Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

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mikestorm
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Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by mikestorm » Sun Mar 30, 2014 10:30 am

I received a letter from my town today, essentially telling me that the flood hazard zone boundaries in the town have been revised by FEMA. As luck would have it, the redrawn boundaries of the 100 year flood zone intersect with a very small portion of my property. The portion of my property is less than (I'd say) 10%. To make matters worse, it just happens to be the one spot of my property that's not 'yard'. It's overgrowth woodland from the conservation land behind my property. Even if it did flood, I wouldn't do a thing. No part of any structure on the property or even the septic leech field is in the boundary. Images below to illustrate. My question is, does anyone know if this will immediately obligate me to obtain flood insurance? Thanks in advance.



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apk
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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by apk » Sun Mar 30, 2014 11:39 am

Do you have a mortgage? If you do, then you will have to have flood insurance. The amount of flood insurance you must carry depends on the size of your mortgage. The lower your mortgage, the lower coverage you must carry. If you are mortgage free, then you don't have to have flood insurance.

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greenspam
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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by greenspam » Sun Mar 30, 2014 11:45 am

Exact same thing happened to me, in fact, if the line were drawn with a finer pen, none of my property would have been in the FZ.
Now I do have to pay flood insurance.
I have heard you can appeal/hire a surveyor but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

When Sandy hit (which they say is a thousand year not hundred yr storm) the water got pretty darn close so maybe its a blessing to be required to have flood insurance hey ya never know...
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WhyNotUs
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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by WhyNotUs » Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:17 pm

Is there any other designation on other parts of your property FEMA uses zones (a letter or combination of letters) that add info to the designation.
You have a couple of choices

You can read your mortgage insurance requirements and try to figure it out.
You can present your situation to the mortgage company- no insured structures in zone, what the zone is- and ask if the terms of mortgage require it.
If you determine that you need to buy insurance and do not wish to, then inspect the area defined as in the 100 year event boundary to see if its topography is different that the adjacent areas (higher) or that the entire area around it is higher than they might have anticipated in the map, then you can pursue a map change. Not a small task
Or, just buy insurance.

If the house is higher than the area in question and there are no structures in the mapped area it may not be too great of a risk but insurance manages that risk.

If you decide to do landscaping or change topography in the area adjacent to the flood zone, make sure you understand the implications first.
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livesoft
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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by livesoft » Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:44 pm

I have known someone who makes these maps for more than 30 years. You won't like my comments, but the maps are conservative because everyone [complains -- admin LadyGeek] about them. I would get flood insurance in your case unless that line was along a cliff. But that doesn't answer your question of whether the you will be required to get flood insurance. Why don't you ask the local authorities about that and remove all doubt?

Also, I experienced Sandy personally. It was not a thousand-year event. It was more like a 10 to 20 year event. Remember hurricane Gloria? Folks don't like to be told the truth, so everyone wears rose-colored glasses. There will be another Sandy, Gloria, whatever it is called to wreak havoc on Long Island in the next 20 years.
Last edited by livesoft on Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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srd178
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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by srd178 » Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:46 pm

The gov't sought to shift more of the tax burden to middle class flood area home owners, after caving to commercial REIT and other high end real estate lobbyists. There are a number of articles on this:

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigati ... its-n25901
http://www.nbc-2.com/story/25093875/fbi ... flood-maps

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mikestorm
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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by mikestorm » Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:06 pm

Thanks for the replies so far. One thing I didn't mention is the offending body of water is a very small bog which dries up completely come August of every year. I don't live close to the ocean or any major body of water.

There's a meeting on the 10tth where we can speak with representatives of FEMA. Wanted to go armed with as much conventional wisdom as I can.

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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by livesoft » Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:12 pm

I'm sure a civil engineering firm would love to take your money in order to "raise" or remediate that corner of your property out of the flood zone. :)
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Ron
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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by Ron » Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:04 pm

livesoft wrote:I'm sure a civil engineering firm would love to take your money in order to "raise" or remediate that corner of your property out of the flood zone. :)

If it is a bog, then it is probably part of a designated wetlands, as shown on some survey document. In our area of the country, any attempt to fill in wetlands can cause you get into trouble with the local zoning authorities and subject you to a fine, along with returning the land to its primary use as a natural "drain".

