Do you feel like you are drowning in flood insurance rates? Did you just find out that the new home you have been eyeing requires flood insurance on top of what you were expecting to pay? Or, maybe you are trying to sell your home and your potential buyer is hesitating in anticipation of paying flood insurance every month.
If you are in one of these situations you could be in luck. You might actually be paying for flood insurance when you don’t necessarily have to have it. Under the right circumstances, you can get out of paying flood insurance through getting a LOMA. A LOMA (Letter of Map Amendment) is a letter from FEMA that allows lenders to waive federal flood insurance requirements.
To qualify for a LOMA the home MUST be sitting higher than the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). In simplest terms, the BFE is the height flood waters could reach in a historic, disastrous, state of emergency flood. If you like definitions, the BFE is “the elevation that the floodwaters reach during the 1% annual chance flood event, also called the Base Flood.” The Base Flood has a 1% chance of occurring or being worse than expected once over the course of 100 years.
To find out if your home is above the BFE, you will need an elevation certificate from Professional, Registered Land Surveyor. To complete an elevation certificate, a land surveyor establishes the BFE of the property. Then the surveyor will go to the home and precisely measure the elevations of the home. This data is recorded on the elevation certificate and can be used to apply for a LOMA. This information also helps lenders determine appropriate flood insurance rates.
If an elevation certificate concludes that a house is above the BFE, you are free from the flood-zone and can start planning on what to use your previous flood insurance expense on something more exciting, right? Wrong. After you attain an elevation certificate, you then have to:
- Get “an official floodplain analysis from the Division of Water” by using the DRN’s eFARA wizard. The eFARA wizard is an online application that you can use to find the floodplain information and the BFE of your property for free. You can access it here: https://dnrmaps.dnr.in.gov/appsphp/fdms/
- Complete the LOMA application from FEMA
- Send in the LOMA request
- Then wait for FEMA to review it and generate the LOMA
This process can take anywhere from a few days to a few months. If the home is in an unstudied area, it will take longer. Therefore, we warn you that attaining a LOMA while you are in a time crunch is not a wise move. Lastly, it is important to note that even if you get a LOMA from FEMA your lender still has the final say if you have to have flood insurance and how much it will cost. A LOMA does not promise that your property will never flood and you are immune to flood damage. Unexpected flooding causes more damage to Indiana homes each year than any other natural cause.
If you would like to learn more about elevation certificates you can read our description by clicking here. Our previous postteaches you how to find out if you are in a flood zone. To get a quote for an elevation certificate you can fill out our request form and we will get back to you in a couple days.
Image by: Consumer Insurance Guide