SFHA

The Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) includes all FEMA flood zones where structures are required to carry flood insurance meeting FEMA's standards.

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.

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 FEMA Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA)?

So, you decided to purchase or refinance a home and it turns out that it’s in a FEMA-designated Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and your lender says, “you have two options, get flood insurance or a get a LOMA.”  Sound familiar?

Although many homes are correctly shown in the SFHA (Special Flood Hazard area or high-risk flood zone), sometimes there’s newer or better information available that wasn’t considered when FEMA established the high-risk flood zone. FEMA uses engineering best practices and standards to delineate its flood zones, but the data is usually only good to +/- 2 feet. That’s why FEMA created the MT-1 process allowing property owners to challenge the zone classification of their home or property by submitting more detailed information.