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According to FEMA, My House Is Suddenly In A Flood Zone?

June 1, 2011 · 422 comments

in Commentary, Home & Garden

Special note:  There is a wealth of information in the comments section of this post regarding this issue.  Thank you to the great readers who took the time to share their experience and suggestions.

We have lived in our house since 2001.   Out of the blue, I received a notification in the mail from our mortgage bank stating that I now live in a FEMA designated flood zone (Zone X).  Of course, there is very little information about when this was decided.  All the note said was that if I did not provide proof of flood insurance, the bank would purchase flood insurance for our home.  The best part is it would cost $2400 per year for the policy they were going to buy on our behalf.

What a deal!

We Are One of Two Unlucky Houses….

I figured this must be a mistake.  Why would my house suddenly be in a flood plain after all these years?  I then went to the FEMA website to look up our address on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).  Lo and behold, our house in indeed in a flood zone.

The interesting part is that there are only two houses in the neighborhood in a flood plain, ours being one of them. (Our subdivision is 1 mile x 1 mile, so pretty darn big.)    This seems crazy to me because our house is located on a slope at about the midpoint of a hill.  I know nothing about water tables, but I would think that the houses at the bottom of the slope would be at a higher risk of flooding than us.  But, nope, those houses are in the clear, as are the houses on either side of us.

How We Will Fight Our Flood Zone Determination

So, our next step is to either buy flood insurance, or fight the flood designation.  I contacted FEMA and informed them I would like to dispute our property being included in a flood zone.  FEMA emailed me a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) form that has the term “EZ” in the title.  However, the whole process appears to be anything but easy.  According to the instructions, I will have to submit the following, in addition to the EZ form:

“One copy of the subdivision plat map (with recordation data and stamp of the Recorder’s Office) or a copy of the property deed (with recordation data and stamp of the Recorder’s Office), accompanied by a tax assessor’s map or other suitable map showing the surveyed location of the property with respect to local streets and watercourses; a copy of the effective FIRM panel; and a map scale and North arrow for all maps submitted.”

After I uncover and submit all the documents, FEMA will then review our flood designation and let us know their decision. (Apparently, some information can be obtained from a ‘map repository’, wherever that is.)  In the mean time, our bank may decide to purchase the flood insurance in the interim and we have no way of stopping that from happening, unless we buy flood insurance ourselves.

If our plea is rejected by FEMA, we will have to hire a surveyor to come in and evaluate if our home is built above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) or not.   If it is, we will obtain an Elevation Certificate and send that to FEMA for review.  If we truly are in a flood plain, we will just have to accept it and buy the insurance.

Update:  We recently received a letter stating we were now in Flood Zone A. I called the City Engineer, who said our home was still in Flood Zone X. I discussed with him how I had to buy insurance the year previously for Zone X and he was in shock. He said that FEMA does not require insurance for Zone X, and the person I called at the State level said the same thing. However, since the bank is who is requiring it, I have no choice. Anyway, our City Engineer spoke with someone at FEMA who said the map was wrong and that we truly were Zone X. However, it will take FEMA 120 days to fix the map, and so I will have to buy insurance for Zone A myself and get refunded the difference between Zone X and Zone A when the maps are revised. What a mess.

Got Any Tips On How To Fight FEMAs Decision?

Have you ever been told you need flood insurance suddenly?  If so, did you actually buy flood insurance, or did you fight it successfully?

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{ 419 comments… read them below or add one }

Crystal @ BFS June 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Wow, this sucks! I am so sorry. I really can’t help – we live in Houston, so even though we aren’t technically in a flood plain, we buy flood insurance every year anyway through the state for $320 just because we could flood anyway during a big hurricane.

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Kris June 2, 2011 at 10:01 pm

BFS- I imagine those living in hurricane prone areas would want flood insurance. I like your price a lot better than the price the mortgage bank is quoting me.

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Squirrelers June 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Wow, that’s not cool. A big unexpected expense like that would annoy me too.

Wish I could offer specific advice here, but I can only suggest that maybe you try to find cases of where people successfully appealed and learn from the approach. Maybe a surveyor could help? Or, perhaps there is some legal representation you can get for this?

Here’s hoping you can eventually post a story about how you successfully changed the flood zone status of your home.
Squirrelers recently posted..How Many Shoes Do You Buy Annually

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Kris June 2, 2011 at 10:00 pm

I am really excited to hopefully post a success story on how I fought and beat FEMA.

Next week I will be talking to an attorney that did get his home removed from the flood map.

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Cindy rasmussen July 28, 2011 at 12:40 am

What did you learn from the arty? We have same problem; conflict g FEMA. Maps & lender stuck us with an eøensive pomicy which we are fighting.. Any advice???

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Sandy H @ Journey To Our Home June 1, 2011 at 8:52 pm

It sounds incredibly crazy that your house would be in a flood zone, but not your direct neighbors? How do they even decide these things. It sounds completely random, someone was bored at the office and threw a few darts?

Good luck!
Sandy H @ Journey To Our Home recently posted..Goals Update- May- 2011

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Kris June 2, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Sandy, I totally don’t get it either. Like I said, my subdivision is huge, 1 square mile and there are 2 houses in a flood zone. I think a dart board would be too scientific…

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Money Reasons June 1, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Wow, what a pain! Seems very unfair to me…

Good luck, I have no experience in matters like that, I hope you change their minds!
Money Reasons recently posted..Debt Reduction and the 3 Steps For Creating a Repayment Plan That Is Almost Fun

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Kris June 2, 2011 at 9:58 pm

MR- thanks for the luck, I have a feeling I am going to need that and a lot of patience.

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retirebyforty June 2, 2011 at 2:19 am

Jeez, that sounds crazy. They bank probably went through the flood map to protect their investment. Hopefully you’ll get it straighten out.
retirebyforty recently posted..Memorial Day Roundup

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Kris June 2, 2011 at 9:56 pm

RB40- Apparently this map was updated in April, so the bank wasted no time in wanted to slap some flood insurance warning on us. Unfortunately, it is a long process, so I am sure I am going to get stuck buying some insurance for at least a little while.

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MoneyCone June 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Ouch! That is crazy! I can only imagine the insurance premiums going up. Hopefully you’ll get a favorable response from FEMA.
MoneyCone recently posted..No Time For Fine Prints 10 Questions You Need To Ask Your Bank

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Kris June 2, 2011 at 9:45 pm

MC- It is crazy! It is just so frustrating. I also want to be off the flood zone list for resale purposes.

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South County Girl June 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm

That is just pure crazy. I would say it would be a mistake since your neighbors on either side of you are not affected…

Call around for rates… don’t let the bank decide how much coverage you do and don’t get…
South County Girl recently posted..Weekly Spending- Debt Update &amp Fresh and Easy

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Kris June 6, 2011 at 11:42 pm

I am making a call tomorrow to take the next step in the process. I hate when dumb decisions cause an emergency for me.

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Mike June 8, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Got hit with that problem from FEMA and my surveyor was real slow. I am now paying an extra $100 a month for flood insurance. Finally the surveyor came through and I am not in a flood plain. I called Met Life home loans and they refuse to change it so I am stuck with this unless I refinance. There is a creek on my property and I live on a cliff about 60 feet above the creek. If it floods here we are all in trouble. Wish I had other options.

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Kris June 9, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Oh Mike, that is terrible. I can’t believe that Met Life won’t remove it, that seems illegal. Did you send the info from the surveyor to FEMA? If so, did you present that to info to Met Life?

Tomorrow I am headed to the city to get some maps and such. Fun.

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Mike June 17, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I have been fighting the same thing since April with Wells Fargo. They did the same thing to me but, from what I can tell, I am not in a flood zone according to the FEMA maps and confirmed with a survey. Wells too would not change their determination. If you complete the LOMA forms and get the determination from FEMA then your mortgage company MUST accept the FEMA determination. I am waiting on that now. I would say go ahead and get the elevation survey. 1) It will make the LOMA an easier process and I think it is required for the LOMA. 2) With the elevations you will get cheaper insurance. Most likely, as part of you deed of trust, you agreed to supply any insurance that your mortgage company requires. So they can require you to have flood insurance even if you are not in a flood zone (depending on their internal policies and good luck getting those). Also, most mortgage companies will take out an insurance binder the minute they decide you are in a flood zone. Then when you decide to get your own insurance, arrange and get a survey, shop prices, etc. You will get a bill for the period of time from the beginning of the binder until your insurance effective date. The bill will be at their rates not what you can get on the open market. Let me know if you have other questions and I will try to answer them. Good Luck.

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Kris June 20, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I did buy some flood insurance for $405 for the year, just to hold me over until I can get this straightened out. The bank said it would cost up to $2400 because of the policy they would have to get. I don’t want them in charge of my money, so I just bought the policy and will get a refund when I prove I am not in a flood zone. (Hopefully)

Thanks so much for your insightful comment. Good luck with your situation too, and I hope your mortgage bank is not run by idiots.

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Shirley Holt November 10, 2012 at 12:04 am

i have a sister that has been paying $300.00 a year along with all of her neighbors.
She lives on Paradise Road , Modesto Ca 95358 in September she was told when she was at Wells Fargo Bank regarding her loan, that her FEMA Flood Ins. would be now $3200.00 year. She would like to know why. She was recently devoriced and the property was awarded to her. Is there a way she can appeal this decision with FEMA. and how do you go about it.

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George Kasimos March 27, 2013 at 11:57 pm

They have made a mess of things in New Jersey. FEMA released the flood maps to “help” us.

Ronald Reagan said the scariest thing for a US citizen to hear are “We are from the government and we are here to help you”. I get it now!

Please join us.

http://www.StopFemaNow.com

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Tony June 20, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Same boat as you. Our house has been zone X since 1968. Got the call two weeks ago that we’re now zone AE. We’ve been paying $350 a year since we bought the house in 2009. Now they want $3500. Although our creek is a flood zone, the house is outside the line, and FEMA agrees, our mortgage company (Wells Fargo) will make us get a flood plain survey and fill out the necessary (LOMA) forms. I only hope that we don’t wind up having to pay both. Good Luck in your plight/ fight. I think the certified surveyor will fill out the LOMA as part of the service.

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Mike June 20, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Tony, my situation is ditto to yours with Wells. I got nowhere arguing with them that my home was outside the AE zone. Even though the StayDry utility from FEMA clearly showed my home was in Zone X. Wells Fargo sent me a map that they created and it showed me in zone AE. I went so far as hiring an attorney and they got nowhere with Wells Fargo. Now that I know there are two of us, I wonder how many others they have done this to. I am currently waiting to receive my LOMA letter from FEMA to put back into zone X but I have had to buy insurance, pay for a survey, spend my time and pay an attorney.

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Kris June 20, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Even though I bought flood insurance last week, I just got a lender-based policy that Bank of America took out on our behalf. The policy they took out is 6 times more expensive than the one I purchased. Now I have to go fight that battle since I already bought a policy to hold us over.

Spending all the time and money on this is going to drive me crazy. Sorry I am not alone…

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Tony June 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Kris,

How can they purchase you insurance, if the flood policy you have fulfills the obligations of your mortgage? If an insurance company has written you a policy, the NFIP has underwritten it, and FEMA has approved it. Here’s a copy of a letter I sent to Wells Fargo. I haven’t heard back from them yet, but it pretty much says, what I’d love to say in court

That is a my property. Although the creek, at the rear of my property, is an AE Zone, FEMA, the NFIP, State Farm, and CoreLogic Flood Services have made the determination that my structure is not in the AE Zone and is well within the Zone X500. The renewal of my $250,000 Flood insurance Policy was done effective June 3, 2011 and was underwritten by NFIP and approved by FEMA. That is a testament to the location of the structure, in relation to the AE Zone.
After speaking with my FEMA representative, he informed me that the policy would not have been written, as low risk, if the structure was in AE. He said “FEMA, not Banks, writes and reads the maps.”

As the first notice from Wells Fargo (dated March 14,2011) was based on an erroneously recorded deed to the wrong address, by Wells Fargo, and my property remains insured to the flood requirements of my mortgage obligation , I hope this will put to rest this debacle of harassment from Wells Fargo. As long as the property remains insured, why does Wells Fargo want me to pay six times more for the same coverage?

Sincerely, Anthony Merendino jr

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Kris June 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm

What an absolute mess. I think in our situation, the two policies were taken out at the same time basically. So, the bank didn’t know I had purchased my own policy and they then took out their own. I totally don’t understand these ridiculous lender flood policies either.

When do you think you will get a final answer? In my opinion, you should be reimbursed for any charges you have incurred for this ridiculous situation, although I am sure that is just a pipe dream. I appreciate you returning and sharing more information. One more question- does living near a creek make you want to get get flood insurance? Do you have any history of flooding? In my case, we have had a ridiculously rainy spring, and we have not had any issues this year, or any year.

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Mike June 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I just got off the phone and according to FEMA you are entitled to a refund of your flood insurance premiums if a LOMA determines you not to be in a special flood hazard zone.

There is a creek that is directly behind my home and that is what is causing my flood hazard. I have been in my home for 12 years and never flooded. It has never been close.

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Nancy August 30, 2011 at 4:37 pm

There’s a lawyer taking on class action lawsuits for these flood plain complaints. google “being overcharged for flood insurance in PA”.

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Mike August 11, 2012 at 10:10 am

Add me to the list. One year later. Any success from you I can leverage?

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sue January 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Tony y,

We have the same story. When we brought the house we paid $350 for flood insurance, but we just refiance to save money and now the new bank says that Fema updated map and now we are required to pay $3500 for flood insurance. Of course you cannot shop for rates because all insurance it is controlled Fema. Then I hired engineers to LOMA which I got because chatting with our neighbor who had to go thru the same thing and now we waiting for the lender approval to honer the LOMA that the gov’t issued to being with. What happens if the lender says you are still required by law to get govt controlled flood insurance $ 3500 even if FEMA gave LOMA grant to get you out

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George Kasimos March 28, 2013 at 12:23 am

Same thing in NJ.

My flood insurance was $1,000 a year and going to $15,000 a year. Some of my neighbors are going as high as $30,000 a year.

Do the politicians realize what the implications of this are going to be on the housing market?

Please join us so we can collectively fight this togother.

http://www.StopFemaNow.com

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South Creek June 30, 2011 at 6:20 am

I am just getting acquainted with this FEMA mess. Keep the dialogue going. I need help to reverse my situation. I am purchasing a home that the maps appears to show the house is in a good location but the barn is not.

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Kris July 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm

So just your barn is in the flood zone? Now that I am back from vacation, I am going to pursue this aggressively. I did buy a policy to hold me over, but I want to be taken off the flood map and get a refund on my policy. I will document my process for sure.

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Christine January 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Oh my Kris…I am so going mad…My husband took a job in Fla. over a year ago. I live in Ohio. We put our home on the market, after 6-7 long months we finally got a decent offer. Everything was going well for the most part, until lender declined the loan due to a FEMA flood zone came up. Back in 1997 there was an issue due to a drain ditch by my house the problem was resolved and our home was removed from the so called flood zone. In 2008 they went ahead and slapped a new Flood zone on my house, which it sits higher then all the other homes around me. They never INFORMED ME!!! Now I l gave everything away,winter clothes , furniture, snow blower.I spent money to pay contractors to fix anything that went wrong on home inspection. Now I cant even sell my home. Buyer backed away, 2 weeks before closing date. My husband and I have been apart for over a year now. I miss my family being together. Who is going to buy a house on a “So called flood zone”…can anyone help me defeat this FEMA fraud that is being consuming us home owners?!?!

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Mike January 6, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Christine,

It sounds like you will have to do two things.
1) You will have to get an elevation survey. In my area this is about $300.00 so not too bad.
2) Once you get the survey, you can file for a Letter of Map Amendment (“LOMA”) with FEMA. There is a simple document on the FEMA website to complete and some additional documents to collect. You send in the application, documents and a copy of the survey to FEMA and 60 to 90 days later they will issue a letter stating their findings and amend the map as needed.

If you home is above the base flood elevations you should not be found to be within the special flood hazard zone.

Also, there may be some firms that you can hire to complete the survey and file the LOMA application electronically which speeds up the processing time.

Hope this helps. Good Luck!!!

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George Kasimos March 28, 2013 at 12:26 am

How has the LOMA worked out for you?

We just received advisory flood maps for our neighborhood.

If we do not raise our home, we were reclassified in the dreaded V zone, then our flood insurance will rise from $1,000 a year to $15,000 a year. (there are no typos there, fifteen thousand a year).

We can’t appeal until the maps are finalized which will be a year or two.

Please join us to fight this collectively.

http://www.facebook.com/StopFemaNow
http://www.StopFemaNow.com
twitter # StopFemaNow

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Kris January 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Mike gave some good suggestions. However, what if you offered to pay for the flood insurance for a year and start the process of fighting it, would that get the buyer back?

I am so sorry this happened to you. I know the process takes awhile, is there any way you could convince the prospective buyer? Have you ever had a house flood? FEMA is hurting so many people. We had some terrible rains this past fall and people all over metro Detroit flooded, but we were fine, and we are one of the few in a stupid flood zone.

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vicki July 4, 2011 at 7:27 pm

This is all a scam. All these big banks took bail out money from the government…now FEMA is
in the red for 18.5 billion…this is why we’re all getting screwed.

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Kris July 5, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Vicki- I couldn’t agree with you more. Somebody has to pay for this mess of debt, and we will also slowly pay for things in a variety of ways.

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sue January 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I agree that it all scam run Fema and Banks.
refinance to save money, fema updated map without publice knowledge except for the bank who now tell us that we are required by to purchase flood insurance that cost $3500 . You can not even shop for flood insurance because we are told that the FEMA controls the pricing on flood insurance.
So as told by my neighbors we a hired engineers to finally LOMA thanks FEMA, who started this mess. But now I am pacing back and forth waiting for bank approve this LOMA that FEMA granted.
Note that bank can still required us to get flood insurance then why bother hiring engineers and pay $300 ELOMA ( apply on the internet) so that banks can just ingored???? Note our property never gets flood our brook far away is running down hill.
How on earth are we ever sell this house in the future??

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Anil January 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm

We are buying this house which touches a flood plain. I have no idea about what it was. My sales agent disclosed and explained it could be mandatory but its going to be 20-30$/month. I went ahead and signed. Now when I am closing and called for a quote I see 4903/yr without an elevation certificate. They built the house with 1 ft higher than base elevation. I can try to get a elevation certificate.

I researched around and intend to apply for LOMA once we move in. What happened in your case SUE? Did the lender honor FEMA granted?

I am very worried. Should I even proceed? If I let go I will lose so much of my earnest deposit.

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Chase February 6, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Vicki, you are so correct…..this is all a giant scam conceived by FEMA to rake in millions ( maybe billions ?) from working class Americans.
I too got re-zoned in a special flood zone, after living in my home for 17 years and never remotely under threat of a flood, and my Mortgage lender, Bank of America, quickly tacked on a yearly 3600.00 policy onto my mortgage payment. This scam was so well thought out and so quickly executed, I bet the person who came up with it got a huge bonus for the year. The way I see it, since the earth is 3/4 water, we are all basically in a flood zone, so I wonder if all FEMA workers are paying their “special flood insurance.”

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chris August 8, 2013 at 10:08 pm

in the same boat except the boat is not needed.my house sits higher than the dam .I believe the reason is a private company …corelogic a privet company. buying interest in mortgage insurance . when I called FEMA they said it was up to the banks interpertation . there info comes from CORELOGIC . a privet company

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Chuck August 6, 2014 at 11:02 am

FEMA= Federal Extortion Money Agency. They are going to kill us.

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Kris M July 14, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I am from southwest PA and I too have a creek running through my yard and received a letter from PNC much the same as you are describing. PNC however told my husband and I that it would be added to the principal of the loan and we would have to pay interest on that amount as well. I don’t beleive any of this should be legal but can not fight it.

I unfortunately do not have the money to pay for a years worth of insurance($2,000 according to my agent) due to being laid off. Therefore, I suppose I have no choice but to let the bank add it to my loan. Of course, I don’t have the money to get the survey done. Not that it will probably help me seeing as how if you can’t fight city hall how in the world are you going to fight the federal government right?

I may try to find out who my representative is and try pleading my case to him/her not that they will care because I am not a lobbyist with lots of money to line their pockets.

I will be keeping an eye on this site to see if any answers come up so please keep the info coming. And, I agree with Kris and Vicki that we are paying because the government needs money. I would just like to know how an idiot in Washington sitting at his desk looking at a topographical map of my area decided I live in an AE flood zone all of a sudden after this house has been here for literally 100 years and flooded once due to man made error not mother nature? I know this because my family has lived here for a really long time.

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Kris July 14, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I don’t know how these desk people have any idea about how our homes are suddenly in flood plains. I will definitely be updating this site with my progress.

I had called my insurance company, and he was able to get me a policy for $400 that fully covers what was required from my mortgage bank. However, while that policy was in process, I got another letter from Bank of America saying exactly what you did, they were adding the new policy to my mortgage loan. Only their loan was $2000 more than the loan I took out, totally a rip off.

When you said you called your agent, was it your homeowner’s agent?

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Paul H January 29, 2013 at 8:35 pm

“all of a sudden after this house has been here for literally 100 years and flooded once due to man made error not mother nature? I know this because my family has lived here for a really long time.”

