Thursday, October 15, 2015

What You Need to Know About Flood Maps

FEMA is about to revise its flood maps, and this might mean physical or financial changes for your family if you live near a body of water. The good news is that the changes aren't necessarily bad. If you'd like to learn more about flood maps, here's some basic information.
  1. Flood maps refer to geographic locations where there's a risk of flooding. FEMA has released many over the years, with the latest revisions coming out in 2013 and the newest expected to come out this fall.
  2. Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) are expected to increase across the entire country. BFEs refer to the amount of water expected to rise during a flooding situation. Each state has its own BFE, and your state's might be affected by everything from your number of lakes to your annual level of precipitation.
  3. A Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) is an area particularly vulnerable to flooding; this may be because of rain, storms, river flows or just low ground elevation.
  4. If your home is decreed to be in a SFHA, this could raise your homeowners insurance or even require you to purchase flood insurance specifically. Your property value might also decrease because of the stigma or the inconvenience to new buyers.
  5. A silver lining of SFHAs: Sometimes homes are added to them by accident. If you think your house doesn't belong in a hazard area, contact a flood insurance company and ask about a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). This amendment will take you out of the SFHA and release you from all its expenses and obligations.
  6. If your home does belong in a SFHA, you still don't have to fret right away. There might be steps you can take to protect your property from floods and therefore exempt yourself from some of the worst SFHA regulations. Again, contact a flood insurance company to figure out your options.
  7. Though flood maps may seem like a hassle, it's important to remember that they save lives. Even if you find yourself inconvenienced by a flood map, there's a reason they exist.
These are just a few things you may or may not have known about flood maps. As you can see, there's a lot to parse about them, so don't get discouraged if you need additional research to figure it out. Simply check out sites like Flood Zone Mitigations ( to learn more.