flood insurance

An insurance policy for the protection of property from a flood which is typically not part of a homeowner's insurance policy.

The Importance of an Elevation Certificate for Pre-FIRM Buildings

Was your house built before 12/1/1974? If so, it is likely considered pre-FIRM. FEMA identifies a building as either pre-FIRM or post-FIRM, depending on its construction date in relation to the first Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) issued for a community.  Most initial FIRMs were issued in the mid ‘70s.  The significance of this designation is that prior to FEMA producing a FIRM for you community, it is very likely that your community had not adopted any codes designed to minimize the impact of flooding on new construction projects.  So, if you are paying for flood insurance on a Pre-FIRM building, then you started out with the NFIP’s subsidized pre-FIRM rate.  Subsidized sounds like a bargain, right?  Not necessarily.

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.

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. 

The New NFIP Flood Insurance Manual Crosswalk

If you are like me, when the newly formatted NFIP Flood Insurance Manual came out on October 1st, you probably thought, “Well great! Now I have to start all over again learning this manual.”  I’ve been using the NFIP Flood Insurance Manual for over 16 years and have learned through long experience where to find certain flood insurance topics. I certainly didn’t relish having to re-learn where to find information. Despite the new format being more logical and following a transaction-by-transaction path through the lifecycle of a flood insurance policy, my first impulse was to cringe and curse.

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?

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.

Pages