Zone A is generally determined based on the 0.01% probability that a rainfall event will occur in a given year. This is commonly referred to as the 100-year event – that is, on average, flooding will occur over Zone A areas about once per 100-years. So it seems that your place might be properly classified as in the flood zone.

Man-made errors? I guess I cannot think of what this would be. It seems that your house must at least be at very high risk if it has flooded in the past.

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FJF July 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Google the class action lawsuits all over the country against Wells Fargo and other Banks regarding excessive flood insurance requirements, which under Federal Law are illegal.

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Kris July 14, 2011 at 10:12 pm

I did do that, and I saw a lot of people complaining about Bank of America (my bank). The flood zone assessment sure seems to be prevalent. Heading to the city tomorrow as one of my first steps.

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Kris M July 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Yes it was my homeowners agent. I use the same agent for homeowners & auto. He’s really great but unfortunately having trouble finding me a company that will accept payments. I got my second letter from the bank today. This is the first time they mentioned that I could fight this amazing huh? I did call a toll free number I got online and they gave me numbers for some local agents. I’m going to call them Monday. They are from the bigger insurance companies which of course my agent can’t deal with(State Farm, Nationwide…). My agent deals with places like Geiko and Progressive that don’t have their own agents I guess. I think I’m going to have no choice but to let the bank do what their going to do because today’s letter said I have 15 days now to prove I have this insurance and as I said I can’t come up with $2000. My agent said if he could find me a company that would accept payments I’d be looking at $400 which I would find some way of paying but so far no luck. I’ll be looking for other avenues for insurance but not real hopeful.

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Kris July 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Kris- My homeowner’s agent said that flood insurance is usually purchased through a federal program NFIP. If purchased through NFIP, the rates are the same no matter what agency you use. So my Nationwide agent just got the rate through NFIP and I paid $400 for my annual coverage. (Which was much better than what the bank was quoting me – $2400.)

Couldn’t you just call State Farm or Nationwide and take a policy out through them?

Here is a link about NFIP: http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/residential_coverage/understanding_the_basics.jsp

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Darnell Clements July 27, 2012 at 3:56 am

I am experiencing similar issues with insurance they want to increase my flood premium from $1200.00 to $5000.00. I got ceritficates and surveys and they would only go down to $3400.00.

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Donna July 26, 2011 at 12:00 am

This happened to me this year. My house was built in the 60′s and I’ve lived in it for many years. All of a sudden…Flood zone. The wild part is that FEMA will be back through at the end of the year and I WON’T be in the flood zone. I think FEMA is trying to increase their funds by coming up with some new flood areas. The bank was $980 and the insurance through floodsmart.gov (they list agents who will write your policy) was $650. Many agents don’t write the policies. It has happened to other homes on my street and this is very hard to fight. IYou may want to call your City offices and find out if FEMA is coming back through to revise the map. FEMA is coming back to our area in December or January and they will be using accurate data this time, and I have been informed I will be out of the flood zone at that time. Crazy isn’t it?

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Kris July 26, 2011 at 9:35 am

Thanks for the info Donna. The city is on my list of places to visit, that is for sure. I will provide updates!

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Gregg August 16, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I just received a letter yesterday stating I need flood insurance. I will be disputing the claim since my house is on the top of a mountain. the last time I checked water runs down hill.

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Kris August 16, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I am at the top of a hill, but I guess FEMA doesn’t care. I went to visit the Engineering Department of our city yesterday, and he said that FEMA didn’t actually have ‘proof’ I was in a flood zone, it was just suspected based on how it was coded. However, he said a surveyor would cost $800 to $1200. Not many great choices out there, but I will battle on.

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Nancy August 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Kris you have to hire a surveyor & he has to fill out the LOMA form for FEMA. Find one that has experience in surveying Flood Plains. Do a google search using those words. We just paid a guy $500 & my property is large & complicated.

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daniel August 17, 2011 at 11:50 pm

First of all, I get sick and tired of hearing people complain about bank bailouts and they do business with Bank of America, Chase etc. Dump them, and get a mortgage with a credit union. I too have been sent a lovely note from FEMA changing my property from x to ae. Never mind that four hurricanes came through here and no flooding, somehow now with their magical maps, I need to start building Noah’s ark 2. It’s such B.S. I went to the town hall meeting and they give you a map and of course they have a table set up to sell you insurance along with an area to file a complaint/dispute with FEMA. The best part is, sure you can dispute their assessment moving you into a flood zone as long as you pay a processing fee of a minimum of 425 dollars (up to around 800 dollars) and after you hire a surveyor or engineer to state that the elevation of your property is above 75 feet they MAY exempt your property from Flood insurance. Hah, what a scam, doncha just love government? They have endless ways they can spend YOUR money. I’m so glad I paid off the house in January, they can take their flood insurance and FIRM report and FIRMLY put it where the sun doesn’t shine.

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Wilma February 14, 2012 at 1:32 am

Daniel – I have a question about getting a mortgage to a credit union. Is it better than any other banks or are they not going to sell the loan again to a government? We are actually thinking of getting rid off the regular bank and do a mortgage with the credit union. Any advise???

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Lisa August 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I am going through the same problem with now being place in a flood zone. I live in FL. There were new maps completed in 2002 by FEMA designating the flood zones ( I was placed in X) as well in 2008 there was a Letter of Revalidation written confirming that my property was in zone X & my structure was removed from the Special FLood Hazard Area due to the structure was in zone C. Hence, I DO NOT need flood insurance.

A month ago, I received a letter from my mortgage co. (Chase) that I now need flood insurance & they had already purchased flood insurance in my name to take effect in 3 weeks at a cost of $2300 for 45 days of coverage (great deal……….NOT).

In an attempt to purchase other flood insurance, I find out I CANNOT purchase because a new LOMC dated 4/28/2011 was showing FEMA placing me in flood zone AE and putting my home below the flood plain (which is crazy because now my home has supposedly sank a foot over 3 years) However, my neighbor on the same LOMC & approximately 5 feet away from me with a pool no less is still showing in a zone X and above the flood plain. SO now I had to pay for a surveyor to complete an “Elevation Certificate” (which by the way was the best money I have ever spent) to even purchase flood insurance.

The elevation certificate I have from the surveyor shows that my home is NOT in a flood zone and that actually I am a foot above the flood plain. As a matter of fact, the information they obtained was exactly what FEMA had for my home on the 2002 map revision & confirmed in 2008.

Now I have to submit documentation to FEMA to have this changed. I am now seeking an attorney because I want to know who submitted the invalid information to FEMA, how they obtained their information, how they obtained access to my property, and when they were given permission to do the survey on my home? I am out for justice. This ordeal has cost me time, money, aggravation and many sleepless nights and someone will be held accountable for it.

All I have to say is before you accept FEMA’s information, do some research of your own.

Some information I have gathered from my ordeal

Someone, Anyone (mystery in my case) can send in documentation to FEMA

FEMA has the information on who sent in the information to them

The DATUM has a lot to do with what the numbers will read on the survey. My surveyor used Datum “NAVD 1988″

You can find if there are any new amendments to your property on the FEMA website (enter your address)
http://www.msc.fema.gov/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/FemaWelcomeView?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1

In the state of FL (as I don’t know about others) your outside utilities are included in your lowest adjacent grade (ie outside air conditioner and your water heater).

Good Luck to everyone going through this madness. I whole heartedly believe it is a scam by the mortgage company’s to unjustly enforce insurance on properties

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Wilma February 14, 2012 at 1:44 am

Lisa – I believe that the FEMA doesn’t really know all the information in your location. In my case, I went to the city or the county – there is a flood plain management division usually under the zoning department or the building department of the county. In my opinion, FEMA contracted a lot of agencies to do the work for them. Flood Plain Management is the source of all the information. They are the one feeding the FEMA, I think so.

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Mike August 30, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I too have been going through this pain over the last 3 months. I live on a man made lake where the Dam was build 100 years ago. In order to build on the lake front you have to have a survey done to shoot the elevation for the spillway and the top of the top of the dam, then you build above the elevation of the top of the dam so you are not in the flood plain. The spillway is 12 feet below the top of the dam giving plenty of leeway for floods. I’ve been in the house 10 years and never had an issue. In fact we had a 100 year flood in 2002 where water was going 10 feet over the spillway. It never came close to my house. FEMA updates the flood maps this year, then the bank buys me flood insurance and says “go talk to FEMA”. They have all the information (survey etc) that cleary shows the elevations on my property and they refuse to talk me.

So I humor myself I start the process with FEMA for a LOMA. The long and short of it, FEMA’s base flood elevations are wrong. Their BFE is based on “local” 100 year old datum and have the flood level of the lake going 4 feet over the top of the dam, or 16 feet over the spillway. They denied my LOMA and I’m currently awaiting another review, where I have sent them info showing them their data is clearly wrong.

I don’t think I’m going to get anywhere because none of them care. Meantime, screw the bank and FEMA, I’m paying of my loan this week. I’ll determine whether or not I need flood insurance. I’m fortunate I have that option, I feel for others that just have to bend over and take it.

FYI, I wrote my congressman as well as local representatives, providing them the information. My neighbor is going through the same thing as well as everyone else at this lake. No responses from anyone, no one cares, just bend over and take it!

Vote them all out of office!

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Mike March 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Update,

I won my battle with FEMA over their datum for their BFE being wrong. It was “Local” and not NAVD88.

The have issued a LOMR correcting it and re-issued a LOMA to me removing my structure from the flood zone.

I submitted the LOMA to CITI and they are refunding my money.

Win one for the little people!

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Kris March 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Thanks so much for the update Mike. Quick question: How long did the process in total take, and how much did you have to spend? (approx…)

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Mike March 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm

I started fighting with the bank last May. When they wouldn’t budge and forced flood insurance on me in June I submitted a LOMA to FEMA in June. I got my answer back denied in Aug. Their BFE was wrong and I knew it so I put some documentation together with data pulled off the USGS and the web then submitted an appeal in late Aug. When I didn’t hear anything back, I called in late Sept and they had closed my case and no one would give me an answer. I started going up the food chain and threatened to go to the media, finally someone said they would “look” into it. Things went back and forth for several months until they finally admitted it was wrong and they issued a map revision (changing the BFE) late last month. I got my approved LOMA this week.

The whole thing didn’t really cost me anything but time and aggravation since I already had elevations shot on my original survey when I built the house and submitted it along with the LOMA request.

Of course I could have paid a “local” engineer (who knew their BFE was wrong) $500 for an elevation certificate and the problem “would have gone away”, but I refused.

Just be persistent, especially if you know they are wrong and you are right.

Mike

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Adrienne December 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm

I have lived in my house since 1986. The city has problems with the storm sewer overflowing the sanitary sewer, causing the sanitary sewer to over flow into the drains in homeowner’s basements. In 2006, they offered citizens money to buy “back flow preventer valves” if they signed a waiver to hold the city harmless if there was further flooding. Subsequently, they spent tax dollars to reline the old sewer pipes to prevent leakage. Last year, they asked FEMA to come in and remap the flood zones. There is no visible water in my neighborhood. I did not buy a house on a river or the ocean or anywhere near a creek. I have a small row house at the bottom of a hill of row houses. Houses at the top of the row are not in the flood zone. I have had water in my basement twice since 1986–a few inches of sewer water that came up through the drain in my basement. Everytime heavy rain is expected, all the warnings are about shutting your toilet lid, putting something heavy on it, and plugging up the drain in my basement. I have to insure my house, however, as if it could be washed away and have to be rebuilt in a flood. How is any of this fair??? it’s like the city, FEMA, the mortgage companies and big insurance are in cahoots somehow. The one who looses out, as always, is the poor schumck struggling to make ends meet and survive the financial shenanigans of big business once again. Why does the federal government throw in with these people??? Are we out of luck because this is a federal agency? HELP!!!!!!!

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Mike January 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Well Met Life finally admitted I was not in a flood zone that Fema put me in . $500 to the surveyor over 25oo dollars spent on extra flood insurance. Metlife home loans said they were going to give me back $1080 that was months ago plus I am still paying the extra flood insurance they said they were going to take off my payment. What a nightmare. Is there anything I can do ??? HELP!!!!!!

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Kris January 3, 2012 at 8:36 am

Mike, I wish I knew what you could do. Your story is similar to what I have heard over and over. I would probably call MetLife relentlessly until they gave me my refund. Do they have an office you can go visit so you can sit and talk with an actual person?

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Tony January 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm

If there’s contradiction between what FEMA says (zoneX500) and what the mortgage company is saying (zone AE), just go to your local agent and get them to write you a policy. The Insurance Companies get the policies underwritten by FEMA. If FEMA says your eligible for Low Risk (Zone X500) the insurance will be written and you are now covered to the responsibilities of your mortgage. This avoids a LOMA and more mortgage company diatribe . Sometimes the Insurance Companies (do) want an elevation certificate from a local Surveyor ($300), but Once FEMA has issued insurance, tell the mortgage this and, in writing, tell them to stop the intimidation. They seem to understand that word. I’m X500, bordering an AE Tidal Creek. House is at an 11.78 elevation and we pay ( the same as every “AE Structure in the United States) $355 annually for the limit (250K). That satisfies your responsibility. Maybe I just got lucky, but my FEMA guy said to tell the mortgage company that “FEMA writes and reads the Maps, Not Mortgage Flood Insurance Sales Departments.If the mortgaged structure isn’t in AE, and FEMA underwrites a policy, it’s covered and fulfills all responsibility in the mortgage.” If your mortgage company has duplicated your coverage just file against them in your Local Small Claims Court. It is too much aggravation for them to fight a small claims, that they’ll likely lose, and you should get back any charged premiums and your small claims filing fee. Hope this helps

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Kris January 3, 2012 at 10:21 pm

This whole flood map stuff is so frustrating. I have all but given up my quest because I don’t plan on holding the mortgage very long and it may be cheaper to just pay the darn insurance than to spend all the money fighting it, and possibly losing.

I don’t live near any water whatsoever, I have no idea why FEMA thinks I am in a flood plain, and just my house. So stupid. What is so frustrating is you have no control over the situation. In my case, Bank of America took out a policy and charged me for it (I got reimbursed after I proved I bought a much cheaper policy), but they don’t fool around.

Thanks for the info!

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Mike January 4, 2012 at 8:10 am

Well Taking a day off work today and going to Metlife and complain about the imtimidation and try to get some of my money back. They told me on the phone that they were going to take the flood insurance off and rebate half of my money. They said seven to ten days and that was back on Nov. 30. I am not sure what I can get done but I am going to fight them. I went by the title company yesterday and they were shocked and said they had never seen anything like this. They were the ones at closing that said I was not in a flood plain. Thanks Tony for your comments. Wish me luck gang, Mike

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Kris January 4, 2012 at 8:45 am

Good luck Mike, and let us know how it goes. Maybe talking to someone in person will indeed help.

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Mike January 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Okay I went to Metlife and they did not handle this at this office. They did give me a number to call that I never had before and found out starting in Febuary my payment will drop down to 911.00 per month. Before all this started it was 961.00 A MONTH. with the FEMA & METLIFE HOME LOANS RIPOFF my payment was 1098.00 a month which I have been paying for almost two years. They have not sent me anything in writing that explains anything what they did with my money. FRAUD FRAUD FRAUD is all I see with this. I pulled the extra money out of my pocket and I want it back in my pocket now that they admit MY HOUSE IS NOT IN A FLOOD PLAIN. My goodness how many people in the country are going through this. 60 Minutes where are you when we need you!!!!!!

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nicole January 11, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Can anyone tell me where you’re getting flood policies for $400 or $600? I am in a flood zone and when I bought my house they told me I was required to get flood insurance for the principal balance of the loan. That is 72k. For two years its been 652 a year, but recently they told me its federally mandated that I have flood insurance that is equal to 80% of what I have my home insured for with my homeowners policy. That is 195K. They just force placed a flood policy for 156K and its $1500. I’ve called around and cannot find a cheaper quote. They’re all around 2k per year. Also, I cannot find anywhere on the FEMA or FDIC websites that say I’m REQUIRED to have flood insurance in the amount of 80% of the RCV. I’m sooooo frustrated!

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Kris January 11, 2012 at 8:35 pm

In my situation, the policy was determined by federal guidelines. (In other words, it isn’t something that can be shopped around for.) What flood zone rating are you stuck in?

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Jeanne January 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I am also battling Wells Fargo. I have a small creek at the back of my property. I have been in my house since 1978 and we have not had one drop of water in our basement through some really heavy storms. Wells Fargo wants to charge 2,250. for flood insurance. I then went to my insurance company and their policy will be 2,500. per year. This is Allstate and they have had my home and car insurance for many years. I have a Standard Flood Determination from FEMA that states that my property is in flood zone X and my building is not in a flood zone, and yet they are charging me for flood zone AE. I do not get this, except that it is a total scam.

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Tony January 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Go to a different Insurance Company, ask about a flood policy, and DON’T tell them your dilemma. Just say you want a quote. They’ll call it in to FEMA, for underwriting, and if you’re really in an X zone, the policy will be written as “Low Risk”. Once your policy is in affect, you’re covered to the obligations in your mortgage.This is a good way to find out what FEMA thinks about your property before paying for a Surveyor, LOMA, and eventually a Lawyer. I thought I was screwed too, until i called the FEMA (800) number. He is the one that told me that the FEMA determination is the only thing that counts.

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Jeanne January 16, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Tony, I tried your suggestion and every quote has been over 2,000. Obviously, FEMA has me in a high risk zone. I found a receipt from a surveyor that my husband had dealt with in 2002. I called him and he told me that the survey clearly showed that I was out of a flood zone. I also have a letter from my village engineer that states my home was determined to be out of AE by FEMA in Dec. of 2004. He called FEMA and they told him they are using the same map. I have been going back and forth on this since 1995, but have never paid over 386. per year. In 2007, I received a letter from Wells Fargo that said I no longer needed any flood insurance, and now I do? I don’t know what to do about this.

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mike January 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Im in same situation, house built in 2000, 6 years later, my house is in flood zone. When the house was built it was not even close to the flood area, my insurance is 2800 hundred a year and that just covers if creek washes my house away lol if uthis happens we all will be wet. Need help……

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mike January 18, 2012 at 7:19 am

ANOTHER HARDSHIP FROM THE GOVERNMENT

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METLIFE MIKE January 21, 2012 at 6:31 am

Well not sure if there is any progress however but monthly payment went down from $1098 to $1018 it was $961 before this all started. Metlife said they were going to give me back $1080 from the money they stole from me because of the phony flood plain. When I call Metlife now I am put on hold forever. The other day I waited on hold for 45 minutes. I never received any money back and no read out of where the money went or where it goes today. Why am I paying 60 dollars mre a month than when this all started. I have never felt so helpless in my life. So what to do?? Are they trying to drive me into refinancing somewhere else. Why has none of this made it to the national press. From what I see on this site there are many more like me. Just another mortgage mess. Maybe I can get a government bail out like they did a few years back. I lost a total of $3500 dollars so far. CAN YOU SAY FRAUD

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Jerry January 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I knew there were most likely many people in the same boat as I am!

I am in the middle of the process. Myself and a neighbor were told we didn’t have to have a survey done (for part B of the LOMA) but after submitting the LOMA they said that we DID need a survey! I haven’t heard back yet but expect the same answer even though I provided a county tax map showing our elevation was clearly in disagreement with the FIRM.

I wanted to verify my elevation before spending the money on a surveyor so I used an elevation app on my iPone. It was within two feet of what the tax map said so I am pretty confident the surveyor will have the same result and I can eventually have our home removed from the AE zone. I live on a hill up from the creek and the revised FIRM map shows an area past our property as being at the same elevation as the creek. My neighbors and I are in the process of arranging for a surveyor to survey our properties.

I am going to be extremely upset if BOA ignores the letter. You can bet your last dollar that I will be shopping to refinance if that is the case. I will also be joining any other class action lawsuit against this. Maybe I will at least recoup some of the survey cost!

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Kris January 29, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Jerry, that is fascinating that there is an app to verify elevation. I am going to have to look into that for sure.

I refinanced from BOA to ING Direct and during the refinance, they too realized I was in a flood zone and required flood insurance. Must be standard practice to evaluate that during the refi process. I don’t know how BOA could flat-out ignore your letter, but nothing would surprise me, that is for sure.

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Randy January 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I live in Missouri, when I bought my home 8-9 years ago it was not in a flood zone. 2010 came and boom the trouble started. Mostly the same thing has happened to me as you all except we live in a community that does not participate in the NFIP, so we absolutely cannot obtain flood insurance. We have to bend over and take the forced-placed insurance from Wells Fargo. We tried to do this the diplomatic way by doing the Loma process, had the survey done, our elevation was compared to the Base Flood Approximate, (that’s right APPROXIMATE) no actual engineered study has been done to prove this flood line, we were just barely under the line. So needless to say we are still in the flood zone.

I am seriously considering stopping payments on my mortgage. I could end up paying an extra $30,000 over the course of my loan. One option I would like to find out there is a non-federally regulated company that can buy my note from Wells and then I can resume my payments to that company. Or find a rich farmer or someone that has the money sitting around doing nothing.

One question I would ask you all, Can you dispute the BFE or BFA?

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Kris January 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Wow, you are in a tough situation for sure. In addition, all of us that are suddenly in a ‘flood plain’ are going to have a harder time selling our houses too.

So you had a private survey done and still landed in the flood zone? If that is the case, you may not have any recourse as I don’t know if you can fight a BFE. Again though, as you said, it is compared against a value that is an approximation.