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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by livesoft » Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:05 pm

True, unless one is well connected politically. :) But then, if one is well-connected, they could also have that FZ map re-drawn easily.
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rustyjim
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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by rustyjim » Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:55 pm

I had a similar situation about 10 years ago. I had built a couple duplexes on lots not in the flood zone. FEMA maps were changed and a small portion of the lots were now in the flood zone. Banks with the mortgage now wanted flood insurance. I went to the local surveyor and he prepared an elevation certificate and a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) and sent that to FEMA for its approval. They approved it. The LOMA shows that the buildings elevation is of sufficient height that the flood map is amended for our lots. I sent the LOMA information to the banks and they said flood insurance is not required. All is good. Hope this helps.
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August
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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by August » Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:25 pm

I have seen the damage that floods can cause, not only from large events like Sandy and Irene, but also from smaller rain storms or snow melts. I also recommend the OP check his homeowner's insurance for sump pump/drain overflow endorsements (if a basement is present).

To save costs on flood insurance, it is possible to purchase building only coverage or to take a higher deductible. Keep in mind FEMA Flood insurance will not cover additional living expenses if a flood causes the home to be unlivable.

Rather than try to avoid purchasing the insurance, I would instead ask myself if I am financially prepared to suffer a total flood loss. If the answer is no, I'd buy the insurance.

SDBoggled
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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by SDBoggled » Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:30 pm

Surveyor and elevation measurement was well worth the $300? dollars to me... resulted in ~80% ongoing reduction in flood premium.

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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by granpa » Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:48 pm

Same experience, same results as rustyjim in my case. . . . .

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mikestorm
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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by mikestorm » Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:33 pm

August wrote:Rather than try to avoid purchasing the insurance, I would instead ask myself if I am financially prepared to suffer a total flood loss. If the answer is no, I'd buy the insurance.


Understood, but my objective is actually trying to avoid the insurance requirement, not necessarily the insurance itself.

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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by Culture » Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:41 pm

I do this for a living. What matters is if your structure is in the flood zone, not if your lot is in the flood zone. Even then, it only matters what the elevation of the building is relative to the base flood elevation. Think of it this way. You are on a 1000 acre lot, and a small corner of the lot 2000 feet away from your house is in the flood zone. Do you think FEMA cares :-)?

As others have said, if you are that close, get the incredibly cheap and subsidized flood insurance you can get since you are not in the flood zone per the map. You likely are in the flood zone in reality.

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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:44 pm

I'm another LOMA satisfied customer, so let me add to the pile here.

All it took was a surveyor to show that the lowest part of my basement was at least 25' higher than the elevation of the creek touching my property line. Once I had the LOMA, I submitted the letter to my mortgage company and requested to be removed from the obligation to pay for flood insurance. They acceded to my request.

The process: Letter of Map Amendment & Letter of Map Revision-Based on Fill Process
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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by chw » Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:38 pm

I used to work for one of the large mortgage companies. If I recall, is only a portion of the land, but not the structure is in the flood zone, you may not have to get flood insurance. I would make sure to work with senior person in the insurance area at the mortgage company to make sure they understand that only a portion of the land is in a flood plain.

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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by donall » Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:58 pm

I think the suggestions for pursuing a LOMA are excellent. A few more ideas:
- I seem to recall that if FEMA's changed flood boundaries that affect you, then there are a couple of years that premiums can be reduced.
- Also you may be able to de-annex your land that is in the flood zone.
- If you are now in a flood zone, perhaps you can reduce your property taxes due to the new classification.

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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by IlliniDave » Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:17 pm

I had a similar corner clip on my property when a map was crudely revised in 2012. My structure was above the "line". A group of neighbors hired an engineering firm to actually survey the neighborhood and submit LOMAs for those of us who were clearly outside the flood zone based on the measured data, as I was. Even with no mortgage and being clear of the zone, I still carry flood insurance. For $330/year I feel better. A flood that exceeds the 100-year mark by four feet will be lapping my slab. Dunno the probability of that occurring.

The main thing for me was getting the property out of a zone it doesn't belong in because I intend to downsize in a few years and being in the 100-year zone would hurt the sale value, especially if the flood hazard insurance rates eventually jump as they threatened to, due to withdrawn subsidies.
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August
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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by August » Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:42 pm

Being in a "100 year flood zone" basically means there is a 1% chance of the area flooding in any given year.

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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by vveat » Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:56 pm

We have the same issue with a corner of the backyard falls in the flood zone. This is one of my biggest pet peeves
- the mortgage companies insists on us having flood coverage for the same value as the home insurance, and not a penny less (regardless of the fact that our mortgage principal is way smaller)
- our flood insurance premium until now was ~$2000 a year. For comparison, the home insurance premium is ~$600 a year. I am now awaiting the renewal letter with fear as I heard all flood premiums are significantly increased since not subsidized anymore
- we've had the house for 9 years, we lived through Irene and Sandy and never got flooded due to luck of course but also terrain and soil/drainage specifics. However, most of our neighbors to the west (nearer the creek) did get flooded and I don't think the LOMA will show what we need elevation-wise. A few years ago when I checked it would cost me about $1500 for the assessment
By now it's an emotional decision for me. I don't think we are threatened by a total flood loss (we are close to a creek, not an ocean), and at the rate of $2000 premiums a year, and the limited coverage that FEMA offers, I think we'll be much better self-insuring. So I plan to payoff the mortgage in 1-2 years, despite the attractive 2.75% rate

If the flood premiums were $300 a year or so as for some other commenters I would have felt differently I suppose

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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by Watty » Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:01 pm

You should get the survey done and then decide what to do. Eventually when you sell the house someday you will probably need to have a survey done anyway.

