Flood insurance is very expensive. If you live near a coastal area, your mortgage company may require that you purchase flood insurance to cover their risk. If you do not believe that your home is actually located in a specified flood hazard area (SFHA), you must show proof that your home is outside of a designated flood area before your lender will allow you to cancel your flood insurance. You can do this with the help of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) website. Go to "Find Your Flood Map" and enter your address. This will show you where you are on the flood map. If you have trouble locating your property on the map, speak to a FEMA representative at 877-336-2627. Explain that you want to find out if your home can be granted a letter of map change (LOMC) to prove that you are not in a special flood hazard area (SFHA).
Pinpoint your location on the FEMA map. If you still believe that you are not in the hundred year flood zone, you could be correct. FEMA updates flood maps often. When the flooding lines change over time, the map reflects those changes. When this happens, a LOMC is issued. Your FEMA representative can help you determine if an LOMC is applicable to your area. You may already be rezoned.
If an LOMC has not been issued, you will need to download and complete the MT-EZ forms to request an LOMC. You also will need to order an elevation survey. (FEMA can assist you in finding a surveyor, or you may search your local phone directory).
Submit the MT-EZ forms along with the elevation survey to FEMA. They will study your documentation and make a determination as to whether your property is outside the special flood hazard area. FEMA will issue you an elevation certificate, which will officially state whether you are located inside or outside the special flood hazard area. It can take several weeks to get a response if you submit your request by mail. Ask your surveyor if he can submit his study and your request by eLOMA (electronic transmission), which speeds up the process greatly.
- You risk paying the cost of the elevation survey, only to find that you are located inside the special flood hazard area and cannot be rezoned out.
- Surveyors are engineers who accurately locate and measure property lines, elevations and topography. This survey must begin at the lowest level of land that touches the structure and must be above the base flood elevation (BFE). When you contact the surveyor, get a price quote to do the study. FEMA does not charge to make a determination of location unless the lot was elevated with fill dirt during construction of the home.
- entering the port image by Sean Wallace-Jones from Fotolia.com