So frustrating, that is for sure.

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Randy January 30, 2012 at 10:44 am

Is forced placed insurance legal? I read on a NFIP site that the statute mandates coverage only when the sale of flood insurance has been made available. This of course is for non-participating communities. It also stated a lender may exercise discretion and decline to make a loan in an SFHA where Federal flood insurance is not available. Also, lenders with significant lending in non-participating communities should establish procedures to ensure that loans on buildings in SFHAs where flood insurance is not available do not constitute an unacceptably large portion of the institution’s loan portfolio. So it sounds to me like they should have declined to buy out my mortgage years ago from WAMU. And until I can buy my own policy they should not mandate it to me. May be wrong on all of this, but just some items I read.

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Jeanne January 31, 2012 at 2:08 am

I finally got an insurance agent to listen to me. He received a recent flood determination from FEMA that states that my property is in zone X and my home is not in a flood zone. Why was everyone else going to charge over $2,000? I purchased a preferred risk policy for $324. a year. However, there is a 30 day waiting period. I just got a letter from Wells Fargo stating that because there is a lapse in the coverage that they were putting on my mortgage, they are going to charge $355. for this 30 day lapse. What a bunch of thieves.

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Tony January 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Hey Jeanne, That’s great news. I guess you’ll have to pay the extra $328 for the first month, unless you think it’s worth a Small Claims court filing. I feel really bad for the folks that won’t be able to sell their homes because of these Mortgage Companies. Everyone that has been ripped off by these Flood Zone Predators should, at least, file a complaint on ripoffreport.com and the SCC.gov
Maybe if enough people are complaining, they’ll stop this money making scam.
Now to find out that Freddie Mac holds investments that make money when they can’t refinance, and Freddie Mac is the “Decider”. Vote for Mitt Romney, I believe he’s Honest. IMO- Any politician that comes from Congress is already tainted by Big Business

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Beth August 7, 2012 at 11:13 pm

BINGO Tony, This administration is broke broke broke so a bunch of “maps” came out in 2011 so FEMA could make some $$$$. I’m afraid Romney will be too busy with BIGGER problems than Fema… sad for us.

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Karen February 10, 2012 at 2:11 am

There shouldn’t have been a 30 day waiting period if a flood policy is required by your mortgage lender. From FEMA: The 30-day waiting period will not apply when flood insurance is required as a result of a lender determining that a loan which does not have flood insurance coverage should be protected by flood insurance as required by Section 102(e) of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, as amended by NFIRA, because the building securing a loan is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area. The coverage will be effective upon completion of an application and the presentment of payment of premium.

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Kris February 12, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Thanks for following up with that information.

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Metlife Mike February 5, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Sucess in a way. In my mail box yesterday I recieved a check for 2700 dollars for flood plain insurance that I had paid in the last 2 years. I had to send a nasty email to Metlife that I used the word fraud and class action lawsuit a lot. I was so sick of everything. I had started the process of refinance which I will still follow through with now. I am out my survey money and 500 more dollars but I did get something and I have to pay no more flood insurance. Someone mentioned using the word fraud in previous post and it did seem to help along with a lot of persistance. So everybody fight with everything you have and I want to wish you all good luck with this FEMA and Mortgage company fraud. I still cannot believe the stress that Metlife put me through. Last of all in this post I want to thank this website as I could not completed this without you. (Thanks Kris) Soon to be Quicken Mike, Metlife Mike

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Kris February 5, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Metlife Mike, I am so glad for you. One thing to remember- you might be out some money, but at least your home won’t be deemed to be on a flood plain when you sell it.

Thanks for coming back and sharing your success, and good luck at Quicken!

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Jack February 10, 2012 at 10:20 am

Same thing just happened to me. I am looking for a surveyor now. If he confirms we are in a flood plain, I will buy the insurance from the company with which I have my car and homeowners. DO NOT ALLOW YOUR MORTGAGE HOLDER TO PROVIDE IT. THEY ARE MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE! The surveyors charge around $500, apparently. The price of the flood insurance depends upon the findings of the survey.

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Kris February 12, 2012 at 1:54 pm

The mortgage company insurance is the definitely the biggest rip off ever, be it flood or homeowners. They tried to tell us we didn’t have homeowners insurance and they took out a policy for us. It was a huge fight and they cancelled the policy, but they paid probably 3 times what I paid for my policy.

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Jeanne February 27, 2012 at 2:02 am

My neverending story…. I just got a letter from Wells Fargo and they said that I am in flood zone AE, even though I have a flood determination from FEMA (Jan. 2012) that states that I am in flood zone X. This is driving me crazy. I guess I am going to do a LOMA. Any suggestions?

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Tony February 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm

This is a reprint of what I wrote before. It worked for me and another person on this site. Don’t mention your troubles with Wells Fargo, just ask for a ” Low Risk Quote”. This Will save you the time and money involved in a LOMA. Hope it works for you too.
If there’s contradiction between what FEMA says (zoneX500) and what the mortgage company is saying (zone AE), just go to your local agent and get them to write you a policy. The Insurance Companies get the policies underwritten by FEMA. If FEMA says your eligible for Low Risk (Zone X500) the insurance will be written and you are now covered to the responsibilities of your mortgage. This avoids a LOMA and more mortgage company diatribe . Sometimes the Insurance Companies (do) want an elevation certificate from a local Surveyor ($300), but Once FEMA has issued insurance, tell the mortgage this and, in writing, tell them to stop the intimidation. They seem to understand that word. I’m X500, bordering an AE Tidal Creek. House is at an 11.78 elevation and we pay ( the same as every “AE Structure in the United States) $355 annually for the limit (250K). That satisfies your responsibility. Maybe I just got lucky, but my FEMA guy said to tell the mortgage company that “FEMA writes and reads the Maps, Not Mortgage Flood Insurance Sales Departments.If the mortgaged structure isn’t in AE, and FEMA underwrites a policy, it’s covered and fulfills all responsibility in the mortgage.” If your mortgage company has duplicated your coverage just file against them in your Local Small Claims Court. It is too much aggravation for them to fight a small claims, that they’ll likely lose, and you should get back any charged premiums and your small claims filing fee. Hope this helps

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Jeanne February 28, 2012 at 2:04 am

Tony, I tried this and a local insurance co. wrote out a low risk policy for $ 324. a year because of the flood determination. However, I received a letter from Wells Fargo yesterday that their sources put me in zone AE. and I will need to buy high risk insurance. I called FEMA and they told me that FEMA has not done my recent flood determination, done by a private company. Obviously, Wells Fargo is using a different company that has placed me in a high risk zone, how convenient for Wells Fargo(Freddie Mac in disguise) I think the only thing I can do now is the LOMA.

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Kris February 28, 2012 at 8:15 am

Did Wells Fargo say they were going to take out a policy on your behalf if you didn’t buy high risk insurance? Did FEMA say if you had any recourse?

Maybe if you do the LOMA, it will show WF that they are crazy and you won’t need flood insurance at all.

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Jeanne March 1, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Kris, I just spent all afternoon working on the LOMA. Yes, Wells Fargo is going to force a high risk policy on my mortgage. FEMA said the only recourse is the LOMA. I told Wells Fargo that I am going to charge them for all the time and money that I have spent on this. Thanks for all the information on this site, it has helped.

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Kris March 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm

See, what is so frustrating is that us mortgage holders really don’t have much recourse because the banks will just do whatever they want. My house is on the top of a hill and I am in a ‘flood zone’. I am one of two houses in a 1 mile x 1 mile subdivision. I will be filing a LOMA soon myself. Please keep us informed.

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Natalya March 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm

We were in the same boat as everybody else on this site – zone A, high flood insurance – from $1200 to $1400, and it was keep rising and we finally couldn’t take it any longer. My husband overheard a guy at work about elevation certificate – which we did for $535, then a serveyer filed LOMA to FEMA-it took us 3 months and we are now in zone B. Wells Fargo dropped their mortgage requirement and it feels so good after 4 years to pay for nothing! What I’m researching now is how we can get our money which we payed for those years back from Allstate, so if anybody have some ideas and what kind of attorney we should hire or any success stories on getting insurance money back-it would be really appreciated.

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TJ Malloy March 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Take care here. Your lender does NOT have to remove the need for Insurance if you get a LOMA. So once again Even if you get a LOMA your lender can still require you to carry flood Ins. I am in the same situation and have asked my lender 5/3rd if I did get a LOMA would they drop the requirement they said they could not tell me. They are working on an answer now.

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Kris March 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Nice. That sounds so wrong. You hate to pay for a flood certificate and then possibly a lawyer just to get your house properly zoned, and then recognized as properly zoned. I look forward to hearing what they decide.

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TJ Malloy March 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I will keep you posted

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Natalya March 8, 2012 at 8:27 pm

I talked with our mortgage Wells Fargo company rep while we were doing all this LOMA to FEMA and she assured me once they would get this paperwork which would state zone B on it they would drop their flood requirement. So far they were standing to their promise and dropped it. They even refunded our money for flood insurance they put in addition on top of our AllState insurance since what we had was not enough according to their requirements. Now what I’m researching is is there any way to get our flood insurance money from Allstate back since we were paying for 3 years for nothing and all together it comes to almost $4000. According to my understanding we were mislead by maps which we have in our local flood department/ but they also provided probably by FEMA. So who should we sue-FEMA?

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Pam March 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm

We live in northern Indiana and deemed in a flood zone last fall because the back of our property is adjacent to a small creek that hasn’t flooded as long as the town has been in existence! After no assistance or guidance from our city officials on what our options were, we did some research on our own and hired a surveyor and filed the LOMA to FEMA a couple weeks ago. According to the elevation survey we are not in the floodplain, so now its the waiting game with FEMA. Does anyone know if there are any options in recouping our money for paying a surveyor to fight this thing or are we pretty much “out of luck”? Thanks and good luck to everyone!

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johanne finney March 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

fema problems

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Adrienne March 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Any body know how we can get some national attention on this? It’s going on all over the country and costing citizens thousands of dollars. Seems like a good 60 minutes story, especially since the beneficiaries are the big mortgage companies who caused the financial collapse 4 years ago. We all need to write to our elected officials about this, but help cannot come soone enough for most of us. Anybody connected to the media or senate lobyists who can help?

Adrienne

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JP March 21, 2012 at 5:27 pm

A little background info:

1. The FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) are created by a number of methods. Some of them are actually based on reasonable, detailed measurements. Others are based on what I refer to as a ‘guesstimate’ based on some old USGS Topographic Quadrangles maps that were NOT developed for the purpose that FEMA put them to. What that means is that the lines shown on the FIRM as the flood plain can be and often are very incorrect in the real world. Step one in the screw up was mandating and creating a government agency based on known inaccurate data. It should have been required that before a FIRM was produced and enacted for a community, accurate data had to be collected.

2. The circular spiral down the drain is this – the banks (if FDIC insured) have federal regulations requiring that they have a flood plain analysis done and if even a portion of the property is found to be in a flood plain require flood insurance. They hire a company (the ones I have heard of most often are out of Texas) to look at the FIRM (often inaccurate information) and tell the bank if the property is in a flood plain. FEMA policy is that if the lines (known to be often inaccurate) show a portion of the property in the flood plain, it is in the flood plain until/unless they issue a Letter Of Map Amendment (LOMA). Of course the flood analysis company will have no local knowledge of the matter, often have not been able to accurately locate the property on the FIRM, and will play it safe if you are near a flood plain and say your property is in it. You, the private citizen, then have the option of hiring a Land Surveyor to provide FEMA with the accurate data necessary to show your property is out of the flood plain so that you can drop the insurance requirement. So in a round-about way, certain citizens of this country have been slowly ‘hidden taxed’ to pay for FEMA to get more accurate data instead of the government having to provide factual information as to who is in the flood plain first.

3. Recently, there have been ‘modernizations’ to the FIRM. Again this data is often based on using data from other sources that WERE NOT originally developed for the level of accuracy they need. When the maps are revised, the banks are supposed to look into it and see if the change affects the properties their (FDIC insured) dollars are backing. Hence the surprise that many of you have faced.

Now for the really fun information. Even some of the ‘accurate’ data is not correct. I am a Land Surveyor and have completed the LOMA process for several clients. One of the more surprising ones was on a lake front house. In this instance lake front means owning to a certain elevation, but not all the way out to the water – there is some land in between the lake front properties and the water that is TVA property. Historically, the base flood elevation was equal to the lowest point of ownership and to the top of the dam that created the man-made lake. The old FIRM maps had a poorly drawn line that showed many properties in the flood zone, but there were not many request for LOMAs. An ‘updated’ map shows the same old flood line overlaid on some pretty aerial photography, now it looks like there are houses in the flood zone, so I have had more calls about that area. This is acase of using some pretty good date (aerial photography) combined with inaccurate date (the old flood lines) and making a even bigger problem.

Just a month prior to the ‘new’ map, I provided all of the correct information to FEMA for a client. FEMA responded with one very incorrect requirement (when I provided a written request of clarification it was ignored and the ‘problem’ went away) as well as a slightly incorrect piece of information about the flood elevation. Unfortunately, the contractor hired to do the “detailed” study reported an incorrect elevation based on a different datum (as someone above mentioned). Because of that, every property on the lake would have been in the flood zone by 2 and a half inches. It took a good bit longer, but I finally got the property removed by way of a LOMA.

Now for some advice.

In general, be careful of how you view and use maps. As an example, just because a tax map shows your property line on some aerial photographs does not mean it is correctly located.

For FEMA, first try to prove your actual property location in relation to the FIRM. Sometimes, the bank’s company do not properly locate the property. If your property actually is inside those incorrectly drawn lines, your best option is to hire a Land Surveyor to take care of the LOMA process for you. Just make sure that your surveyor knows what he is doing (unfortunately some will agree to do the work, but do not know all they need to about the process).

If you are actually in a flood zone even by accurate measurement, get an elevation certificate as the amount below the flood elevation you are affects the risk rating so your costs for insurance could go down.

Hope you folks all get these problems solved.

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Jeanne March 22, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I need some advice, please!!! I received a letter from FEMA saying my application for a LOMA was not complete. They said that I needed an elevation information form. I then went to the survey company that had done my survey in 2002. They told me that I was in a high risk zone, although when this survey was done in 2002, the mortgage company removed us from a high risk zone. ???? The flood elevation was 669.4, the top of our foundation 673.05, first floor 674.10, our walk out basement(what puts us in a high risk zone) 665.95. The surveyor recommended that I do not send an elevation form to FEMA because then there will be this official document saying that I am in a high risk zone.(drop the whole LOMA thing) He said that I should do an elevation certificate (another $350.) and bring this to my insurance co. in the hope of getting a lower rate. This is driving me crazy, and any advice would be appreciated. The costs of my house, between property taxes and now flood insurance, are making me think that I need to sell my house of 34 years, if that would even be possible in these tough times.It took 2 years to sell a house on my block.

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Mike March 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm

When I went through my LOMA they used the “lowest” elevation point on my survey at the base of the slab not the top. I have about a 3 foot elevation on my slab, but they don’t care they used bottom number.

So if your lowest is 665.95 that is probably what they will use.

Still it doesn’t cost anything to do the LOMA and see what they say.

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Sabrina Rigby March 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm

I have a bit of a different situation. I bought my vacant land in 2003. I started to build in 2006. When we applied for our septic permit it was denied by the county because of the flood plain. We then decided to build on a different portion of my 4 acres. Now I have looked up the new FIRM maps and it seems that my entire property is under a flood zone. I do not have a mortgage but am interested in getting flood insurance. But I was wondering if there was anything I can do maybe legal-wise to the county or surveyor or something? If I was made aware at purchase that I was in a flood plain then I would have never signed. I was also wanting an update to the progress of the intial post.

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Dan April 2, 2012 at 7:03 am

I also need to fight the BFE, as I too have a creek on my property, according to a hydraulic study of that creek(the same study FEMA uses to determine BFE) my house is well above the 500 year flood elevation that the study calls out for the cross section of the creek that my house is in. I had a similar situation as everyone getting tricked into flood insurance. I was in the process of buying a home, and was informed it needed to be surveyed, I paid for the survey, was quoted all insurances, including a low risk flood insurance. I proceeded to close on the house about two months after closing I recieved a letter that stated the surveyor screwed up the survey and that the house was in a zone AE and my new insurance went from 450 to 4500 a year. NYS doesnt require surveyors to have liability ins. so I have no recourse against surveyor. If you mow lawns in NY you need ins. but if your a licensed survyor you dont. Sounds crazy to me.

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Kerry April 7, 2012 at 8:20 am

Hello,
I bought my home 4 years ago, I live acaross the street from a shallow fishing lake that no one in the area remembers ever flooding (if you live near a puddle FEMA will get you!) Last August I refinanced my home and received a letter that I no longer needed flood insurance (well Yippee) this week I received another letter some months later stating I went from an X zone (not needing flood ins)back to to an AE zone (high risk) I had an elevation survey done some time ago showing I was 0.5 off of the base flood line. I am fighting this, I am a senior and you are correct flood insurance is very costly and your house payment will go up to accomodate it. If I lived on a large lake or the ocean I could understand it but you could nearly walk out to the middle of this lake, so what changed in 5 short months time with the mapping and oh by the way FEMA told the lady at the bank they can do mapping at will so you never know I gues if your in or out of the zone. . .Personally I feel many pay who do not need it and are paying for those unfortunate’s who do actually have floods, Why throw money out the window if you don’t need the product, what ever happened to “choices” for citizen’s. Good Luck to you!

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Kris April 14, 2012 at 10:36 am

It is good you have an elevation survey that is on your side. It is awful how we have to pay for actual certifications when FEMA can make decisions based on basically ‘guessing’. So frustrating.

Good luck.

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Jeanne April 12, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I just got the bad news. My elevation certificate(another $350.) puts me in flood zone AE by 1.1 That is my unfinished basement. I guess I just have to accept paying $2,500 a year for something that I will probably never use, just throwing money away. Is there any way to continue to fight this?

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Kris April 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

That is terrible news. So you tried to recertify and got bad news, what a bummer. I don’t know how you continue to fight if the elevation certificate confirm you are in a flood zone, but I am not an expert.

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Randy April 14, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Recently went to a Discovery meeting for our county, this was put on by FEMA, SEMA, and reps. from Baker. They told me this would be the time to bring any information forth dealing with issues of the flood maps. I brought photos of some flooding in our town, these areas have been deemed by the new flood maps to be no longer in the flood zone. They pretty much laughed in my face saying, ” we need scientific proof “. After we cut each others throats, they asked me how far was I from being out of the flood zone. I said my lowest adjacent grade was about 12 inches to 16 inches below the BFA. And that I also had a 3 foot crawl space and my first floor is well above the so called flood line. They suggested I put fill around my foundation making sure it was above the flood line and have my surveyor come back out and shoot the lowest adjacent grade again, resubmit it to FEMA and they would have no choice put to remove the structure from the flood zone. Sounded too good to be true, has anyone done something similar to this? Any advice?

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Kris April 16, 2012 at 10:07 am

Wow, that is an interesting idea. How much would it cost to put in the fill around the house? Isn’t it amazing how expensive this proposition is? What is funny is I don’t think the FEMA maps are very scientific at all, so that comment is pretty ironic.

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Jeanne April 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Randy. I was thinking about putting in fill, as my walk out basement is also about 12-13 inches below the BFE. The only worry I have is that on the application form for the LOMA, the first question is “Has fill been placed on your property to raise ground that was previously below the BFE? If yes, STOP -You must complete the MT-application forms.” Whatever that is??????

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kelly duckworth April 20, 2012 at 1:26 am

I am fighting now because I know I’m not in a flood zone! They attached 300 a month to my mortgage and my neighbors have not been notified of the horrible consequences of floods because their houses are paid for. In other words, it can be so dangerous, PLEASE protect yourself and family!!! But if your house is paid for… we do not care if you live or die! I can’t even keep water in my 47,000.00 gallon pool and can’t afford the needed retaining walls to KEEP my land from going down to the NEW sub-division they dug out behind me after I bought my house! I applied for disaster relief because I can’t even afford food now! I have a plat that clearly states that I am NOT IN A FLOOD ZONE! But, I have to find the time and pay for maps and a surveyor to come prove it!! Well as a result, I can’t pay my property taxes so they have really made it difficult for me!! I would assume they have bigger fish to fry!!! I will stay here until a constable drags me out by my hair and good luck with that because my dog loves his pool!! Not idiots!!

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kelly April 20, 2012 at 1:32 am

By the way, check it out further because Bank of America, Chase Bank, and J.P. Morgan Chase have already been sued over this in New York! Bankers are lining their pockets at our expense. I am willing to file suit and it can and will be class action just like the others. We need to stick together on this!!!
Chase Bank is my mortgage lender and I have an appointment with them at 10:30 a.m.!

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michael April 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Just got informed that wells fargo bought my loan, An now they are saying my flood ins that im paying for of $2800 is not enough on my 149,000.00 loan. They are requesting another 1000.00 a total of 3880 to be exact. I totaly do not understand this!!! cant believe that the government is letting this stuff happen!!! I pay 670.00 for fire and tornados witch we have had 4 confirmed in my county this year if my house is destroyed its payed for!!! but if water gets in it its $4000.00 a year and cover only dwelling !!! i have never had water in my yard and have a creek 5 foot across 100 yards away from my house built in 2000 then not even close to 100 year flood zone ,2006 thanks fema puts the house in a flood zone what???? This is wrong !!! Is there anybody that can help !!! like a government official who would like to stand up for the right thing??? people are struggling everyday to make home payments and the governtment allows this!!!! How is flood ins so high for the same amount of money! 4000.00 for flood 670 for fire, earthquakes, tornados, Guys this is a total scam!!!!!

