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Tom Browning
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Flood Frequently Asked Questions

Base Flood ElevationUse SHIFT+ENTER to open the menu (new window).
What is a Base Flood Elevation (BFE)?
A Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is the height of the base flood, usually in feet, in relation to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929, the North American Vertical Datum of 1988, or other datum referenced in the Flood Insurance Study report, or average depth of the base flood, usually in feet, above the ground surface.
Watershed & Flood Protection
Flood Insurance Policy RatesUse SHIFT+ENTER to open the menu (new window).
How are the rates determined for a flood insurance policy?
A number of factors are considered in determining the premium for flood insurance coverage. They include the amount of coverage purchased; location; age of the building; building occupancy; design of the building; and, for buildings in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), elevation of the building in relation to the Base Flood Elevation. Buildings eligible for special low-cost coverage at a pre-determined, reduced premium rate are single-family and one- to four-family dwellings located in Zones B, C, and X. For these exceptions, certain loss limitations exist.
Watershed & Flood Protection
Flood Insurance Rate MapsUse SHIFT+ENTER to open the menu (new window).
What is a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)?
A Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) is an insurance and floodplain management map issued by FEMA that identifies areas of 1-percent annual chance flood hazard in a community. In some areas, the map also shows Base Flood Elevations and 0.2-percent annual chance floodplain boundaries and, occasionally, regulatory floodway boundaries.
Watershed & Flood Protection
Flood Insurance RequiredUse SHIFT+ENTER to open the menu (new window).
When is it mandatory to carry flood insurance?
The Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 mandate the purchase of flood insurance as a condition of Federal or federally regulated financing for acquisition and/or construction of buildings in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) of any participating community. The purchase of flood insurance on a voluntary basis is frequently prudent, even outside of SFHAs. These Acts prohibit Federal agency lenders, such as the Small Business Administration (SBA) and United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Housing Service, and Government-Sponsored Enterprises for Housing (such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) from making, guaranteeing, or purchasing a loan secured by real estate or mobile home(s) in a SFHA, unless flood insurance has been purchased and is maintained during the term of the loan.
Watershed & Flood Protection
Floodplain MapsUse SHIFT+ENTER to open the menu (new window).
Where can I get a floodplain map?
The FEMA map service center website has all the current regulatory floodplain maps visit and click on the map service center link. Then enter your full street address and the floodplain map should come up. Click view (green circle) to view the map.
Watershed & Flood Protection
Located in a Floodplain ChallengedUse SHIFT+ENTER to open the menu (new window).
If I disagree with my lender's determination that I am in a floodplain, what can I do?
In some cases, a lender determines that a property is in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), but the property owner disagrees. The SFHA is also known as the 100-year floodplain. Property owners in this situation have a couple of options. They may apply for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA), or a Letter of Map Revision - based on Fill (LOMR-F) (if fill placement is the basis of the request). In addition, property owners may apply for a Letter of Determination Review (LODR). Forms for these purposes can be found on FEMA's website.
Watershed & Flood Protection
Need for Flood InsuranceUse SHIFT+ENTER to open the menu (new window).
I have lived here forever and have never been flooded. Why do I need flood insurance?
The flood hazards shown on National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) maps are based on the best information available at the time the maps were prepared. In many areas, hydraulic and hydrologic studies were conducted to reflect the long-term projection of flood risk. Because of the infrequent occurrence of flood events and the relatively short history of the NFIP, Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) are not based only on past flooding occurrences. The fact that a flood hasn't occurred within memory doesn't mean one won't happen soon. The 100-year flood is a relatively rare event (1-percent chance in any given year), but structures located in the floodplain have a significant chance (26%) of suffering flood damage during the term of a 30-year mortgage. For these reasons, flood insurance is required as a condition of receiving Federal or federally backed financing.
Watershed & Flood Protection