Flood Zone Determination

Why Your BFE is Wrong

The Base Flood Elevation (BFE) represents the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) 1% Annual Chance Floodplain (aka. 100-year flood). Generally speaking, the nearer the structure’s elevation is to the BFE the greater the risk, and for structure elevations below the BFE, the further the structure’s elevation is to the BFE, the more flood water would be expected to inundate the structure during a flood event causing greater damage, therefore higher insurance premiums.

HOW TO DISPUTE A FEMA FLOOD ZONE DETERMINATION

Most lenders will contact a Flood Zone Determination company to obtain a Standard Flood Hazard Determination (SFHD) as part of their closing process and in most cases a property insurance agent will make the same request from the same or a different Flood Zone Determination company. With two or more SFHDs being produced for a single location, disagreements in results can arise. These discrepancies can delay closing or the placement of a flood insurance policy. 

What is a Flood Zone Determination?

Simply, a Flood Zone Determination states which flood zone applies to a property.  Or put another way, it is ‘determined’ that your property is in a specific flood zone.  The Determinator, which is the company providing the Flood Zone Determination, will use FEMA’s flood maps, the county’s parcel maps, aerial photography, and other maps to figure out which flood zone is applicable to the property.