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Beth August 7, 2012 at 11:46 pm

I hear you! And they wonder why the housing market is a mess. They’re sticking everyone in flood plains, and who can buy/sell then? I’m stuck now b/c of Fema’s 2011 map.

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michael April 25, 2012 at 4:27 pm

If anyone is fighting, i also want to file a suit!!! if anyone nows of were to join tell me!!!

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michael April 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I dont care if mine or your house is in a flood zone, still there is no reason for the price of this ins is to be so high!!!

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Mikey April 26, 2012 at 4:19 am

Recently my property was reevaluated by FEMA and placed back into the flood zone. I was previously out based on a 1996 determination. On the 2012 re-determination, FEMA lowered the elevations for everyone in the so called flood zone. Although my neighbors around me are out of the flood zone, my Lowest Adjacent Ground (LAG) level is 1/10 lower than my Base Flood Elevation (BFE) level and therefore I was considered in the zone. If your LAG level is below the BFE level apparently you are considered to be a high risk for flooding. I am close to 1 mile from the creek that they indicate as a flood risk to my property. Of course they are using the 100 year flood history for the basis of their determination. Millions of dollars have been spent on flood gates and sewer improvements to reduce the creek overflow to the immediate area of the creek, but FEMA is still indicating a flood potential exists for properties well away from the creek area if their LAG is lower than the BFE level. BFE minus LAG=BS.
I have been to my city, state representative and congressional rep with no positive results on the matter of this new determination. Everything pointed back to FEMA. I did have a new survey done today, as a matter of fact and the initial results were that my LAG levels are higher than what FEMA had me listed and higher than my BFE level. The surveyor will be submitting the LOMA on the new levels he found. I did not have to place any dirt around my property prior to the survey. I am not sure of the time frame it takes FEMA to make a new determination on my property. I will probably end up getting the flood insurance in the interim since my mortgage company indicated that I only had 45 days to do so or they would do it themselves at a much higher cost.
As others have indicated this has been a real time consuming effort to this point. It’s just another example of government screwing the citizens and protecting the banks. By the by, if you didn’t know, FEMA is now under the Department of Homeland Security. Go figure that connection out.

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s.e April 26, 2012 at 11:37 pm

We are in the same boat. we are not in a flood plain yet being charged flood insurance and told we have to prove otherwise. Bunch of B.S.

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Mikey April 27, 2012 at 12:09 am

Sorry to hear your bad news. Now that you are so designated, something that I forgot to mention yesterday is that if you want to do any kind of work on your property a special permit is required by FEMA through the Department of Environmental Quality. From what I hear that permit costs about $450. So if you want to put in a new driveway or build a patio you have to get permission from the federal government in addition to any city permits that may be required.
Good Luck.

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veronica May 13, 2012 at 10:41 am

I have been staying for last 40 years in a room & my cousin in other room. Now my room is about to fall down. unfortunately I don’t have any proof to prove that this room is mine.I have only electricity bill in my name. Now my cousin claiming that his is the owner of both room as he has been paying municiple tax for both room & his not allowing to repair my room. what should i do? Please i need help

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Kerry May 13, 2012 at 11:02 am

For those of you wondering what to do if FEMA states you are in a flood zone, have an elevation survey done (about $300) then download the paperwork from FEMA site for a LOMA (map ammendment)
follow the instructions to the T or they will keep sending it back for revision then all you can do it wait, They told me initially I was in a flood zone, I refinanced and they told me I was not in a flood zone and 5 months later I was back in a flood zone. We all pay for other’s flood damages and we ourselves may never have a flood. I am in a waiting mode right now, perhaps an attorney could help and may be my next step. Good luck to all. . . Kerry

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ken holz June 7, 2012 at 8:47 am

I am going through this exact situation right now. Built my house in 2008, followed all building codes and was not on flood plain. As of Jan 2012, FEMA decided I was all of the sudden on a flood zone. I recieved the letter from my mortgage company and I have to buy flood insurance. Yesterday I had the Surveyor out to start my certificate of elevation. I sill be submitting the LOMA application as soon as I get my certificate. The best part is, my house is located in “Zone A”. According to FEMA, Zone A has no baseline elevation. It has no history of flooding and no data to back it up. It is a guesstimate on femas part. I Asked FEMA, “what do you compare my certificate of elevation to if you have do data for the zone im in?” They told me, “well, we can’t compare it. You need to go to your local township and provide as much historical flood data and submit it with your LOMA application.” HAHA!!! WTF? After all is said and done, I will have spent over $1500.00 to get my house off of the map. Isn’t this extortion? How is this even legal? I am wasting my time and money to correct their map. I’m going to do everything I can to get my money back. It’s rediculous.

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Beth August 7, 2012 at 11:50 pm

2011 Fema stuck us in the floodplain. NO BFE for my “village” to be found locally, county, OR state. So, yeah, how can they say I’m in a flood zone if they don’t even have a BFE? b/c theyr’e the government! Zone A here, too. What a scam. If we tried to pull this crap on people, we’d be in jail.

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Tracy June 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I want to tell you to hang in there. This same thing happened to us. The sad thing is…we also had to pay for an elevation survey ($500.00) to prove our 40 year old home had not mysteriously relocated itself into a flood zone. THEN, we had to provide it free of charge it to our mortage company, insurance company, FEMA, the highway department, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Geological Survey organization for their future use. It took us 3 months and countless phone calls to get our map put back the was it was. I don’t think it’s legal at all. The local township doesn’t know diddly crap and sent us to the regional planning commission, who (I’m not kidding) looked up our map on the FEMA website and told us we were in a flood zone. Well, we finally won and the $500 saves us $1500 a year in flood insurance.

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april June 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm

We just got a letter similar to what you said. We have been in our house for 7 years now and did not need flood insurance when we bought it. WE even asked the bank, realitor and insurance company. They all told us no. The bank will fin us insurance if we don’t get any before July 15th. I want to fight this but am unsure how to. I can’t afford 700 extra dollars a year.

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Roger June 14, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I’m currently in same boat. I think FEMA is ripping people off for the big hit that they took over Hurricane Katrina. I got four different flood quotations and everyone was the same at $3500. Im also the only one in my neighborhood that’s in a A2 flood zone. All my neighbor are C’s. How’s that possible. FEMA is basing the flood zone on a flood map from 1977. The neighborhood was built in 1998. I asked FEMA how can change a flood zone without having anyone on the ground checking or doing a new land survey. I going to contact my local news station for answers since I can’t get any from FEMA or anyone from my flood insurance company. What a joke!

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Bruce Anderson June 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Like everyone, I’ve just been hit with a “re-evaluation” of my flood plain status from X to A. I’m going to start the process of obtaining a LOMA and have read all the comments with interest.
Many have said they talked with their “local FEMA guy”…who and where is this ? Does FEMA keep a “guy” in all localities ? And someone mentioned an 800 number for class action lawyers on this issue. What is that number ? Can we give specifics like this on this website ? And, finally, where do you go in your local government to find the flood maps ? I went on the FEMA website and couldn’t make hide nor hair of it…no use whatsoever. Maybe I’m just not smart enough for government websites, but I need specifics please, if anyone can provide them. Thanks…

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Roger June 24, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Hi Bruce, You should check out this called http://www.classaction.org and search the word FEMA. On this site you will find some information about the class action suites against the lenders imposing high rates flood insurance. Also check http://www.floodsmart.gov. This website will give more information on steps to take on changing your flood zone class. Or call the NFIP help center at 1-800-427-4661. Good luck!

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Beth Gordon June 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

I live on the North Carolina coast and we are having FEMA problems big time. My situation involves changes in flood maps, the extreme cost of bank forced flood insurance and more. The Planning Dept. and Fema requirements have forced me to the point of being on the verge of losing my home and my life savings in my home equity. The good news is there is a movement throughout the U.S., called STOP AGENDA 21, where Tea Parties and concerned citizens are educating WE THE PEOPLE and GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES ABOUT UNITED NATIONS AGENDA 21 POLICIES WE ARE IMPLEMENTING AT ALL LEVELS OF OUR GOVERNMENT….in some cases without being aware of it.
The ultimate goal of the United Nations spells disaster for our Country and is affecting all aspects of our lives and the future of our children and grandchildren. Educate yourselves on what STOP AGENDA 21 groups are doing in your State and get involved….FEMA is a long arm of many Anti-American Policies being carried out in our Country….and PRAY…..We have let this happen and we must stop it and put God back in our lives and elect leaders who will uphold our Constitution, with the influence of God our Founding Fathers so wisely sought in drafting this important document.
I will try to keep you aware of what I learn and would appreciate your doing the same.

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Tammy June 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm

This has been nothing but frustrating. Our bank got a letter from FEMA and said we were considered zone A which is the worst. I knew we were not in a flood zone and could not get anyone to listen. On the map you could clearly see that only our yard was in it but nobody would help. I called FEMA and asked if they could pull up the map and look since it was so obvious and they said NO you have to go through the process. Why should a homeowner be required to get flood insurance and pay a surveyor upfront just to proof they are wrong. How many people will lose their homes over problems like this? I have done nothing but cry for the last 2 days but finally today I have proof in hand that we are not in the flood zone but still have to hire the surveyor to get what they call a LOMA. JUST NOT FAIR

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Mikey July 2, 2012 at 12:16 am

To my fellow FEMA targets I thought I would pass along my current status in the mess created by this agency. If this is any indication on how the federal government will manage our future health care…God help us. Any way, since I mailed in my survey and a LOMA request I have now had 2 follow up contacts with FEMA. The first was as a result of a letter I received from FEMA indicating they had received my information. Although the letter came to my address, the property information they had listed was incorrect. In calling FEMA to have this corrected, I was actually connected to my case worker who apparently was the only one who could make the correction. He informed me that my initial paperwork did not include a property deed or a property information form. He mailed me the property information form and I went to the county office to get a copy of my deed. These 2 documents were mailed back to him the end of May. Figuring that I had completed everything they needed (since nothing else was mentioned during my conversation with the case worker) I have been waiting for FEMA’s response to my LOMA request. On 6/28 I received a letter from FEMA. Upon looking at the letter, I felt like Ralphy waiting to hear his coded message. I opened the letter expecting good news and a final conclusion to this mess, but was sadly disappointed. They now are requesting $425 to process the paperwork for a map revision, they want a certified letter from my surveyor as to why my LAG levels are different than theirs and they want a form signed by the city official who oversees the flood zone information. Needless to say I am furious, especially about this $425 charge by a government agency to process paperwork. Has anyone had a similar charge in this process? Let me know.

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Mikey July 6, 2012 at 12:41 am

Just a piece of advice to everyone going through this is to make sure you contact your congressman or senator about FEMA. Most of them did not read the legislation that gave FEMA the authority to expand their flood mapping in 2004. Also, thanks to Obamacare, a 3.8% federal sales tax will be added to the sale of your home in 2014…if you can sell it with the flood zone determination.

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Beth Gordon July 6, 2012 at 10:42 am

DOES IT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE THAT ALL OF THIS HAS BEEN ORCHESTRATED AND IMPLEMENTED BY THE UNITED NATIONS, WHOSE AGENDA IS TO TURN THE U.S. INTO A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY….ALONG WITH THE SOCIALISTS, ENVIRONMENTALISTS, ETC. ASSOCIATED AND ELECTED BY GEORGE SOROS, ETC. CAMPAIGN FUNDS….OR, THE FACT THAT OUR CONSTITUTION IS BEING TOTALLY IGNORED….PLEASE SEE “STOP AGENDA 21″, IT COVERS THE BRAINWASHING OF OUR KIDS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, HEALTHCARE, THE FACT WE ARE FOLLOWING THE SAME PATH THAT ALLOWED HITLER TO KILL 11 MILLION JEWS, ETC., THERE ALREADY ARE ABOUT 600 FEMA CAMPS IN THE U.S. YOU WON’T SEE IT ON MAINSTREAM MEDIA, YOU CAN STILL (THANK GOD) FIND ON THE INTERNET AND TEAPARTIES ARE BEING JOINED BY CHURCHES TO TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE….THIS IS NOT ABOUT REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT…..THIS IS ABOUT “WE THE PEOPLE”….EDUCATE YOURSELVES AND YOUR LOVED ONES…GET GOD BACK IN OUR PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT AND IN OUR COUNTRY GREAT NATION!

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Jimmy July 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm

I have not read all the posts here but I have had the same problems. FEMA needs money and they get it from adjusting maps and screwing homeowners. It is law that if FEMA puts you in a flood plain they make the bank where you have your mortgage force you to buy the flood insurance.

I had been living in my home over 10 years in Orange County Ca. Along the santa ana river bed FEMA was collection flood insurance from over 1000 homeowners. The army corps of engineers came in and rebuilt the riverbed and it was no longer in a flood zone. So over 1000 homes didn’t have to pay flood ins anymore. At that same time the homes in my area become a flood plain and I was force to pay the flood insurance. I live in California where there is NO rain or flooding in the flat lands. FEMA designated it a one (1) flood in one hundred years area and the cost of the flood ins was around $1,000 per year. I called the city where I lived and the county and they said that there was a very minor drainage stream about a mile away from my house that was the reason. When I went to investigate it I saw a drainage ditch that had no water in it. What a joke. I am sure that some area’s are prone to floods but not my area.

I paid it for 5 years because if the bank bought the ins it would cost $2,400. I got fed up and paid my house off. The reason I took all my savings and did this was because FEMA decided to up the anty and make my area a 2 flood in 100 years area and the cost would go up to $1,500 for the year. Now I have owned this house for close to thirty years and have never even come close to a flood.

Understand this FEMA is the only place that you can get this flood insurance. Tax the people to death, grow the government. Just reading these posts I feel for all you folks out there as I was very mad and upset to have to pay. At this point I would have paid over $20K to date if I didn’t get out of the mortgage.

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Mikey July 6, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Jimmy, just a word of caution to you is that it’s great that you were able to pay off you mortgage, but since your property has been determined to be in a flood plain, you are still subject to FEMA guidelines on property changes to your structure or land. You are still required by FEMA to get a permit/approval ($450) to make any changes. If you want to add a deck to your house or patio they must be informed or you may be subject to a heavy fine.
I am finding all this out as I deal with my FEMA issue.

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Beth August 8, 2012 at 12:15 am

Seriously? If they’re getting their $$, who cares if you add a deck?

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Bruce Anderson July 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Not sure if reading this blog is good for my health ! Holy Cow…FEMA is out of control ! Just like the TSA at the airports.
My previous post listed my problem as the same as most. Here’s what I have done…I went to a surveyor to get my lot elevation surveyed for my request to get out of the flood plain. Found out from him ( an honest person!), that his office had been contacted by a local developer to do a study of the elevations of the creeks in my area. Seems they are aware that FEMA made these flood plain reevaluations with NO DATA. They are in the process of remapping my area and will include my lot in the plan. Then they plan on submitting this data to change the flood plain determination back to the original…sort of a class action. The surveyor told me that to get a survey of my lot before he did his “whole area” plan would be a waste of money. I need to wait till they finish their job…maybe 6-8 months. Then I can survey my lot and submit the form to obtain my personal LOMA. However, he says that if he is successful, it will not be necessary for me to do this, since if he is successful, all of us will be back out of the flood plain.
I checked with my city Developement Services Manager who gave me basically the same information. He says that he is getting 3-4 questions per day from concerned citizens. He admits that FEMA made this new determination with absolutely NO DATA to back it up. He says the city is behind the developer doing the new survey and hopes that it will give data to FEMA to show that they are wrong in their flood plain determination.
An adjacent city, Burnet, in Burnet county, Texas, is taking it upon itself to do a resurvey of their city to show that they are not in the flood plain FEMA says they are. So…some cities are aware of the abuse of FEMA and are trying to do something about it.
THis is a clear example of a government agency out of control ! And NO ONE is watching over it. So, I sent an email to both my senators and my congressman pointing out whats going on. THe sad part is…I doubt if they care about the american people in this election year…and doubt if they will, or even CAN, do anything. We’ll see…I’ll post whatever I get.
Bruce Anderson recently posted..Will Be Back Soon

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Tammy Perdue July 9, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Started a petition on change.org. FEMA to revise or reverse 100 flood maps. Please go sign.

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Bruce Anderson July 11, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Yep, as expected, a response from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison from Texas to my cry for help from this required flood insurance, was the standard party line. She says FEMA is doing its best to recover from substantial flood losses and she supports their efforts to “help” the American People.
She’s up for reelection this fall. Don’t expect any help from Washington on this issue.
Bruce Anderson recently posted..Will Be Back Soon

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Mikey July 12, 2012 at 12:22 am

Well Bruce, I did something similar by calling my congressman’s office and requesting him to visit my property to see first hand how ridiculous the FEMA flood formula is. The person that I spoke to informed me the the congressman was aware of problems people were having with FEMA and had written several letters to them on the flood map issue. I told that person that he had to see it first hand in order to really understand the situation to better confront FEMA on their formula. Needless to say, that suggestion did not go anywhere even when I told them the congressman (up for re-election) could get some good press for at least pretending to be concerned about constituents.

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Bob K July 12, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I am dealing with this crap too Apparently all these people who built in actual areas that flood tapped out all of their money so the rest of us suckers have to pay . When I built my house in 2001 Fema told my bank I was in a flood plain . I hired a surveyor to come out and he clearly showed my house was above the flood plain Fema accepted that paperwork as proof .I voluntarily took flood insurance for a structure above the flood plain for a about $350 a year just in case of a 10000 year flood or something
. Fema recently redrew the map and showed me in the flood plain again . Here is the kicker he engineering work on file shows I am above the flood plain and they are grandfathering me in which means my flood insurance is only going to go up 600% which the insurance company is telling me is a wonderful thing I guess I will hire an engineer to submit paperwork again on my behalf but this is highway robbery

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Mikey July 12, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Bob K, you could live on top of a 5,000 foot mountain, but if your LAG elevation is 1/10 of an inch below your BFE elevation you will be in the flood zone according to FEMA.

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Bruce Anderson July 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Mikey….Thats assuming that a BFE actually exists !!
Our area has NO BFE, yet FEMA declared it a flood area. Even if I sent in paperwork, I couldn’t prove my property is above the BFE, because it doesn’t exist ! THEREFORE, FEMA will reject the amendment request because I have not proven I am above the BFE…. When did the innocent until proven guilty turn into guilty until you prove you are innocent ? The IRS got away with it for years, and now FEMA is picking up the ball and running with it.
I got a letter back from Senator John Cornyn of Texas. He says he will look into it if I send more detailed information, fill out a form, and send it to his Dallas office. We’ll see…..
Bruce Anderson recently posted..Will Be Back Soon

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Mikey July 14, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Bruce, I don’t understand how FEMA can determine you are in a flood zone when they have no established BFE? What are your neighbors doing? Some city or county official should have information sent to them by FEMA. Good luck with the politicians. From what I understand, most of them voted to give FEMA the authority to expand their flood maps. Another example of voting on something before they read it. And another way to take our money without calling it a tax.
I think I heard from someone in Texas that if a horse urinates on your property you will be put in the flood zone.
Stay on the senator and make his life miserable. They count on us to back down. Also, check with a surveyor, they should know what the BFE is for your area.

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Beth August 8, 2012 at 12:20 am

Yes, in small towns, etc., FEMA can “guess”, etc., and if they decide you’re in the floodzone you’re automatically Zone A, most expensive, BECAUSE the absence of BFE. This is a BFD, pardon my acronym.

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Bruce Anderson July 15, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Thats the funny thing, Mikey…FEMA declared we are in the flood zone with no data whatsoever. The little town north of us had the same problem…the city set aside $150,000 to do a survey to send to FEMA to prove the BFE and disprove the flood determination.
Our city doesn’t have such plans, but luckily a developer here had his entire property declared a flood zone. Needless to say, that impacts his ability to sell his home sites…so he took it upon himself to hire a firm to do the elevation survey to send to FEMA. Again, luckily, his land abuts our street, so we most likely will be included in his demand to have the flood plain recended. I’ve been in contact with the surveyor who is doing this project and he told me to wait on my own survey until he finishes his work. Then, I might not have to have my survey done if FEMA recinds the flood plain determination of this area. Developer and surveyor estimate 8-10 months for this process to work itself out. I’ve got my grandfathered “preferred rate” flood insurance for this year for $313, but its the next year I worry about when I go into the “standard rate” that everybody is talking about.
And yes, I intend to stay on the Senator’s back…not that I’m overly optimistic.
Bruce Anderson recently posted..Will Be Back Soon

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bill July 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm

my girl is now being forced to buy flood.
Im out of work and her income is 7,000 ins. is 2,100 no way, not even close.
what can they do if you cant afford it.
this could come down to me defending our home against a gov. I no longer believe in.
AND I WILL, TO THE DEATH!!!

