Why is my property located in a flood zone?

Flood maps are issued by The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as an end result of a general study of a large area. This study does not evaluate individual properties and is very broad based in nature. These areas are then determined to be Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA). A SFHA is an area that has been determined to have a 1% annual chance of flooding in 100 years and FEMA requires mandatory flood insurance on property located in a SFHA. Your property was not studied by FEMA individually. This is why there is a 60% margin of error in the flood maps.  

Where do I find the documents for my free evaluation?

Recorded property deed- The original property deed is sent to the local county clerks office when you close on your property to be recorded and it becomes part of the public records. You should receive the original recorded document from the office that handled your property closing approximately 1 month after the closing. If you do not have the document contact the closing agent and request the original. Or for faster results go to the clerks office in your community and request a certified copy.

Property survey or plat map- This item is called many things however it does not matter what it is called as long as we have it!! Most of the time when you purchase your property the mortgage company requires a survey of the property showing the boundaries and the structures located on the property. This should be in your closing documents. If you do not locate it there check with the local building department to see if they have a copy of your survey in the permit file for your home.

If you are not successful in finding a survey for your property the other document that we can accept is a plat map from the zoning or planning department or a tax map from the property appraisers office. These maps show the location of your property in relation to the other properties and streets in your area.

Elevation certificate- An elevation certificate is provided by a licensed surveyor. You may have one in your closing documents. If not check with the local building department to see if there is one in your permit file or check with the builder that sold you your property. If you are currently carrying flood insurance your insurance agent should have asked you for an elevation certificate to write your policy in the correct risk category. Ask them for a copy. If they do not have one ask them how they rated your premiums correctly.  

If you are still unsuccessful at locating an elevation certificate you will need to hire a local surveyor to provide the elevation certificate for you. The elevation certificate will help us determine if your property can be removed from the flood zone or, if your property cannot be removed from the flood zone it will allow your insurance agent to rate you accurately and give you the best rate. The average cost of an elevation certificate is $350.00 and while you may be hesitant to spend the money, you will save far more that you spend in the long run.

What about my mortgage company?

Each mortgage company obtains a flood zone determination prior to the closing of a loan to determine if the property is located in a SFHA. These determinations are done by any company chosen by the lender. If the flood zone determination (right or wrong) comes back and states your property is in a SFHA then by law the lender must require flood insurance on the property. 

You have a right to dispute this and once the flood zone is changed the lender will remove the requirement for flood insurance. A copy of the flood zone change must be given to the lender in order for them to remove the flood insurance requirement.

What about my flood insurance policy? 

Once the flood zone is changed on your property mandatory flood insurance is no longer required by FEMA. You then have 2 choices. 

First you can cancel your current  national flood insurance policy (NFIP) and obtain a full refund for the current premium year that you have already paid as long as the payment is current and there have been no claims. We will provide the forms to obtain your refund.

Or you may choose to continue to carry flood insurance through a preferred risk policy and since the insurance is not required you can carry any amount of coverage you want. You do not need to carry the full amount of your mortgage if you choose. Premiums are greatly reduced when you choose this option.

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