FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Defining the Non-Guaranteed Determination

A Non-Guaranteed Determination is any product containing a FEMA flood zone where the provider does not guarantee the result. If you are from the lending industry, you may not have heard of this because you need guaranteed results for most all lending tasks to be federally compliant and have those results printed on a Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form. But in the insurance, communication, real estate, appraisal, and property management industries, there are dozens of uses for a Non-Guaranteed Determination because, frankly, it is a lot cheaper. You may be paying $8 for a Life of Loan Determination (if you pay more, contact MassiveCert sales) or less than $4 for the same Determination without the monitoring.

FEMA Flood Zones and the Mandatory Purchase Requirement

This article is written to aid the general public in understanding the mandatory purchase requirement and FEMA’s flood zone designations. It describes the FEMA zones and the mandatory purchase requirement at a high level and provides some details for those who have interest in nuances.

Flood Compliance Is Not Flood Safety

So, you had a concern when you purchased your home that you might be required to get flood insurance because there are high risk flood zones nearby. Luckily, your lender said you are not mapped into one of those Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA or the “100-year flood”), so, of course you didn’t get flood insurance because it wasn’t required – right?

Well, you might want to reconsider that decision because Mother Nature doesn’t care about compliance with home purchasing requirements in the USA. You may not be safe from flood risk even if you are “compliant”, but there is a way to find out what your flood risk is.

How to get a Free FEMA Elevation Certificate

Yes, you can get a free FEMA Elevation Certificate and it’s not that hard to do. An Elevation Certificate can be used over and over again – all you have to do is update the photos in the document. It’s perfectly legal and accepted practice by FEMA, but not everybody knows about it.

Here’s how to do it step-by-step.

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.

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.

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.

Explaining the FEMA Clear Communication Initiative and Elevation Certificates

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) “Clear Communication Initiative” is intended to inform federal flood insurance policyholders of their flood risk as reflected on the most current Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).  This is something congress mandated in the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HFIAA, and specifically Section 28 of that Act).  The reasoning is sound, but there are parts that may be confusing, so I want to try and explain “Clear Communications”.

When is Flood Insurance Required?

So you finally did it.  You saved up enough money to put a down payment on your first home, and pay closing costs.  You spent hours completing paperwork, and gathering documents for your mortgage lender.

FEMA Clear Communication Initiative Letters and What They Mean for You

In early 2016, FEMA began mailing out clear communication initiative letters to flood insurance policyholders with new policies effective April 1, 2016 or later, and/or renewal dates of October 1, 2016 or later.  The purpose of these letters was to inform the policyholders of their current, re-mapped flood risk rating, and explain how that rating was assessed, as well as how it would likely impact what one would pay for flood insurance.  The letters further explain how the property owner may reduce flood insurance premiums by obtaining an Elevation Certificate.

FEMA separated the letters into 7 categories, each defined by a letter, A-F.  Your category can be found in the bottom right hand corner of your letter.  The categories are as follows:

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