem, go to the "Tools" button on your internet tool bar. Click on the "Internet Options" menu option. Under the "General" settings tab, go into the "Settings" located in the "Temporary Internet Files" section. Once in the "Settings" area, make sure that "Every Visit to Page" is selected. You may need to restart your web-browser for the settings to take effect.
Back to Top 12. What are the different flood determinations, and what does each of them mean? As taken from the www.fema.gov frequently asked questions.
Zone A is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to the 100-year floodplains that are determined in the Flood Insurance Study by approximate methods. Because detailed hydraulic analyses are not performed for such areas, no Base Flood Elevations or depths are shown within this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone AE and A1-A30
Zones AE and A1-A30 are the flood insurance rate zones that correspond to the 100-year floodplains that are determined in the Flood Insurance Study by detailed methods. In most instances, Base Flood Elevations derived from the detailed hydraulic analyses are shown at selected intervals within this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone AH is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to the areas of 100-year shallow flooding with a constant water-surface elevation (usually areas of consisting of existing water sources) where average depths are between 1 and 3 feet. The BFEs derived from the detailed hydraulic analyses are shown at selected intervals within this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone AO is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to the areas of 100-year shallow flooding (usually sheet flow on sloping terrain) where average depths are between 1 and 3 feet. The depth should be averaged along the cross section and then along the direction of flow to determine the extent of the zone. Average flood depths derived from the detailed hydraulic analyses are shown within this zone. In addition, alluvial fan flood hazards are shown as Zone AO on the FIRM. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone AR is the flood insurance rate zone used to depict areas protected from flood hazards by flood control structures, such as a levee, that are being restored. FEMA will consider using the Zone AR designation for a community if the flood protection system has been deemed restorable by a Federal agency in consultation with a local project sponsor; a minimum level of flood protection is still provided to the community by the system; and restoration of the flood protection system is scheduled to begin within a designated time period and in accordance with a progress plan negotiated between the community and FEMA. Mandatory purchase requirements for flood insurance will apply in Zone AR, but the rate will not exceed the rate for unnumbered A zones if the structure is built in compliance with Zone AR floodplain management regulations.
For floodplain management in Zone AR areas, elevation is not required for improvements to existing structures. However, for new construction, the structure must be elevated (or flood proofed for non-residential structures) such that the lowest floor, including basement, is a maximum of 3 feet above the highest adjacent existing grade if the depth of the base flood elevation (BFE) does not exceed 5 feet at the proposed development site. For infill sites, rehabilitation of existing structures, or redevelopment of previously developed areas, there is a 3 foot elevation requirement regardless of the depth of the BFE at the project site.
The Zone AR designation will be removed and the restored flood control system shown as providing protection from the 1% annual chance flood on the NFIP map upon completion of the restoration project and submittal of all the necessary data to FEMA.
Zone A99 is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to areas of the 100-year floodplains that will be protected by a Federal flood protection system where construction has reached specified statutory milestones. No BFEs or depths are shown within this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
The Zone D designation on NFIP maps is used for areas where there are possible but undetermined flood hazards. In areas designated as Zone D, no analysis of flood hazards has been conducted. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements do not apply, but coverage is available. The flood insurance rates for properties in Zone D are commensurate with the uncertainty of the flood risk.
Zone V is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to the 100-year coastal floodplains that have additional hazards associated with storm waves. Because approximate hydraulic analyses are performed for such areas, no BFEs are shown within this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone VE is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to the 100-year coastal floodplains that have additional hazards associated with storm waves. BFEs derived from the detailed hydraulic analyses are shown at selected intervals within this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zones B, C, X500, and X
Zones B, C, X500, and X are the flood insurance rate zones that correspond to areas outside the 100-year floodplains, areas of 100-year sheet flow flooding where average depths are less than 1 foot, areas of 100-year stream flooding where the contributing drainage area is less than 1 square mile, or areas protected from the 100-year flood by levees. No BFEs or depths are shown within this zone.