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Mike July 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm

I too have had a Problem with FEMA in that when I bought the home in 2010 a day prior tom closing I was told I was in the flood plain and needed insurance to close. It cost me $343 ok then it renewed in 2011 again same amount. 2 months laster I got a notice from FEMA that I was in the critical AO area and was short on mty coverage.I didn’t understand how this works so I waited to see what was next. The bank took out it’s own supplemental insurance for the coverage. I then started to investigate none of my neighbors had flood insurance. My then current insurance company State farm was no help. I started checking around and found State Farm was charging almos 3 times what everybody else was so I cancelled them and went to Allstate who was very helpful because they printed a flood determination form that reflected that my property was in fact not in a flood plaing. I immediately cancelled the bank policy but have not been able to cancel the FEMA policy. They ignorew my request and will not accept a cancellation from Allstate it has to be State Farm well they attempted half heartidly to cancel it with no success and I am still trying through them to no avail. Any infor would be appreciated please helop. You see I should really be reinbursed since 2010 because I am not in any flood plain and was forced tto take out a policy. who is responsible?

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Randy July 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm

I got my home removed from the flood zone via LOMR-F. I was successful in getting this done before the 1 year deadline was up, so they did not renew the insurance. We do however wonder if we will receive a full refund for the past year, our community does not participate in the NFIP so we had a forced insurance policy done through a different entity not through the NFIP. Has anyone been in a similar situation or know any information that might help?

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Mikey July 16, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Bill, it sounds like you are in for some hard decisions. The bank will add about $175 to your monthly mortgage payment (based on $2100 cost). If you stop payment on your mortgage, then you will default on your loan and go into foreclosure. Make sure you are actually in the flood zone before you do anything.

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JP July 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Mikey
Your statement “Bruce, I don’t understand how FEMA can determine you are in a flood zone when they have no established BFE?”

Highlights the biggest problem in the whole scam. Many of the maps in use were just sketched in by using data that was on hand, but was not developed for the use that FEMA put it to. So they essentially made a claim based on using inaccurate data and then placed responsibility for disproving their claim on the property owners.

Essentially they were guessing that a flood zone was in this area or that area. Those areas are designated a Flood Zone A with no BFE. “Zone A with no BFE” is government speak for “we have no evidence to support that this area is in a flood zone, but we are collecting insurance premiums from you until you can prove otherwise.”

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Jennifer Luke July 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I have been going back and forth with my city, FEMA and Wells Fargo for over 9 months as a result of my house (that has been standing since 1978-through all major hurricanes in Florida without ever flooding once) being placed in zone A from X as a result of the new flood maps. FEMA denied my request for a LOMA and even stated that their data was nor confirmed, but I still am being forced to buy flood insurance. I am now paying $700.00 to have a topographic survey of my lot with an elevation survey to prove that I should not be in zone A. I will be resubmitting for a LOMA. I think it is wrong for FEMA to not have hard core data, but still require me to buy flood insurance. It’s like being guilty and having to prove you are innocent! They don’t have an establish base flood elevation, so I’m being forced to pay to establish one for them….I should be the one getting paid to do this! I would be more than happy to join a class action movement against FEMA.

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Bruce Anderson July 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Concensus is that the new flood plain designation…happening all over the country….is congress way of giving FEMA a much larger “pool” of flood insurance premiums. FEMA ran out of money with Katrina and they don’t want that to happen again. So, as per the US Government policy, all of us have to pay for the irresponsibility of the irresponsible !
Thats a TAX, folks ! It’s a TAX !! A TAX on those of us with no recourse, to re-distribute the money we have worked hard all our lives to achieve, so that the government (FEMA) can spend it on those idiots that build a house next to a flooding river year after year, or build their house lower in elevation than a riverbed or body of water close by !
That’s why there is NO HELP going to come from members of congress. They are the ones who are taxing us. They will pontificate on how they are helping those that need help and will completely ignore the issue…which is: the GOVERNMENT is forcing us to buy something that we do not need, do not want, and can not afford. You’ll never hear Obama or members of Congress even go near this subject !
It’s like Kennedy said: “Ask NOT what your country can do for you (isn’t that what the federal government was established for…to HELP us?), ask what YOU can do for your country ! (Oh, I see…the people exist to serve the federal government !)
Bruce Anderson recently posted..Change…

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Beth August 8, 2012 at 12:24 am

Amen

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Lissa July 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I work with processing home equities and 2nd mortgages and have seen this happen a few times. It is rare, but all of a sudden its happening more frequently due to FEMA updating the maps again. The outrageous thing I heard was that FEMA actually determines flood zones by “SATELLITE”!!! Now how acurate can that be?!?!?! FEMA makes us banks/credit unions be the bad guys to break the news to the homeowners and have to take the brunt of the frustrations. I just tell my customers to contact FEMA and don’t give up because it’s going to haunt you with any type of loan that could be attached to your home if you truley believe your property is not in the zone. You can also sometimes get mortgage company to do a “Structure Location Report” to prove your actual home is not in the zone. It doesn’t come without a fee.

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Marshall Parker July 25, 2012 at 7:44 pm

They will charge you the Maximun premium of $2800.00 or so until you can prove you are above or below the BFE but will not furnish you a BFE ( base flood elevation) and nobody else can. I am going to lose my home of 32 years because I can’t pay it. It never floods here never will. they need money and this lets them steal from us nobody you talk to will help Every form you fill out to try and sole the problem ask for the BFE. Some places where they know how high the waters been there are BFE numbers but if they don’t have one don’t’ worry we will just charge you the max with a $5000.00 deductable until ???? Can you say Extortion

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Mikey July 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Finally, just received my letter from FEMA approving my LOMA request. Now I have to deal with the bank to get a waiver on the flood insurance (before I can cancel the policy) I had to purchase while dealing with FEMA. Something is wrong with this process. FEMA requires the banks to have you purchase flood insurance if you are determined to be a flood zone property, but if you are determined to be out by FEMA, the banks can still decide you need the insurance coverage. By the by, my LOMA paperwork from FEMA indicates that any major work to my structure or property still requires their approval. What a racket.

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Lionel August 6, 2012 at 5:50 am

I am new to this discussion but I have a question.
I did an Elevation Certificate which put my house in the X zone (AE before).
I submitted a LOMA but it was declined and the AE zone still prevails.
I contacted the company that did the elevation and asked them why FEMA disregarded their findings. They replied: “The surveyor had listed it as a zone X, however when you submitted to FEMA they stated in your LOMA letter that this was a zone AE. As the surveyor is regulated by FEMA for the elevation certificates they revised their certificate to show that this was in both a zone AE and X”.
What can I do now?

Thank you.

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Bruce Anderson August 6, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Holy Crap, Lionel…now we have the surveyors in the hip pockets of FEMA along with the insurance industry ! THat’s really BS ! The surveyor should not be regulated to change his findings to meet FEMA desires !
However, on second reading, it could be the typical government stickler for EXACT wording. When you sent in your request for the LOMA, did you specifically state that you were in zone X and were recently changed to AE and that your elevation survey clearly shows that you should be zone X ?? As I understand the process, you submit your survey with the request form to indicate you should have your re-designation to zone AE amended to indicate that your “specific” lot, because of its elevation (proven by survey) is above the “base elevation” and should remain classified as zone X. FEMA then gives you the LOMA, which you use with your insurance company and mortgage company to cancel the flood insurance requirement.
If the wording is not exact, the GS-12 FEMA guy will just reject the application. But I see NO REASON whatsoever for the survey company to change their findings. Thats BS !!
Am I correct, everybody ? Is that the way it works ?
Bruce Anderson recently posted..Don’t Delay Making Home Repairs

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Mikey August 7, 2012 at 12:25 am

Well, well something finally went smooth in this process. With in a week of faxing my new FEMA/LOMA determination to the bank (PNC), I received my letter from PNC indicating that I was no longer required to purchase flood insurance. Now I have to send that to the insurance company along with a cancellation of policy notice and wait for a refund.
Lionel, all my surveyor filled out was a Certificate of Elevation along with a property survey and a property information form. I also had to send in a copy of my deed.
From my understanding, once your BFE (by FEMA) is established then your LAG elevation on your structure/home will determine your flood potential. As determined by your survey, if your LAG elevation on any corner of your home is below the BFE then you are in according to FEMA’s formula. You can apply for a LOMR if you need to place fill/dirt around your home to raise the LAG elevation. FEMA will charge you $450 for that LOMR permission. Concrete is also considered fill.
Lionel, contact FEMA and find out who your case worker is and then call them for a clarification on your designation. Also, contact your congressman and raise hell with them. Sometimes they can put you in touch with someone a little higher up the pecking order who will give you some advice on your options and paperwork. I did that and it helped in my endeavor.
As i said once before, NFIP+FEMA+BFE+LAG+LOMA+LOMR=BS

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Lionel August 7, 2012 at 4:18 am

Bruce,

When I bought my house in 2007, I didn’t need flood insurance.
The bank told me 1 year later that I needed one. As it was only $400-500, I didn’t bother at that time.
However, last year, the insurance went up to $1500. My house was built on a slope with a river at the bottom. But my neighbors don’t have flood insurance.
Here are the findings from the elevation certificate:
B9. Base Fllod Elevation (Zone AO): 579.0′
a) Top of bottom: 580.2
b) Top of the next higher floor: 588.5
c) N/A
d) Attached garage: 579.6
e) Lowest elevation of machinery…: 579.6
f) Lowest adjacent (finished) grade next to building: 578.8
g) Highest adjacent (finished) grade next to building: 586.6
h) Lowest adjacent grade at lowest elevation of deck or stairs: 579.6

What I was told:”Your elevations appear to be slightly above the base flood elevation, however when it comes to determining if it qualifies as being able to be removed from the flood zone, that call comes from FEMA only. The surveyor can only show what they find. FEMA has the final say.”

Maybe they declined it because of the value for f) ?

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Bruce Anderson August 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Good info, Lionel.
My problem here is that FEMA has not determined or issued the base elevation for the properties it has declared to be below this. So, how can I say I am below the BFE if there is no BFE ??? Catch 22.
My last post didn’t seem to catch…I mentioned that I clicked on the advertisement at the top of this page “Paying Flood Insurance ?” , an ad for Dry Land. They guarantee they can get you out of FEMA flood plain or you don’t pay. Anybody have any experience with them ?
Bruce Anderson recently posted..Don’t Delay Making Home Repairs

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Mikey August 8, 2012 at 12:01 am

Lionel….your f. elevation was the culprit as far as FEMA is concerned. Look at your survey to see which corner of your house that level came in at. If you can put some fill (dirt, concrete) in that area, then call FEMA and see what their requirements are to apply for a LOMR instead of a LOMA. I know they want $400 plus to process a LOMR. A neighbor of mine had to do that.
Once again, call your congressman’s office and get someone in there to help you with this BS.
Bruce…I have not heard of anyone using that company or site.

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Beth August 8, 2012 at 12:35 am

Here’s the real kicker in my story… the neighbor N or me, “brown house” is very obviously lower elevation than mine. It has always been in a flood plain (has a creek behind it right where the town drainage tiles meet the creek…. and the creek drains a lake…). My house “yellow house” is higher elevation, not in a flood plain when purchased 2003. 2011, new map, now in flood zone. paying $700/yr for that (plus $567 homeowner’s ins). NOW–brown house got a letter 18 months ago from their mortgage company, saying that fema had taken brown house OUT of hazardous plain (which everyone in this very small town knows is wrong). She calls ins. agent, he needs letter from the village verifying. She calls village, gets the run around. Her agent sends letter, etc. to village asking for letter; village sends him what he wants, brown house is off the hood. HOW DO I GET VILLAGE TO WRITE SAME LETTER FOR ME? What a crock! The lower house gets a miracle “pass” on floodplain, I’m stuck into it at higher elevation and only the town “ditch” behind my house? No BFE at all in this area… so we’re all zone A….$$$$$$$. Will never be able to sell. Shouldn’t my property be assessed LOWER for TAXES now????????

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Marshall Parker August 8, 2012 at 7:20 am

To All :
If you were not in a flood plan before the maps came out you can buy a PRP (preferred rate policy) at a very reasonable amount. They will not make this information known to anybody I learned about by spending many nights reading over all kinds of documents. You get a low rate for 2 years and if you have no flooding issues they will grandfather you in. I was quoted $2,785.00 to begin with ended up paying $313.00 a year All you need is a letter from your local flood plane manager verifying that and copy of the old map. Don,t have a survey done if there is no BFE for your area its a waste of money. I am in Alabama but ended up buying from a company in Washington state. Snapp & Sons Insurance 206-282-3425 ask for Folomena Baker they saved me thousands. As for getting out of a imaginary flood plane forget about it. It is a federal government money grab. If you are close to any kind of ditch I would advise to buy insurancebefore you get captured in the next map you can buy for less than $ 200.0 a year and if and when you are put in they will grandfather you in at that rate. I have lived in the same house for 32 years never had a problem. Call you congressman as they are all be flooded with complaints, no pun intended. Good luck.

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Marshall Parker August 8, 2012 at 7:38 am

All:

Just a follow up to my previous post. I called my congressman’s local office and he referred me to someone in his Washington office who gave me the name of the state director, who in turn schooled the local flood plane manager as to how to help me, took a while but less than a dollar a day is way better than some of the rate I was quoted by the way the government sets the rates insurance companies are at they mercy also. If you like flood insurance, Wait till the health care mess kicks in.

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Bruce Anderson August 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Marshall….I was lucky to have USAA homeowners insurance. When I called them for the flood insurance, they provided all the information you said you had to pry out of your carrier. I got the $313 rate for two years. However, USAA says that the “grandfather ” rate will be the “standard rate” instead of the high risk rate. I did not get the impression that this standard rate will be the continuation of the $313 rate…but it may be less than the $2800 area most are complaining about.
I was also lucky that my small town surveyor was just as forthcoming. He told me not to have the survey done since there was no Base Elevation…it would be rejected by FEMA and a waste of money. A developer who got smacked with this flood plain is contracting with this surveyor to do a Base Elevation for the area, so the surveyor told me to wait for those results and see what happens before I spend the money for my own survey.
And I agree…this is just a preview of the health care fiasco to come.
I got a letter from my senator…he says he sent a note to FEMA and has not received a reply, but will let me know when he does. Yeah, right……..
Bruce Anderson recently posted..Don’t Delay Making Home Repairs

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Mikey August 8, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Hey Bruce, I actually invited my congressman out to my home so that he could see first hand how ridiculous the FEMA formula was as it pertained to my property. Of course his spokesman indicated that the congressman was aware of his constituents concerns and had sent several letters to FEMA voicing a concern. To me, being aware of a problem versus physically seeing the problem can present 2 different reactions. It’s like hearing about an airplane losing it’s engines versus being on that airplane.
Needles to say, my congressman, through his spokesman, declined my invitation even though I only live about 1 1/2 mile from his office. So much for concern.

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Bruce Anderson August 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Mikey…he’s probably too busy playing hanky panky with his interns !
The old joke thats SO TRUE…they spend the first year playing with the interns and the last year running for re-election.
Bruce Anderson recently posted..Don’t Delay Making Home Repairs

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nikki August 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I want to know of any class action in Florida against this flood insurance non-sense, I too was suddenly told my by bank that they where issuing a flood ins policy that costs almost $4,000 when I’ve never needed flood insurance, FEMA didn’t even notify me, I found out thru my bank that FEMA had suddenly made changes. To save time I went ahead and bought flood insurance that cost me $300/yr & now my bank wants to charge me $700 for the 2 months that I was w/o flood insurance. I really hope they get sued left and right for taking advantage of their position.

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Mikey August 13, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Nikki…your initial letter from the bank probably indicated that you had 45 days to purchase your own insurance before they did it for you at a much higher cost. If you did not notify them prior to that 45 day time period that you made your own purchase they will go ahead and charge you again. Call your congressman and raise hell about what the bank is doing. Surely your congressman knows some big time contributor to their re-election from that bank. Tell them you are going to the newspapers about the problem.
Good luck.

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Bruce Anderson August 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

My Senator received a reply from FEMA and he forwarded it to me.
Basically, it took a page and a half to tell me to submit a request for a LOMA. They again spouted the FEMA line and — with a straight face — reiterated the Catch 22, which is that they put me into the flood plain without having to have a BFE, but that my request for a LOMA will compare my site elevation (which I have to pay for) with that non-existant BFE.
Unbelievable !
Bruce Anderson recently posted..Don’t Delay Making Home Repairs

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ken Holz August 16, 2012 at 9:22 pm

You are going through the EXACT same thing I am. They placed us in a zone that has no BFE, but claim we are in a flood zone. I just had a certificate of elevation done and now they are questioning the Surveyor about how he determined the BFE! This is the biggest Fing scam going. I can’t believe there isn’t a class action lawsuit or a lawyer here that could take this to court. I’m over $1200 in the hole already and just can’t afford these expenses.

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ken Holz August 16, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I am hoping I can find a lawyer that will take my case and just get my money back. I believe I have a strong one but I don’t have any money to dish out. The whole thing is wrong. It is extortion. I built my home 5 years ago and followed all code. I even paid for a storm water management system (mandatory for the entire county) and my home was not built on any flood plain. How can an organization come in and force you to pay flood insurance with no BFE? FEMA told me ZoneA is a guesstimate. They also mistakenly ran a creek right through my home on their FIRM map, when in reality the creek is a good 60 feet away. After explaining to them that the creek is misprinted, they told me that I would have to spend my time and money to correct it by filing a LOMA. In the mean time I’m stuck paying insurance, surveyors and courthouses for all of my documents.
The best part is, they don’t care if you sue them. They have nothing to lose because it’s a gov’t organization paid for by us.

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Mikey August 16, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Ken…I feel your pain on this government rip off. It’s amazing, FEMA has not determined a BFE, but they want your surveyor to explain his measurements. Are any of your neighbors being affected by the flood plain mapping?
I would contact your state rep on this matter and then I recommend contacting you federal congressman. Also, I recommend going to the newspapers or local TV and have them come out to your property to see first hand your dilemma. Politicians don’t like bad press, especially in an election year.

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Greg W April 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Found the blog today. I’m presently going thru some of the same issues as some of you are, I have a wet lands area upon some of my property coded AE followed by a Zone X leading subjectively towards the house. Question: Did you by chance have improvements to your house done that involved local Environmental office? I believe that’s where my problem started, by following proceedures-doing the work honestly. They provided FEMA (to which they cheaply updated their maps) the 75′ environmental set back line that now reads (by FEMA) as a flood line right thru my house.

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Beth Gordon August 14, 2012 at 10:39 pm

For lender placed flood insurance complaints, google: lawsuits regarding flood insurance being force-placed by lenders. There are many lenders named. For fema based complaints, google:
Stop United Nations Agenda 21. Specifically look for articles or videos about Planning Departments carrying out Agenda 21 guidelines.

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Bruce Anderson August 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I’m about to go back to my Senator for the second time…I’m asking him if he noticed that FEMA admitted to flood zones without a BFE…and that MY elevation survey will be compared to that non-existant BFE ?
Next, I’m asking him when the American ideal of “innocent until proven guilty” changed to “guilty until you prove you’re not and I’m going to judge it” by FEMA.
Then, I’m going to close by asking him to pressure the Texas FEMA Director to issue me a LOMA without my spending money and going through the expensive, time consuming, and complicated government paperwork process.
I know…jousting with windmills ! I’d probably get more action if I contributed $50,000 to his reelection campaign…but we’ll see what the good Senator (or his staffers, actually…) think of the little guy…
Bruce Anderson recently posted..How Much Of Your Happiness Is Based On Your Comparison Other?

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Mikey August 20, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Bruce, good luck with your windmill endeavor. Unfortunately, our legislators gave FEMA the authority to expand their flood mapping and then they play helpless/stupid when their constituents come back to them requesting assistance from the mess they helped create. If possible, I would recommend you also contact your local newspaper and have them do a story on your situation. Make sure you mention how helpful your senator has been. Have you contacted your congressman(house of rep.) on this matter yet?

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Bruce Anderson August 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Yeah, Mikey…wrote to both senators and my congressmen…this is the only guy who responded.
I thought of the press, but don’t want to piss off the senator…I don’t want to be IRS audited for the next 10 years….
My only backup plan is the fact that a local developer is doing his own BFE for his properties, which I hope will include my street…since the creek behind me separates his properties and my street…that should be 8-9 months from now…with that info, I can have my elevation survey at least compare to SOMETHING !
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Mikey August 21, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Bruce…your senator should be worried about pissing you off since he works for you and your neighbors. I had a local reporter over to my home and she wrote a whole page and a half on the FEMA situation and my neighborhood. I did seem to get more assistance from his office, although I did not get the personal visit I requested. So far I have not been audited, but I have nothing to hide on that front anyway.