My experience with having to get flood insurance after the maps were redrawn might be of interest to you.

This was back in the 1990's and I had a house that was outside the zone where flood insurance was required and the maps were redrawn so I was in the flood zone. I don't recall if there was ever any official notification or not but nobody said that I had to get flood insurance and I was under the impression that if flood insurance was not required when you got your mortgage then you would not be required to get it because of flood maps changed. The rules may have changed since then.

A few years later I refinanced and as part of the refinance I had to either get the flood insurance or have a survey done. I decided to just get the flood insurance since it would have been real close as to if a survey would said I was in the flood zone or not.

The house was on top of a small hill that was about 15 to 20 feet above a seasonal pond that was dry about four months of the year. About a quarter mile past that there was a small river that was usually only about 20 feet wide and not very deep.

About four years later an unusual weather pattern developed where there was a hard freeze for a week or more, then snow especially in the foothills upstream, and then a weather system called the pineapple express dumped heavy rain for several days in a row that melted the snow and caused flooding. Even though the house was sandbagged the water in the crawlspace was within six inches of the floor. The damages was not too bad but the heating ducts, insulation, and vapor barrier had to be replaced which the flood insurance paid for. If the water had been six inches higher then there would have been major damage.

The 20 foot wide river was more than a half a mile wide during the flood.

Having gone through that I may be biased but what I would do is to get the survey done to show the building is in a lower risk zone and then buy the flood insurance at a reduced price because it is in a lower risk area. Remember if the survey shows that you are in a 200 year flood area then if you live there for 20 years there will be a ten percent chance you will be flooded while you live there.

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mikestorm
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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by mikestorm » Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:33 pm

Just wanted to bring everyone up to speed.

I met with a FEMA representative on the 10th. They examined my property and recommended I complete a Letter of Map Ammendment. They said that even eyeballing my property it is clear that the revised flood zone doesn't touch any structure, so they suggested I go the 'Out as Shown' LOMA route. This negates the need for a survey or anything like that.

I do have to wait for the revised flood maps to go into effect before I can do anything, however. That doesn't happen till the first week of July, so I must sit on my hands till then. I'm reassured by the LOMA rep's sentiment that I shouldn't have any problems.

Will resurrect this thread in a few months when I am eligible to submit the LOMA and hear back from FEMA.

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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by Dulocracy » Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:40 am

While not necessary in your situation, others may benefit from this idea: If the property is large enough, you can divide it into separate lots. You would first want to see what the tax implications would be for property tax, but dividing a parcel to separate undesirable elements is not an uncommon practice. Again, however, you have to weigh costs and benefits.

(There are situations where if any of a piece of property is declared to be a part of a protected habitat, local ordinances would make building impossible. There are times when one part of the property is on a superfund site, and the owner cannot begin construction until it is clean. Many circumstances, it may make sense to divide the property to get out from under red tape. Yes, this is legal. IMPORTANT NOTE: This does not relieve the owner from fixing any problems (ie superfund sites), it just allows the un-affected portion of the property to be used. A real-life example would be timberland where someone illegally dumped on the land... the owner has to clean it up (debate whether this is right or not elsewhere), but cannot afford it. Cutting timber would allow for it, but there is an order preventing it. Divide the property and the land can be cut. The owner still must clean up the site. Make sense?)

Similar concept. Divide the property and you still have to maintain the obligations, but a portion of the land is now free of the previous restrictions.
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mikestorm
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Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Post by mikestorm » Tue Sep 23, 2014 3:43 pm

Well, July rolled around and the flood maps updated. I swung into action and immediately submitted my LOMA-OAS application. Took two months but thankfully was approved. Just downloaded my ammendment certificate from the website and I'm all set. Now I'm looking into flood insurance premiums, which thanks to the amendment should be much cheaper.

EDIT: A few folks in this thread may benefit from the route I took. If the flood zone clearly doesn't touch the structure, then an elevation certificate shouldn't be needed and the Out As Shown LOMA application is all that's needed. Google "LOMA-OAS" for more info. May save you a few hundred for the surveyor.

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