Flood Zone Determination

MassiveCert Flood Zones for First Street Foundation

MassiveCert's 142 million FEMA flood zones were used by First Street Foundation to compare the organizations' flood risk perspective. Both models are beneficial and help move the flood risk conversation forward. But, the models are created for different purposes because the concept of a single definitive floodplain is a fallacy.

MassiveCert Press Release re: 142 million

MassiveCert aims to make every American aware of their own personal flood risk so they can make informed decisions. Through a partnership with First Street Foundation, we released FEMA flood zone date for 142 million properties nationwide. 

Risk, FEMA Flood Zones, and Insurance Premiums

This article is written to aid property owners regarding their flood risk. Floodplain Managers, flood insurance professionals, surveyors, etc. may note that this information is high-level and not every variable is covered. Even so, it is hoped this information helps those not directly involved in the industry understand the basic terms and how they relate to flood risk and flood insurance rates.

Will it Flood? It's all about Elevation!

Of course, the best way to keep a home from flooding is to build it well outside of a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). But we know, about 25% of flood claims come from properties not in these high-risk zones. Further, the risk of flooding is obviously vastly different between properties considered to be in low-risk areas when one is a few inches above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) and the other is many feet above that imaginary line (the elevation at which a hydrology study predicts 1% chance of flooding in any given year). What’s more, many individuals have to consider properties in SFHAs. Cities like New Orleans, Houston, and Charleston to name a few, don’t give home buyers and businesses many choices other than high risk areas.

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. 

Guaranteed Flood Zone Determinations are now Available to Everyone

Hi everyone.  We recently published a press release announcing the launch of our DirectFlood platform so everyone can have access to high-quality and affordable guaranteed flood zone determinations.  Here's the press release:

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Free Flood Zone Determination!

Everybody loves getting something for free.  But in this case, we are only giving out free advice.  And trust me on this, you don’t want a free flood zone determination.

There are some websites out there that will tell you what your flood zone is on a free report which sounds like a great deal.  But then you realize the company behind the zone is not a professional flood zone determination company and there’s no guarantee that the flood zone is correct.  Ok, maybe but just because they aren't professionals for zone determinations and there’s no guarantee, is it really that bad?

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.