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T.J. August 30, 2012 at 5:13 am

Hey all,

I’m SO grateful that I found this site! Thank you all for your contributions. I am (or perhaps was) in the process of buying a house and found out through my own digging prior to closing that the property was re-zoned from “X” to “AE” 2 years ago when FEMA came through town and redrew the maps. The property has a seasonal creek running through it which I’m sure is why it has this designation, but the home is located approximately 100-125 feet away from the creek and up on a hillside. The home was built in 1928 and the neighbor who has lived next door for 20 years says that although the creek does overflow its banks occasionally during the winter run off, it comes no where near the home. I cross-checked my local FIRM map with Google Maps using my best eyeball test to see if the house itself was in the area zoned AE, and I’m quite confident that it is not, and rather is in an area zoned “BC,” (although it is surrounded on 3 sides by AE areas, the fourth side being the side with the hill that the house is backed up to). Fortunately, it appears that BFEs are established in that area. I am assuming that if I am able to get a Certificate of Elevation demonstrating that the home’s LAG is above the BFE, that I may be able to be removed from the flood plain and not have to pay flood insurance. (Am I on the right track so far?) I spoke with my local insurance agent and he shared that since the maps were redrawn in July 2010, we have until the end of the calendar year 2012 to receive a “grandfathered” insurance rate in the neighborhood of $1000/yr (no possessions), or $1,700/yr (w/possessions) starting in 2013. He said that if we did not take advantage of the grandfathered insurance rate and were somehow forced to get the insurance after 2013, that it would be closer to $3,200/yr. He also said that all of these rates will be rendered obsolete in October 2012 as FEMA has recently announced a rate increase, although they did not disclose how much they would be increasing rates. Comforting…

After reading everyone’s posts I am having some serious reservations about proceeding. We really like the house/location/land, so despite all of the horror stories, I am choosing to cautiously proceed for the time being, hoping to do my due diligence before totally committing to the property. I read the entire comment stream and had many of my questions answered, but on the chance that one of you seasoned pros is reading this and has it in your heart to answer a few remaining questions I have before I sign on the dotted line, I thought I would post a few questions. Thank you in advance for weighing in if you have any insights:

1) Since it appears that BFE levels have been established near my home, is it somewhat safe to assume that if I have a surveyor certify that the lowest LAG point on the house structure is above the BFE threshold, I will be able to remove the flood insurance requirement using the LOMA process? Is FEMA known for disregarding requests like this without reason? Also, if the LAG is significantly higher than the BFE, does this look better to them than if it is say just an inch above the BFE?
2) The property has a driveway that extends from the main paved road, across the creek, and to the house. If any of this road is in an AE designated area, could this cause me to have to buy flood insurance, or is the structure itself all that matters?
3) It sounds like if I am able to get a valid Certificate of Elevation, that I will need to submit a LOMA and that processing could take 60-90 days. Someone had mentioned that hiring a surveyor to submit something like this electronically can speed up the process. Anyone have any feedback on how much this can speed up the timeline? I was hoping to have this done prior to the closing of the loan, but I probably wont be able to get an extension for much longer than 30 days.
4) FEMA came to my town in 2010 and redrew the flood zone maps. Do any of you have reason to believe that they will just come through again sometime in the future and change everything again? I am trying to determine whether or not doing my due diligence now based on the current set of rules will give me ground to stand on in the future, or if it could ultimately prove to be a waste of time given that they may just change the rules/map/requirements again to where the home is deemed to be in a flood zone in the future.
5) Is there a consensus as to whether or not a bank can insist on forcing their own more expensive policy on you if you provide a FEMA-compliant policy on your own from the onset of your ownership?
6) I was thinking of building an attached garage onto the home. I read that FEMA wants a say in all construction projects being undertaken on the property. If any of you have dealt with this, is this a relatively easy process where they just want to collect a check, or do they cause major headaches during this process? The garage would be built on what appears to be a BC zoned area of the property right by the house.
7) I read a couple times that your local city planning department may be a good place to go to corroborate information, see previous maps, and discuss zoning ordinances. Are there any other important local departments to be in contact with?
8) Are there any questions I am forgetting to ask??? It is definitely nerve-wracking to consider moving forward with the purchase of a property that seems to have such open-ended exposure attached to it. We really do love many things about the property, but probably not enough to have to contend with a governing body that won’t at least play by consistent rules.

Sorry for the super long post. We are close to closing on the property and as bad as I feel potentially walking away from it, I don’t think it would be prudent to proceed without really understanding what we could be getting into from all angles. Any insights would be very much appreciated!

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Kris August 30, 2012 at 8:40 am

Hello!
I can only share some of my own experience, others may have more ‘expert’ advice.

1. You can never predict when maps will be redrawn. I was throw into a flood plain rather randomly and I live up a hill and nowhere near a body of water. On the other hand, a friend of mine that lives near a major lake was removed randomly from a flood plain. So, you just can’t predict.

2. It takes awhile for FEMA to process anything. They screwed up and rezoned me to ‘A’ from ‘X’ recently. I talked to my city planner who talked to FEMA. FEMA recognized they made a mistake but it will take 120 days for them to fix their own mistake. There is nothing I can do to speed up this process either.

3. If you get your own policy, I believe your lender has to accept it. Don’t rely on a lender, they will get a ridiculously expensive policy. You just have to provide proof you have a policy that covers the flood zone FEMA has determined you are in.

4. My city engineer was a huge help. I drove there and looked at the maps and chatted for a long time. He also recommended that I talk to our state engineer because they would send someone out to do a BFE for you. Of course, the week before, Michigan decided they couldn’t afford to do that service anymore, so I have to pay someone else to do that now. So, I would start local and see if there are also state people you can talk to.

Good luck!!!

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Bruce Anderson August 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Good answer, Kris…TJ seems to be on the right track…I, too, had good luck with my local city flood guy…he was sympathic, but helpless. My city had NO data whatsoever on flood plains, even tho we are adjacent to a lake. He did give me a letter saying he had no data, tho. I sent that along to my Senator with a scathing letter about what FEMA is doing.
However, it seems now is not the time go bug FEMA about flooding, now that they are going to have to pay New Orleans AGAIN !
There’s the problem — these idiots that get flooded out over and over, get rebuilding money from FEMA, and rebuild on the SAME FLOOD PRONE AREA ! Now FEMA wants everybody possible to contribute to the flood insurance pool so they can afford to pay these idiots !. With Issac causing alll the problems, I doubt if FEMA will be ameanable to ANY LOMA’s in the near future.
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Fred Spille September 11, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I have been fighting being FEMA’d for the past few months and finally decided to look to see if others have the same issues. Reading through everyone’s challenges, confirms to me that someone has decided to ‘REZONE” a lot of areas without any real statistical data. I am normally not a conspiracy type, but it would appear to me that, since the flood insurance is a government policy, we are being zoned into paying for insurance to help cover the costs of legitimate disasters. I have no problem volunteering or giving money to assist, but feel this should not be an arbitrary decision to generate revenue at the expense of hard working American’s homes. We had ours on the market and I had already taken a position out of state, when we got hit. I did the survey, LOMA, etc. And FEMA hadn’t set a BFE, until we submitted the LOMA. They have now taken an areas that has never flooded with my home built up 4 feet above normal elevation and said the BFE would be 3 feet into my home. Absolutely no historical data to back this up, as this area has never flooded. I actually had an offer on my house and they people walked away based on what FEMA arbitrarly decided. We have dropped the price of our house and have no one even looking. How can this be a good thing for the economy, which is predicated a great deal by the housing market? My wife and I have always paid our bills on time, been productive members of society, and we now feel we have had the rug pulled from beneath us by short sighted government intervention. We can’t even say our home value has dropped below what we owe, since this type of change doesn’t directly effect the market value, at least immediately. There seems to be a lot of people that are in the same boat (enough to flood it!), and I for one plan to push the message to where it gets heard. I hope everyone reading who is or knows someone who has the same challenge will do their part to get the word out.

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Kris September 11, 2012 at 9:59 pm

I wish I had a great answer for you. It is absolutely amazing how many people are suddenly in flood zones. I too am concerned about what this means for selling our house again.

We are about 30 feet up a hill. If there was a flood up this high, then the world would have much bigger problems than my flooded house. We would have to find an ark.

Good luck to you.

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Bruce Anderson September 12, 2012 at 11:29 am

Fred…that is exactly why I have decided not to apply for a LOMA and to get my house surveyed until FEMA decides to set the BFE. As I wrote to my senator, I have no confidence that FEMA would not just arbitrarily say the BFE is ABOVE my survey elevation, even without having to say exactly WHAT that BFE is. You’ve just confirmed my conspiracy theory.
My good news, however, is that the survey people, who were hired by the local developer, were out last week doing their thing around the creek in my backyard. I think these folks will have better political push to get our area out of the new flood zone. Or, at least, FEMA will have to accept their determination of the BFE.
It’s amazing what the government can do TO the people with no consequences. Someone at FEMA probably got a really good promotion from getting all this new money into the government hands. AND, to make matters stick further up our butts, I saw on the news about Issac hitting New Orleans area…some people were actually crying poor because THEY did not have to have flood insurance !!! So they want US to pay for them to rebuild. Hummmm…we, the folks not in any flood plain, HAVE to have insurance, yet the yahoos who live BELOW sea level, next to a river, DON’T have to have it. Sorry, but I think the government is out of control.
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Tammy September 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Please sign petition on change.org. Search FEMA revise or reverse flood map. Over 100 signatures right need a whole lot more for action to be taken. Once you sign petition you can post it to your Facebook page and ask friends and family to sign. With enough signatures we can put pressure on politicians to make changes

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Bernie September 16, 2012 at 9:19 pm

I will definitely look up the change.org site to sign the petition. Bank of America showed no consideration in force-placing flood insurance this past week! I agree that this is a scam…based on what? The topo maps are not even completed and what are we paying for? This is nothing short of extortion! Thanks for the posts and advise. (Like so many others who have posted here…my house is the highest elevation and yet, I am the only one newly deemed in a flood zone. ) It is all such a scam.

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Jeff October 5, 2012 at 7:22 am

Flood zone A here after 30 years of no insurance needed. Anyone have luck revising this with out a BFE? Did the elevation certificate. Insurance quote $3200 . No BFE found. They are forcing me to foreclose! How will the bank like that? FTA

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James October 5, 2012 at 11:55 am

I cannot explain to you what a nightmare this is and has been for me. Many of the stories I read here sound like mine, but no where near as worse. I bought land in 1998 and paid for it, built a home on it in 2005. I had the county health department come out tell me where to put my house so I would have no flood zone issues since I was putting in a septic field. They staked out the land. I have a miniscule spring feed creek on the front of my property. In 2010 I was notified I was rezoned by FEMA and now in a flood zone. Even after the FEMA “rezone” my house still wasn’t in the flood zone. So I was out to fight it. My bank started charging me crazy flood rates, over $3000! I got an elevation certificate, two surveyors and my county engineer to sign off that my house is not in the flood zone. My elevation certificate clearly states that. Once my survey came back ($900), the bank told me I would get my money back once FEMA approved my LOMA, not to worry about it. The person at the bank clearly saw I had all the evidence to prove that. FEMA rejected my LOMA and literally said “my surveyors were wrong and incompetent”. My surveyor was furious and called FEMA. FEMA representative said he was wrong in his survey and that was his answer. That’s it. I’ve been rejected twice by FEMA and was told if I didn’t have any new information to quit trying. What???? I have two elevation certificates by certified companies and the county engineer signing off! I’ve contacted my House rep. and have gotten nothing but political garbage. Once FEMA rejected my LOMA the first time, my bank changed it’s tune quickly and have been trying to hammer me. I’m over $5,000 deep in this fiasco. I have no where to turn and no money left. I can’t walk away from my home as I’m not underwater and I was responsible in building my home with me doing 50% of the work. I live in Virginia. I had a realtor tell me if I don’t get my home out of the flood zone I will lose 20% of my home value. Great, another $35,000. I need some help or a good lawyer or advice. By the way, it will cost me a $2,000 filing fee in federal court to sue FEMA and it may take me years to even get heard. That came straight from an attorney. This wasn’t counting his fees. Thanks for reading.

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Bruce Anderson October 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm

James…a real horror story.
An old joke that often went around when I was working…”We’re from the Government. We’re here to help you…”
FEMA needs the money. They will resist at all costs. I’m not sure you can even sue the federal government.
Your story is exactly why I have not requested a LOMA without a BFE…hopefully, for me, that BFE may be coming in the next several months, supported by a local develper.
$3 grand for the flood insurance right off the bat seems wrong. My insurance company said that since I was just “redesignated”, FEMA says I could get the “preferred rate” for two years (thats $313 annually in my area of Texas), then go to a discounted standard rate by “grandfathering” after that. Don’t know what that will cost. But, I would suggest you go to your insurance company and see why you were not allowed the “preferred” rate. I’m thinking you might have let the mortgage company buy the coverage instead of getting your own…in that case, the mortgage company will buy the most expensive rate possible (by direction of FEMA !)
Its just so sad that we feel so helpless when dealing with our government, and they care so little for the citizenry….
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Laura October 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm

We recently had an elevation certificate completed after our “grandfathered” rate for being placed in an AE flood zone 4 years ago went from $360/year to over $1500/year without any notice that this would happen. Our surveyor told us that only one corner of our home is a few tenths below the base flood elevation. We were told the elevation certificate would give us a more favorable rate, but the insurance company said it would not help us and only put us in a higher rate. We are considering putting fill in the corner of our home below the BFE, but I am wondering if anyone has had favorable results doing this or if we will still end up paying the same rate because we have a basement that is below the BFE or if FEMA will accept a new elevation certificate if we have changed the grade? I have tried to contact FEMA, city officials, and the Department of Natural Resources but have not received any help. I also plan to contact my state Senator, but am not hopeful about receiving any help either based on the previous posts I have read.

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Mikey October 5, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Laura…your basement level is not really material to the BFE. Your LAG is determined by where the ground level, outside your home, comes in contact with your house. If you have an attached garage that is included in that formula. If you place dirt or concrete on your low corner, then you must apply for a LOMR instead of a LOMA. A LOMR request will cost you about $450 (non refundable). Call the FEMA number you have to get more details on the guidelines for placing fill. I do believe there may be a fine without their approval. Contact your surveyor on the LOMR, they should be knowledgeable on the procedure. Now that you have been designated a flood property, there is nothing you can do to your structure or land without FEMA’s approval. God forbid if you have some endangered insect living on your property.

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Bernie October 6, 2012 at 9:01 am

$$$. I agree with Fred Spille who says we need to band together and push back. I believe that contacting your local representatives is probably a waste of time as this is so easily being dismissed case by case as isolated incidents as opposed to the enormity of the impact on each individual property spread out throughout the nation…and is in my opinion, an abuse of power by FEMA in that it is a money grab for the agency. Like Fred above, I think we need to raise awareness of this beyond a blog. There is a petition which I support but thought it needed stronger wording. Does anyone know of FACEBOOK page? I am certain that using FACEBOOK will work better in its reach to bring a unified voice, and due recognition to this egregous abuse of power. I too, appreciate this blog and thank whoever started it. It has served to help me get over the outrage and focus on the good fight!

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Bruce Anderson October 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm

I agree with Bernie…a facebook page would be a huge step forward. I’m pretty much computer illiterate, so I can’t volunteer to start one, but I certainly would join and support one.
One comment earlier said there is a class action going on in Florida, (I think), but I really didn’t like the wording…it sounded more like whinning and anti-government rather than a positive push back against FEMA policies.
I got Senator Cornyn of Texas to at least answer my two letters, but haven’t heard from him for over a month and a half now. I suspect that since it was congress that gave FEMA the power to do this, congress is not going to be of much help unless or until a VAST MAJORITY of people protest. AND as Bernie said, one application at a time is not going to do it…maybe a facebook page will help.
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Mikey October 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Bruce…although I did experience a similar situation as you, with my congressman, I did get some assistance from one of his office aids. However, this help came after I had a reporter from the local newspaper out to my home to do a story on my FEMA situation. The story was front page and seemed to put a little grease on the gears Most of the grunt work on my situation was still mine to deal with, but I was given a name of a person with in the FEMA bureaucracy who could maybe help me through the mumbo jumbo. This person did help clear up some confusion I had, but retained the FEMA dogma.
In essence, I would contact your local or area newspaper along with any TV stations local to your area and invite them out to do a story on your situation. Be aware that once a story is printed you will have other people in your area contacting you for help. I have had nearly a dozen people stop by my house asking for help with their situation since my story was printed.
Good Luck.

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Jennifer Luke October 9, 2012 at 11:10 am

I would like to see a class action lawsuit against FEMA. Like most of you, I bought a house that was built in 1978, on a dry golf course (no water for miles-no flooding even after all the major hurricanes here in Florida) but in 2011 the house was placed from zone X to A. Only me and one other house in my area was placed in the flood zone.

Since 2011 I have spent so much money and time with engineers and the city and FEMA and have gotten nowhere. I am in a land locked basin, and although my engineers place me at the top of this basin, and in a flood free zone, FEMA will not acknowledge my local engineers, or even my city when they signed a document concurring with the local engineers.

I don’t know how to find a lawyer who will take on FEMA, but I believe that all of us should band together and file a class action suit. It should force FEMA to recognize our local engineering data. it should also stop the mandatory flood insurance for people in zone A- that is ones where there is no BFE established. (Like someone else stated before- we are guilty until proven innocent and we have to pay thousands of dollars just to prove we are innocent!)

I have written Congressman Mica, and spoke to local newspapers. NOTHING has changed, until FEMA is challenged, nothing will change.

In addition, when I requested the study that FEMA used to determine my denial of LOMA, they said I had to pay for the records. They want $150.00 just to release the documentation which is absolutely crazy!

Let’s find a lawyer that will take on FEMA!

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Jordan Greer October 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Please go to this link below and sign the petition for FEMA to reviSe or reverse new 100 map.
http://www.change.org/petitions/fema-revise-or-reverse-new-100-flood-maps#

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Bruce Anderson October 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Mikey…I’ve afraid that the US Government will come after an individual who makes trouble for FEMA…IRS audits, Social Security audits, etc, etc….
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Jennifer Luke October 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Bruce,

You can’t really think like that. We are living in a democracy and have the right to question organizations that might be a part of the government. By staying quiet we are just allowing ourselves to be ran over by “big government.”

I have nothing to hide- they want to audit me- bring it on. I will not be bullied by an organization that is made of our peers. FEMA is ran by other people but it’s human nature to take the easy path instead of taking the time to investigate. These people who are rejecting our LOMAs and requests for floodplain reviews are just working an 8-5 job following a template that was put in front of them. They have no reason to do anything more.

We have to have change from the top down. FEMA leadership must start acknowledging our local engineers and true local data, instead of these “estimates” they are currently using.

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Mikey October 11, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Jennifer… I agree with you. If you think FEMA is a head ache now, wait till a CAP & Trade bill is passed. You won’t be able to sell your home unless it meets federal guidelines established under the law. I guess who you vote for on Nov. 6th will determine whether you want a more or less intrusive government in you life.

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Bruce Anderson October 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Jennifer…my apologies. You are correct.
I guess I watch too much TV. After all the lies, distortions and deceipt by our “leaders” in government, and the perks they continue to heap upon themselves, I have become a cynic in my old age. But I do NOT want this blog to become political, so I shall cease and desist. It’s too important that we share our dealings with FEMA so that we can fight this thing.
Right now, I’m in a holding pattern. The engineering company that is doing the elevation survey to determine a BFE for my area was out in force several weeks ago. The next step is for them to submit the data to FEMA to show that our area is NOT in a flood plain. I’ll check with them by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, I await a response from my senator, John Cornyn of Texas. After FEMA responded to him as a result of my first letter with the normal BS, I responded back to him saying that I thought just forwarding my letter and their letter made him nothing more than a middle man instead of a US Senator watching out for the citizens. (I said it more diplomatically…) Got a letter back from him saying: “…thanks for writing. I’m proud to be of service…” but do not know if he’s contacted FEMA again or not.
My plan…as soon as the BFE is established, I will have my house elevation surveyed and submit for a LOMA if I’m above the BFE….seems thats all I can do.
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Mikey October 13, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Bruce…If I could make a recommendation to you, I would take a visual walk around your home and attached garage if you have one and look for any low lying corners. Your lowest adjacent grade (LAG) compared to your BFE will determine if you are in or out. If a corner looks lower than another, then I would fill in with dirt now. Mine was off by less than an inch.

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Bruce Anderson October 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Thanks, Mikey…have done that.
My slab elevation is much higher than most of the homes in the subdivision across the golf course…and the developer of that subdivision is the one crusading and doing the survey to get the BFE for our area. If he is successful, it will be good for me.
Contrary to Jennifer….I see in this blog more problems with FEMA than successful requests for a LOMA. FEMA seems content to make the individual provide the proof, then ignore the proof and make you prove otherwise. A real Catch-22
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Mikey October 14, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Bruce…I see a trend in that direction. I wonder if that trend has increased even more since the flooding that occurred from hurricane Isaac? I guess I was lucky in that my LOMA was approved prior to Isaac. Also, in addition to your Senator Cornyn, I would go to your house of representative persons office and demand to see someone in the office about your FEMA issue. They may be more receptive to a personal visit rather than a letter. If you can get a few of your affected neighbors to go along it would provide more impact. Don’t call ahead to set up an appointment, just show up.

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Bruce Anderson October 15, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I sent the same letter to my representative AND my other senator…Cornyn was the only one to respond.
Good idea, tho, to just show up there…might try that.
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Brian D. October 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I did my best to read this entire thread without losing my temper.. that was a failed mission. I have a different take on this FEMA mess.

I own two homes, one in New Hampshire on a small lake and one in the Florida keys. Needless to say, I get FEMA-ed at both ends. The legitimacy of the out of the air assessments on both of my homes is not my main point as it is with the majority on this blog. (Not that I agree with these assessments, I just don’t think I can win the fight). I also understand the basic need for a flood insurance offering. Traditional, private insurance companies do not offer flood insurance as they are not able to make profits.. so FEMA gets invented. I get all of that…

My problem is with who pays for FEMA compared to who benefits from FEMA. According to FEMA, there are two distinct groups that can collect FEMA financial bene’s;

1. FEMA insurance holders in a flooded zone that sustained damage to their home. Fair enough….
2. Non-insurance holders who live in a region declared a disaster zone by the government, such as we have just experienced with Sandy.

So, the few seem to be paying for the many.. which the FEMA rep agreed to on the phone. Not too long ago, there was some serious flooding in NH.. ironically, my lake can’t flood, but many of the small streams and rivers did, and the flooding impacted no flood zones in many parts of the region.. meaning that the people living in these towns did not pay for FEMA insurance prior to the flooding, but they received payouts because it was declared a state of emergency.

An additional quirk is that my two houses are of roughly the same value, each with the same sized note. My FEMA bill for my keys home, which I could understand being swallowed by the sea, is less than 1/3 of my FEMA bill in NH.. I have no clue why this would be the case, nor could I get a real answer from the FEMA folks.

My NH home was assessed in 2005, and the University of New Hampshire was hired to do the state wide assessments. I found the exact surveyor who did my neighborhood. Nice guy. I asked him what would it take for my house to flood. His response was that it is virtually impossible. The lake is higher up than the next town over. If the water gets within a foot of my lawn, the lake will burst over the wall at the other end of the lake and flood the next city over. And the kicker? The next city over has no declared flood zones, so nobody pays FEMA.

I am not a big fan of government run services, but this one does seem to be a reality. We can’t let mother nature leave huge gouges in our country. But again, FEMA insurance is paid by a relatively low number of citizens when compared to the number that receive payouts.

Any thoughts? Am I wrong? To me, this seems to be the real angle to go after. Fighting each assessment one by one is a no win battle.

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Mikey October 30, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Brian…it appears you have now entered “The FEMAZONE”. You have attempted to penetrate the bureaucratic quagmire where common sense is not always part of the approved formula as evident with your 2 properties. I do think the difference between the 2 types of insurance holders is that Non-holders are given low interest loans to rebuild, whereas Insured Holders are given a payout (interest free) to rebuild like any other insurance claim.
After Sandy’s apparent destruction, in the future, I expect FEMA to designate the whole mid-atlantic area in a revised flood zone. This is just the type of event that will justify their formula.

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Bruce Anderson October 31, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Brian and Mikey…
Couldn’t agree more…
Like Brian, I’m of the feeling that individual fights against flood plain designation is a losing battle.
Second point that non-insured floods get the same FEMA help as the insured. FEMA has never had enough money, and I feel thats the reason congress gave them power to make more flood plains….they knew the best way to get more money is to put more people into the premium pool.
Your example, Brian, easily explains why some of those low income folks in New Orleans DIDN’T have flood insurance….they can’t afford it, so they get the coverage for free and we have to pay for it. My house is like yours, Brian, in NH. The creek behind my house will flood over the golf course and downstream WAY before it gets even near my house. But thats common sense, and FEMA doesn’t recognize that.
Government help ? Here’s an update: a last post suggested I go see my congressman. Well, I did that. I was summarily dismissed by the office manager and referred to the county emergency management guy. HE, in turn, referred me back to my “city” guy, who has told me before that the city has NO flood information and can be of NO help to me.
I also got a return letter from my senator. This was my SECOND correspondence with him. I chastised him for being nothing but a middle man, forwarding my letter to FEMA, and forwarding FEMA’s letter back to me….AND thanking ME for giving him the opportunity of helping me. OH, GOOD GRIEF ! This second letter, he did the EXACT SAME THING. AND FEMA did the obvious…they copied the response to my first letter and just sent it back to the good senator. He forwarded it back to me and again thanked me for giving him the opportunity to help me.
Face it…only the special interests who have deep pockets of “campaign contributions” get any help from our good congressional representatives.
I can’t fight it….I’ll just try to pay off my mortgage before the flood insurance rates get outrageous.
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Brian D. October 31, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Sigh… The big issue is getting anyone to be aware that this is happening, and more importantly, getting them to care. I have tried to speak to local officials, and once at the state level. The general consensus was “it must be nice to have this kind of problem”, suggesting that this is tax against the wealthy. Neither party denied that it is a mucked up situation, but they also could care less. Damn.. I am not wealthy. Just come look at my house.. And the irony is that wealthy people should not have a note in the first place, making them exempt from FEMA.

Now, if every home owner in New Orleans or near ol’ Miss was forced into this insurance, at these prices, this would be on NBC national news. When I first got hit a number of ars ago in NH, the FEMA rep fully admitted that they were going after regions with more money first. Still baffled that she made that comment. She also accused me of not being patriotic.. “Don’t you want to help those who need help.”

The open question for me is my keys home. I truly would not be shocked if I turned on the news to find the entire island gone. With the same note and the same home value, my keys FEMA bill roughly $500 per year. My NH home is $2500 per year. A local to the keys told me that they have been FEMA-Ed for years. Makes sense. But he then explained that Florida has state laws that that stop insurance gouging. If you do not play by Florida’s rules, you don’t sell insurance in Florida. It was his belief that FEMA was forced to drop pricing inline with other wind/hurricane premiums.

Does anyone know if this is possibly true, or folklore? For me, $500 is about right.. I have no major problem paying for that. $2500 for a house that cannot flood is simply a tax..

I think the best bet for this tax getting public attention is for, as Mikey has suggested, a major new swath of the country to get nailed. But I truly don’t believe that will happen with Sandy, at least not immediately. Nailing home owners with a new tax when they a swimming in the living room would be a PR nightmare. These folks are smart enough to stay under that radar.

Baffling…

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Mikey October 31, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Brian..first they will raise the rates to current policy holders, then they will incorporate everyone in the mid-atlantic into the new flood zone. Unfortunately, I suspect anyone in the hurricane Sandy affected area will be denied any pending LOMA or LOMR request whether they were flooded or not.
Just keep in mind, that even if you pay off your mortgage to avoid flood insurance, your property is still under FEMA restrictions. You cannot build or add any kind of dirt to your property without their prior approval or you face some kind of fine. Also, there is an endangered species clause in their guidelines. I hope you don’t have one of those on your property.

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Brian D. November 1, 2012 at 10:16 am

Keys, yes.. NH, no.. For my location in the keys, these restriction make sense to me.. Nor do I have enough land to ever build anything..

In NH, I live on a lake that has been a protected water source for several decades.. Which came with restrictive rules on property owners. These rules, at least in my town, have completely fallen apart in the last 10 years. NH does not have a broad base tax, rather homeowners pay the nut for the towns and state. The quaint system failed for not funding schools properly according to federal rules. This lead to new schools popping up everywhere. In 4 years my tax bill more than quadrupled ($12k on a lake cottage). FEMA snuck in on me right in the middle of this chaos.

So my town still needs/wants more money.. The rules fell apart. At one point I could not build a deck. Now it seems I could build a nuc plant as long as the end result would increase my tax bill. One neighbor took full advantage of this and filled in a portion of the lake with gravel, and then built a large garage with second story apartment. The duck nests were destroyed. The town did not care.. Nor could we get a fed to care. Certainly FEMA will not care as they will never see this lake..

It’s all too silly… It would be funny if not so expensive.

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scott November 2, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Keep in mind when shopping for the flood insurance that you do NOT have to use a FEMA approved insurer….mortgage holders do not care who provides the insurance as long as the flood insurance provider is certified in the state you are in and can provide the same coverage as a FEMA approved insurer. If you have any problems with FEMA get ahold of your mortgage holder and get a signed certificate stating they do not care who provides the insurance as long as the coverage is the same. Good luck

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Mikey November 3, 2012 at 12:21 am

Scott…good information, but I was told that the insurer had to be certified by FEMA to sell the flood insurance coverage required. When I received my notice from the mortgage company I tried to go through my homeowners company (State Farm), but I was told they no longer participated in the program with FEMA and I needed to go somewhere else for that coverage. I was also told that the coverage rates were standardized by FEMA, but I did encounter different rate quotes from insurance companies. I ended up with an Auto Owners policy with a preferred rate of $236. I was quoted $400 to $500 from 3 other companies. That preferred rate was based on my equity loan balance (approx. $35,000).

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Larry in Texas City, Texas November 3, 2012 at 5:14 pm

After paying homeowners insurance for over 30 years, State Farm decided the they could not insure us, because we are in a flood plan, never had a claim for flood damage. We are now insured with Geico. Is there a class acition lawsuit against State Farm for doing this ?

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Sandy from Michigan November 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

This all makes me sick….I’m in the same boat. I’m starting to hope for a flood! I will never be able to sell my home, since I am now in a make-believe flood zone, so let mother nature take it!

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Bruce November 8, 2012 at 9:22 am

Mikey…good information. I was not aware that the preferred rate “could” be dependent upon the loan balance. I’ll have to check on that when I come up for renewal, cuz I’m in a pretty low balance/market value ratio.
I’m still hopeful that the local developer will be successful in deleting this flood zone. I keep talking to people who tell me this developer has some serious influence. For once, I’m cheering for the developer !

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Mikey November 9, 2012 at 12:49 am

Bruce…why wait till your renewal? I would call your insurance carrier now and see if you are eligible for a preferred rate. If you have been determined to be in a flood zone for a number of years previously, I don’t think the preferred rate is available to you, but call to verify that anyway. As far as I am aware the preferred rate is only good for 2 years, then it reverts to a standard rate.
Wait till people start getting hit with the new federal tax based on the sale price of their homes. That will really make purchasing a home enticing along with a flood insurance requirement.

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Rafaela November 8, 2012 at 10:52 am

I was forced flood insurance by well fargo in june of this year . Ofcouse to male matters worse my community is non participating with fema so i cant puchase it only my lender can 3000 a year how lovely . I found a great company in Florida called flood zero they were able to get me a lomr letter and oct 30 wells cancelled forced flood and i got a partial refund i spent 1000 in the proccess and made 100 calls how frustration oh and let me add im 9 months pregnant but it you need help floodzero helped me :)

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Bruce Anderson November 11, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Mikey…I do have the preferred rate…I called USAA as soon as I got the letter from
GMAC saying I needed it. Here in my part of Texas, thats $313 a year, good for two years. Rafaela has an alternative…FloodZero. There was an advertisement at the top of this blog at one time, also advertising that they could get you a LOMA. Wonder what the catch is ? $1000 and a hundred phone calls doesn’t sound very easy !
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Mikey November 11, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Bruce…That thousand doesn’t sound good, but it’s better than the 3 grand she would have had to pay for insurance. Even though my LOMA was approved in August this whole FEMA thing still ticks me off.
I think the bank has the option to base the flood insurance on either the loan balance or on the amount of the original loan. Mine was based on the balance remaining on my equity loan.

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Bruce Anderson November 12, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Mikey, did you go through the “normal” process of getting your LOMA ? By that I mean hiring a survey professional who is familiar with the process, having him do the elevation survey and filling out that portion of the request form and sending it in ? And did your area actually have a BFE that he could refer to ? Did FEMA give you any heartache or put up any roadblocks or initially reject your application ?
Reason I ask is…I noticed in the request form that there is a section that asks where the surveyor got the BFE information.
As I’ve said, we have NO BFE in my area…so it would be fruitless (I think) to send in a request form with that blank. FEMA would either send it back as not complete, or just deny it with the same non-existant data that they used to initially identify the “flood plain”.
My local surveyor says it would cost me about $900 for him to do the survey and submit the form.
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Mikey November 13, 2012 at 12:13 am

Bruce… I did have a BFE elevation to begin with. I did hire a certified surveyor ($450) to re-survey my structure/property. He did fill out some of the necessary forms, but I did run into some difficulties with FEMA. Since my LAG number came in higher than what they had, they wanted me to start over and apply for a LOMR instead of the LOMA, claiming that their elevations could not be incorrect and that I had placed fill around my property. Also, I had to go down to the county office and get a copy of my property deed to send to them. Each of these actions on my part stemmed from separate letters from FEMA. Of course, just when you think everything is submitted to resolve the issue, FEMA sends a letter to the contrary.
Bruce, you may want to check with your county or state highway department to see if they have any elevations for your area. If they are doing any kind of road work/construction in a designated flood zone area they also have to comply with various FEMA guidelines. Usually they will do a survey for a new road or even road repair. Otherwise, I would not proceed, as you suspect, without a BFE. In addition, as I have mentioned before, get your local newspaper out to your property to do a story on your situation. Call the editors office.

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Bruce Anderson November 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Hummm…..FEMA has a LAG number for all our houses ?
Good idea about the highway department…they just put a bridge to replace a low water crossing on the creek behind my house, upstream about a half mile…
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Mikey November 13, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Bruce…It was not my BFE that determined whether or not I was a flood prone property, it was the LAG elevation. My LAG number on one corner of my house was 1″ lower than my BFE for the property which caused FEMA to put me in. Although in some instances my BFE or LAG was higher than some of my neighbors, their LAG number was equal to or higher than their BFE number which put them out. So, as a result, according to FEMA, if 3 feet of water came rolling down my street it would not flood any of my neighbors homes, but go directly to the corner of my house that was 1″ lower. Even though my home is brick all around, has block basement windows and my door entries are 2 1/2 feet above ground level, according to FEMA my basement could be flooded from that one corner. My basement would flood from the drains long before it would come in from the outside. Of course FEMA’s flood insurance does not cover flooding from a basement drain.

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Bruce Anderson November 15, 2012 at 10:56 am

Good ole Washington government common sense !!!
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Jennifer Luke November 15, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Like some of you, FEMA is refusing to issue a LOMA because they say their data is better than my local state certified engineer. I can’t add attachments to this post so you can see all the things I just sent to them today, but here is a copy of my recent letter. I also sent it to several people in Leadership positions at FEMA as you will see at the end. I’m getting the local news involved in hopes of finding more people in my county who will join me in this fight.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Luis Rodriguez, Chief, Engineering Management
Branch, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration
FEMA
500 C Street SW.
Washington, DC 20472

CASE Number 12-04-7665A

I am writing after reviewing your recent denial to my request for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) for my property at _________________. After having time to review your response and the data submitted for your review, I find your response to be in error.

You responded that my Lowest Adjacent Grade (LAG) elevation was lower than the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) determined for the structure. The Interconnected Channel and Pond Routing (ICPR) engineering model used by the city of Deltona, was the best available data until I ordered a site specific engineering review by a local state certified engineering firm, Daniel Johns Engineering (License number 54037). They have determined using their best available equipment and site specific data, that this house may be in a watershed, but it is at the top of a basin and not subject to flooding. In addition, the topographic information FEMA collected was done in by a system that could be off up to 2.5 feet whereas the topographic map provided by the state licensed engineer is accurate within inches. The elevation certificate submitted 8/20/2012 is in fact the best data for this property, not the computer model used by FEMA to determine the risk of flooding to this watershed.

The city of Deltona has concurred with this data as evident in the Community Acknowledgement Form signed by Mr. Ron Paradise, Assistant Director of Planning and Development and dated 08/24/2012.

I respectfully request those parties carbon copied on this communication to review this case as I believe my property has been unjustly placed into flood zone A, and that FEMA is failing to recognize accurate data provided by my state certified engineer and confirmed by my local government.

As such, Mr. Rodriguez, I respectfully again request that you recognize data provided by a local state licensed firm and endorsed by my local government and provide this property a Letter of Map Amendment.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Luke

CC:

Major Phillip May
Regional Administrator Region IV
Federal Emergency Management Agency
3003 Chamblee Tucker Road
Atlanta, GA 30341

Ms. Mary Lynne Miller
Deputy Regional Administrator
Federal Emergency Management Agency
3003 Chamblee Tucker Road
Atlanta, GA 30341

Dr. Sandra Knight
Deputy Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administrator
FEMA
500 C Street SW.
Washington, DC 20472

District Representative John Booker
840 Deltona Blvd., Ste. G
Deltona, FL 32725

Ms. Dinah Voyles Pulver
Environment Writer
Daytona Beach News-Journal
Daytona Beach, FL 32114

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Mikey November 16, 2012 at 12:09 am

Jennifer…you are on the right track. If you do an article with the newspaper, let them know if your congressional representative has been helpful or not. Your state rep really has no pull with the federal government. Also, if you have not done so already, I would call that Regional Adm./Major May and inquire about your property situation. I would do that before you do a newspaper article so that his response would be in the story.
I think in the near future more citizens are going to find themselves in the same situation with FEMA, as yourself, due to the damage done by hurricanes Isaac and Sandy. Somebody has to pay. Good luck.

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Charles November 19, 2012 at 12:27 am

I just lost a sale on my home 12 hours before closing due to the Bank requiring the buyer to purchase flood insurance from them. I have been living at this location for 50 yrs. NEVER have I seen any water standing in any part of my yard. So I made the bank send me what they used to to decide this, It turned out to be a FEMA map and the bank penciled in a house on the map and they told me it was where my house was located at. I looked over the map and they clearly made a mistake. I emailed them back and tried to explain to them that they had made a mistake and that the house that they had drawn in was a empty lot and not the house. Well that fell on deef ears (what a mess). I went to FEMA and was told that since I lived in a city it was up to the cities to put in the blocks of lots. So I went to the city, they got out their FEMA map with all the house lots overlaid. To no surpise my house was NOT in a flood zone. They even wrote a letter stating so (The bank even called them while the letter was being typed and was told that the house was not in a flood zone. I sent the letter to the bank and within 5 mins I received a reply telling me that the cities has NOTHING to do with their decission and the buyer most puchase flood insurance from them only. I did more research and found the following from the NFIP. (By the way I am a Professional Engineer).

A. NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM (NFIP) COMMUNITY JURISDICTION 1. NFIP Community Name. Enter the complete name of the community (as indicated on the NFIP map) in which the building or mobile home is located. Under the NFIP, a community is the political unit that has authority to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations for the areas within its jurisdiction. A community may be any State or area or political subdivision thereof, or any Indian tribe or authorized tribal organization, or Alaska Native village or authorized native organization. (Examples: Brewer, City of; Washington, Borough of; Worchester, Township of; Baldwin County; Jefferson Parish) For a building or mobile home that may have been annexed by one community but is shown on another community’s NFIP map, enter the Community Name for the community with land-use jurisdiction over the building or mobile home. 2. County(ies). Enter the name of the county or counties in which the community is located. For unincorporated areas of a county, enter “unincorporated areas.” For independent cities, enter “independent city.” 3. State. Enter the two-digit state abbreviation. (Examples: VA, TX, CA) 4. NFIP Community Number. Enter the 6-digit NFIP community number. This number can be determined by consulting the NFIP Community Status Book or can be found on the NFIP map; copies of either can be obtained from FEMA’s Website http://msc/fema.gov or by calling 1-800-358-9616. If no NFIP Community Number exists for the community, enter “none.”

A. NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM (NFIP) COMMUNITY JURISDICTION 1. NFIP Community Name. Enter the complete name of the community (as indicated on the NFIP map) in which the building or mobile home is located. Under the NFIP, a community is the political unit that has authority to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations for the areas within its jurisdiction. A community may be any State or area or political subdivision thereof, or any Indian tribe or authorized tribal organization, or Alaska Native village or authorized native organization. (Examples: Brewer, City of; Washington, Borough of; Worchester, Township of; Baldwin County; Jefferson Parish) For a building or mobile home that may have been annexed by one community but is shown on another community’s NFIP map, enter the Community Name for the community with land-use jurisdiction over the building or mobile home. 2. County(ies). Enter the name of the county or counties in which the community is located. For unincorporated areas of a county, enter “unincorporated areas.” For independent cities, enter “independent city.” 3. State. Enter the two-digit state abbreviation. (Examples: VA, TX, CA) 4. NFIP Community Number. Enter the 6-digit NFIP community number. This number can be determined by consulting the NFIP Community Status Book or can be found on the NFIP map; copies of either can be obtained from FEMA’s Website http://msc/fema.gov or by calling 1-800-358-9616. If no NFIP Community Number exists for the community, enter “none.”

The FEMA map associated with your property may be found using the Map Search feature. Note that when viewing the flood map containing your property, the location of your address will not be pinpointed on the flood map. If you require assistance with this tool, please contact the MSC Customer Service Department at (877) 336-2627.

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Ron Tse November 18, 2012 at 8:03 pm

My mortgage company did the same (Chase Bank) they said FEMA map shows your in a flood zone. I called Chase to tell them we need more time because we live in a HOA with 59 units. I called for a special meeting and the board decided to get a engineer to see if we are in a flood zone. It cost us 5k for this service. Meanwhile Chase forced me to get the flood insurance. I rufuse to pay until I get the results. The results came back that we are not I. A flood zone. I sent the documents to Chase and they refused the results until I send it to FEMA to get a document from them. Finally FEMA sent me back the document to send to Chase and they finally took the flood insurance out. But I had to called them back to get my money back. I do have a case but finding a lawyer to fight this is another story. This is a corporate robbery. Need a lawyer.

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Jessica Forsythe November 19, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Same horrible situation as everyone else. My question is – if we are in Zone A which states “no base elevation estimate available” how are we supposed to be able to get an Elevation Certificate showing we are above the flood plain? Our first floor is elevated 4 feet above ground level and we don’t have a basement. We are being required to hold 250K in coverage for a 6″ deep creek. Honestly a 60 minutes expose and class action lawsuit against FEMA sound so wonderful right now. We bought our house a year ago and it was not located in a flood plain. It being located in a flood plain will cost us 3400 dollars more a year that we did NOT budget for. Also, has anyone had any success, if they are stuck with this flood plain designation, in having their county re-assess their property and lower the property taxes since the flood zone designation devalues the fair market value/resale value of the property? that might be our next move…..

FRUSTRATED and PREGNANT and trying to save money so I can have more than 6 weeks off with my kid. :(

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Mikey November 20, 2012 at 2:52 am

Jessica…Unfortunately, without a base flood elevation you are among the easiest prey for FEMA. You may want to check with your city or county engineering departments to see if any road construction or building permits have been issued in your area. A survey is usually required for those permits and they may have elevation information. Also, I would go to your federal congresspersons office and make a complaint in person. After that useless experience I would go to your local TV station or newspaper and try to have them do a story on your situation. By the by, your county could care less if your home is submerged as long as there is a structure there, they will tax it. Do you think New York or New Jersey will lower the taxes on all those homes damaged by Sandy?
Good Luck

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Kris November 20, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Jessica, I live in Michigan and I was told to contact the state and they would have someone come out and do a BFE for my property. I called the number I was given, and was told funding just dried up for that. (Of course.)

So, I suggest you call your city and see if there is a phone number for your state you can call to have someone come out and do a BFE. (Our taxes have to pay for something, right?)

Good luck with both your property and your new baby-to-be!

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Bruce Anderson November 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Jessica…
I’m in the same boat as you are, if you have read many of the past posts. And Mikey is correct, unfortunately.
If you don’t have a BFE, your city will probably be like mine…have no data. After all, remember FEMA gives the city the information and if they have no data, they can’t give the city anything.
FEMA has taken the position, it seems from all these posts, that you are guilty of being in a flood plain until you prove you are not. (and then they will reject your proof and make you prove that they are incorrect, but bog you down with roadblocks all the way.) FEMA seems to spend more money rejecting people than they would gain by taxing people.
And Jessica…DO NOT allow your mortgage company to provide the insurance ! They will take the highest rate FEMA allows and much higher than if you get your own insurance under the “preferred rate”. Call your Homeowners Insurance carrier.
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Jessica Forsythe November 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Oh rest assured I got different coverage from our insurance agent immediately and it was about 500 dollars a year cheaper. Still expensive, but cheaper. We attempted to locate the 100 year flood plain information for our township via the FIS that they have on file, but could not even locate the creek in question in any of their documentation. We only had about 2 hours to go through it before the building closed.. will need to spend many more I assume. I contacted a FEMA map specialist regarding the predicament and here is the response:

We are responding as a representative of the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to your e-mail message, below. Please reference your customer number, which is 93725, in any future correspondence to FEMAMapSpecialist@riskmapcds.com.

The Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are not property specific. Any determinations made by parties other than FEMA are plan-view (horizontal) interpretations of the location of a property in relation to the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), but they do not include evaluations of the property, structure, or flood elevations.

If you would like an official FEMA determination regarding whether a property is in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), you may request that FEMA issue a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA), or if the property has been elevated by fill, a Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-F). The MT-1 application forms and other requirements for a LOMA or LOMR-F request are available on the FEMA website, FEMA MT-1 Application Form Download (PDF).

After the required property and elevation information and completed LOMA/LOMR-F application forms are received, FEMA will determine whether a property can be removed from the SFHA. FEMA normally completes its review in less than 60 days.

Elevation information, provided on either the Elevation Form or an Elevation Certificate, must be included for all requests, except those in which the structure is CLEARLY outside of the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). The Elevation Form or Elevation Certificate must be completed by a licensed land surveyor or registered professional engineer.

For Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) applications in Zone A Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), where no Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) have been established, FEMA requests that homeowners work with their community officials to submit any existing data that may assist in the development of an accurate property-specific flood elevation. However, it is not FEMAs intention that homeowners pay for extensive engineering or topographic studies in order to obtain a 1-percent-annual-chance-flood elevation for the area. Possible sources of data for obtaining a BFE are the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, State/Commonwealth agencies (Department of Natural Resources, Engineering, Planning, or Building Departments). If you are unable to obtain BFE data from one of the aforementioned sources, you will need to state this in a letter. FEMA can usually determine a BFE in support of the LOMA. Within the letter, please state that you contacted the aforementioned departments/agencies and were unsuccessful in finding BFE data.

Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), Flood Insurance Study (FIS) texts, and other flood map-related products are available from a variety of sources. If you would like to examine the maps and speak with someone knowledgeable about local floodplain management, you can contact your Community Map Repository (CMR), an office that stores flood maps for public reference. The CMR for Berks County. According to our records, Ernie Miller is the floodplain administrator, and he can be reached at 610-478-6130.

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Patti November 30, 2012 at 11:05 am

I’ve been following this thread for the last couple of months, and you all have been such a wonderful source of information and support. I went through all the correct channels and received my LOMA yesterday. However, it was filed with “additonal considerations” and they also referred to the BSE as higher than what is actually given on the flood map. Has anyone ever encountered this and do you have suggestons as to what I should do next? The conditions are 1) while the structure is removed, portions of the property remain in the special flood hazard area, which means I’m bound to federal/state regulations for any future construction/improvements, and 2) the determination is based on the flood data presently available and they are currently revising the NFIP map for the community (they just revised our maps in July which is what got me into this mess in the first place) and that when the new NFIP map is issued, it will supercede this determination (!!!!). The BSE listed on my map is 268 – the LOMA lists it as 268.3. Should I bring this to their attention?

I should mention that I live in Massachusetts and the water in questions is a brook that is more than 200 feet from my property. Our town hall does not know of a local flood plain manager and the state does not either, they refer me back to town hall. Also, has anyone ever filed a small claims action or even a group law suit against FEMA? I’m out $1300 so far, not to mention time lost over this issue, and I’m still not in the clear. I truly feel that we are all being found guilty without sufficient evidence on FEMA’s part, and we are the ones that have to pay through the nose to prove our innocence…

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Mikey December 1, 2012 at 12:22 am

Patti…I would leave well enough alone on your BFE/LOMA determination. Check your survey information that was sent to FEMA and see if your surveyor put down 268.3 on the form. As long as your LAG is equal to or higher than your BFE you are in good shape (for now). I am almost a mile from a creek that FEMA used for it’s flood determination in my area. When I received my LOMA they included the same language as yours. With the cost of Hurricane Sandy to FEMA, they will be looking for additional revenue so I am sure there will be a lot of revised maps in the future.

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Patti December 12, 2012 at 8:49 am

Thanks, Mikey. Will follow your advice for now and leave it alone. I did double check the info, and it was correctly submitted by the surveyor as 268.0 per FEMA’s baseline. Also, glad to hear that someone else had the same conditions attached to their LOMA.

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heating engineer December 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm

A handful of excellent issues here and actually just didn’t have a idea with regards to any of this before so with thanks for the perception
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Bruce Anderson December 2, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Finally got someone on my City Council to get interested in this issue. They passed a resolution at the last meeting to look into this further and see if the city can be of any help in determining a BFE for the entire city. (remember…with me, a local developer is footing the survey bill to determine the BFE for his subdivision, which may or may not include my street)
Interesting fact, our Mayor had flood insurance because he is right on the lake shore. BUT he dropped it because it covered practically nothing ! He said he could cover any damage for less than he was paying in premiums. Luckily, he has no mortgage, so he is not pressured by FEMA through the mortgage company to mandate purchase of flood insurance.
Patti…Like the old saying…”can’t fight city hall”…seems if FEMA is proven incorrect, they just change the rules….
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Mikey December 2, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Bruce…glad to see you found some support in your area. Keep in mind that each house in a subdivision can have a slightly different BFE elevation. As in my sub, my home had a slightly higher BFE than some of my neighbors, but they were out and I was in. It was the supposed LAG elevation given to FEMA that actually put me in until I paid for a survey to prove otherwise. Also, as I have mentioned before, whether your mortgage is paid up or not, your property is still subject to FEMA guidelines and restrictions. As I was told by a FEMA rep, “if you add dirt to your property it may mitigate your neighbors property in someway, therefore, you cannot do anything to your property until FEMA reviews and approves any property land/structure changes”. As an example, if your mayor wants to put a dock on his lake property he now has to get FEMA permission with a cost of about $450. Hopefully there are not any endangered species in the area of his lake. That will open a whole new can of worms on any property improvements.

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Bruce Anderson December 3, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Mikey…sure sounds like we are slowly slipping into a totally government owned or controlled society, doesn’t it ? (but thats a conspiracy topic for another blog somewhere…)
Several of my neighbors are really concerned about FEMA’s control now because they have to disclose being in the flood plain as they try to sell their houses. They think its going to negatively impact the sale or the price of the sale. Wouldn’t surprise me if FEMA adds several legal papers to closing documents. (have to justify their larger and larger staffs, I guess…)
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Mikey December 3, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Bruce…You are certainly on to something about the government. Unfortunately, most people aren’t concerned until they get hit with the big govt. stick.
if your entire subdivision is in the so called flood zone that’s one thing, but like in my neighborhood some are in and some are out. That presents a selling issue when your home is in when trying to sell and your neighbor down the street, who is out, is also selling their home. All things being equal, guess who’s home will sell first.

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Brian M December 4, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I’ll throw my name in the pot, and also seek some advice. My story: Bought our house in 2008 – no flood insurance required. Now 5 years later, out of the Blue we’ve been mandated by our lender(good ole Wells Fargo) that we have to have Flood Insurance.

After calling Progressive(our home insurance provider) the rep laughed and said, “You’re not in a flood zone” and sent a Flood Zone Certification from Core Logic stating we are in zone X* (property is in zone X but existing structure – our house, is not). I passed this onto Well Fargo, and they stated they needed an exhibit Map showing our structure NOT in the flood zone. – Their map conveniently shows our house in a AE zone.

I called Core Logic and obtained the exhibit map which clearly shows our house NOT in any of the zones. I’ve submitted this to Wells Fargo and am awaiting their response(submitted it 5 days ago).

Both maps were dated 1996 – one shows flood zone AE, the other shows no flood zone.

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Mikey December 4, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Brian…FEMA revised their maps in February of 2012. My property was originally out based on the 1996 map elevations. Between 1996 and 20012 FEMA changed their formulas for determining a flood zone property. With that change, my property was determined to now be in the 1% chance of flooding within a 100 years. I think Wells Fargo is going to want the 2012 FEMA map. To check yourself, go to FEMA.com and punch in your address. It will show the most current mapping..maybe.

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Patti December 12, 2012 at 9:17 am

You can also call your town hall and they will have copies of the most recent maps. Our maps were updated in July of this year. My house was built 20+ years before the flood zone was ever created (my neighbor’s house was built in 1832 and remains flood free), but yet, miraculously, just like Mikey, it is now determined to be in the 1% chance of flooding within 100 years.
Your 45 days will tick by quickly. Have any of your neighbors been hit with this as well? Any further response from Wells? Good luck….

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Jeff December 11, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Shop for your insurance. Was told by bank I needed insurance. Called around and one agent said I needed to get this from my home owners company. My insurance company said I need a elevation certificate to get a quote. Spend $400 on that and the quote was $2300. I’m in zone A with no BFE. Bank sending me letters telling me I have 45 days to buy my own or they will buy it at a higher cost. Well bought the $2300 policy (no time in the middle of a refinance) then the bank said they purchased a policy for me for $1500. WHAT??……told the bank ok I want your policy…went through hell canceling the first policy and just got the refund. Then the new mortgage company doing the refinance said I need more coverage. I call the current mortgage company and ask to up the coverage but they said they canceled it because I can’t have 2 policies and need to go through the same 45 day process again………Well less then 2 weeks till closing and got on the phone again and found someone local that said I don’t need to get flood insurance from my company. Gave them my info and the they gave me the preferred risk policy because I was in zone C for $427 for 2 years. OMG payed them on the spot and if I don’t get the binder in 2 days like they said I’m going to ……well…I’m going to need some medication.!

Can’t wait for LOMA fight!

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Mikey December 11, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Jeff….you better go see your doctor now and get a prescription for some vicodin, with refills, prior to your dealings with FEMA. Most important, don’t keep any loaded guns in the house. With that said…good luck.

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Jeff December 12, 2012 at 7:40 am

Question….Is there a time limit on a LOMA? Meaning can I wait 6 months before I find the time to focus on the LOMA? Also I’m thinking a eLOMA might be a better choice for submitting. Any luck with eLoma’s out there. I live north of Boston. Anyone know a Licensed Professional qualified to use eLOMA??

thanks.
I’m not having Fun yet.

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Patti December 12, 2012 at 9:08 am

Hi Jeff,
I am in MA as well (South of Boston), and I’m afraid you won’t be having any fun for some time. I don’t think there is a time frame involved with submitting your LOMA, and the eLOMA really doesn’t offer you any substantial benefits from what I’ve seen. My surveyor filled out all the paperwork for me, had the necessary copies ready to send, and I sent it certified mail. Double check everything, make sure you send everything they request and you should be fine. I mailed mine 10/24, received their response of receiving it by email on 10/30, and received my LOMA in the mail on 11/29. Of course, my flood insurance was required by my mortgage company by 11/19, so I am still on the hook for that for the year, but thanks to this thread, knew that I qualified for the lower preferred rate instead of the special hazard zone that I had been placed in.
For your own piece of mind, you might want to just get it over with sooner rather than later. Hope your got your binder safe and sound!

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Mikey December 12, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Patti,…you are not on the hook for that insurance for a year. You are entitled to a refund. Contact your agent and start the process. You will need a copy of the LOMA letter from FEMA and a copy of the letter from your bank indicating flood insurance is no longer required. The sooner you start, the higher the refund amount. You should be able to get a full refund at this time. I received a full refund from the insurance company I dealt with. It took a couple of weeks for it to arrive.

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Jeff December 12, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Patti,

Did you have a BFE when you submitted? I’m afraid to submit without one.I don’t have one and are starting the process of finding a Engineer that can find one or create one. So far the city has been helpful with coming up with elevation plans for our street that I didn’t know existed. I had a elevation done by a engineer but he could not find a BFE. So I’m looking for someone else with a little more knowledge about the process. Congrats on your LOMA.! Have some fun for me……

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randy wright December 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Ok so “FEMA” (another acronym for uncontrolled organization that will continue to grow until it dictates where you will be buried), Has also changed a hundred year flood plain map with a keystroke on a computer. Another company in another state “Corelogic” gets paid to read the 1/2 wide blue line drawn by the computer and sends the info to another company blah blah blah We have to pay for unneeded insurance for life because of a flood in NY or Louisana. My old survey is usless. Logic is usless welcome to the politoburro. Oh so you want to change it? get out yer checkbook! Buy thier map submit to 100′s of pages of crap. Maybe you will get lucky.Or just pay it like the sheep we have bcome.

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randy wright December 18, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Ok so “FEMA” (another acronym for uncontrolled organization that will continue to grow until it dictates where you will be buried), Has also changed a hundred year flood plain map with a keystroke on a computer. Another company in another state “Corelogic” gets paid to read the 1/2 wide blue line drawn by the computer and sends the info to another company blah blah blah We have to pay for unneeded insurance for life because of a flood in NY or Louisana. My old survey is usless. Logic is usless welcome to the politoburro. Oh so you want to change it? get out yer checkbook! Buy thier map submit to 100′s of pages of crap. Maybe you will get lucky.Or just pay it like the sheep we have become.

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Bruce Anderson December 19, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Latest information for MY saga…the developer who took it upon himself to survey for the BFE in our area seems to have used his logic to prevail. AND…the City Council got into the fight. They decided to join forces, and the survey information was submitted to FEMA with the CITY in the signature column. Latest news is that FEMA will accept the new determination that our area is NOT in the flood plain. Yeppeee….We should have the new, revised map to the city in about a month, according to my neighbor, who is on the city council.
So…the conclusion is that individuals can not fight FEMA….but, perhaps, a larger political entity can……
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Mikey December 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Bruce…congrats on your recent success. Just keep in mind that the fight starts with the individuals initiative and along with most other things it helps to know people in high places. Also, be aware that FEMA uses a secondary elevation, LAG, to determine a properties flood potential. If your LAG is below the BFE then they can put you back in the flood zone.

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Jon January 2, 2013 at 9:54 pm

I have been in my house for 8 years now and have never been in a flood zone. I just got a letter from Wells Fargo saying that I am now in a Flood Zone A and found out the insurance would cost me about $4300 a year. How can I not be in a flood zone for 8 years and suddenly I’m in one? I sit at the top of a hill and have never had flooding problems even when we had 15 inches of rain. Any suggestions as to what I can do to fight this?

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Mikey January 2, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Jon…welcome to the club. First and foremost, do not allow your mortgage company to purchase the flood insurance, they will up charge you above the normal rates. Go to your homeowners agent and see if they participate in the federal flood insurance program. If not, contact a property insurance agency in your area and they will be able to assist in finding coverage at a much lower rate than Wells Fargo. You should be eligible for a preferred rate.
#2…find out what your elevation is for your property. Sometimes FEMA will place a property in a flood zone without an established elevation. You can contact your city, county or FEMA to get this information. The elevation report is FEMA’s basis for placing you in the flood zone.
#3…find out who else in your area/neighborhood has been placed in the zone. It’s better to be able to gather and share information with others in the same boat.
#4… contact your federal congressperson (as a group if possible) and let them know how mad you are about the flood zone designation. It’s better to go to their office, in person, than to call. It’s just better to deal with your reps stooge in person rather than on the phone.
#5…contact your local newspaper and have someone do a story on your situation. It can be an effective tool when dealing with politicians.
#6…after you get elevation information from FEMA, you may need to pay a surveyor to resurvey you property elevations in order to apply for either a LOMA or LOMR. Find out exactly what paperwork needs to be submitted from FEMA. Usually your surveyor will fill out most of the necessary paperwork, but sometimes they don’t do all of it. If they don’t and you just send in what they do and it’s not complete, FEMA will reject your application until they receive the additional paperwork. The federal government is all about paperwork.
#7…learn the FEMA language. It makes it easier for you to talk with them and to understand what they’re talking about.
#8…read the previous situations and responses on this website.
#9…good luck.

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Bruce Anderson January 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Nice synopsis, Mikey…
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Jessica Forsythe January 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Hey guys so guess what? After being told we were in a flood zone as of 10/25/12, being forced to buy a 1700 dollar per year flood policy, paying for the policy and escrowing funds for next year’s payment, we received a letter from our bank stating that our property was audited and as of 12/14/12 we are no longer in a flood zone and flood insurance is now OPTIONAL. Interesting since neither the house or the creek has ever moved! So we were required to carry flood insurance for 7 weeks which cost us about 300 dollars. Now I am in the process of trying to cancel our policy, which the federal flood program doesn’t allow you to do unless the house is sold – without a bunch of documentation. I could seriously strangle someone and am also refinancing our house with my credit union because this business with Wells Fargo has been an absolute joke and I have received nothing but misinformation, contradictory information and RUDE customer service during the hours of correspondence I have conducted with them to try to sort all of this out.

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Mikey January 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Jessica…congratulations on your new determination. You should be able to cancel your flood insurance and receive a full refund. Once I finally received my LOMA from FEMA, I sent the information to the bank and the insurance provider. It took about 3 weeks to get the refund.

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Tarah January 5, 2013 at 9:27 pm

I just found this thread because of my research on disputing FEMA…I think I am in the same boat as all of you. I am dealing with Wells Fargo as some of you are. We were sent a letter back in October 2012 stating that we were in Flood Zone A. This of course came as a shocker to us. We have been going through the hoops that all of you are as well with the enforced flood insurance. We finally got a surveyor and he is working on the elevation certification as well as the LOMA. He has told me we are not in a Flood Zone at all. Of course, nothing has been done yet because we are still waiting on the surveyor to complete his paperwork. He did tell me though that FEMA has a $425 processing fee to submit the LOMA, what is this? We have to pay FEMA to correct a mistake they made to begin with. Our house was built in 2004 and in the appraisal done by Wells Fargo’s people it states that we are not in the Flood Zone. Wells Fargo has a declaration certificate from our builder that was placed in the file in 2004 that we are not in the Flood Zone. Wells Fargo says that those do not matter….the only thing that can reverse this grave mistake is to get the amendment. Very upset over this whole thing….even started smoking again because my stress and nerves are having trouble dealing with this and we have only just begun this stressful process…..any advice out there?….no rest for the weary……

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Mikey January 6, 2013 at 12:22 am

Tarah…F.Y.I. there is no processing fee for a LOMA (map amendment). The $425 fee is if you are applying for a LOMR (map revision). If you have not placed any dirt around your house to improve your elevation, then you are applying for a LOMA (no fee). Make sure your surveyor understands which one you are applying for. Also, you will need a copy of your property deed to send to FEMA. I would recommend calling FEMA before you send in your surveyors packet just to make sure what information they may require. Sometimes a surveyor does not know. If your information is not complete, FEMA will send you a delay of action notice on your determination which will add to your headaches.
FEMA revised their flood maps in FEB. of 2012. That’s probably why you received a notice from your bank stating you are in a flood zone. I would double check with whomever may be dealing with FEMA from your city or go on FEMA.com (punch in your address) just to make sure you are actually in the the flood zone. Several of my neighbors received notices from their banks, but they were not in the zone.
Good Luck

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Bruce Anderson January 6, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Tarah…I think the US Govt, and especially FEMA deliberately makes any process so frustrating that they expect the average citizen to give up and just give in. They must have a specific branch that tracks this…
Reason I say this…is that I followed Mikey’s advice about going to FEMA.com and trying to see my map. I clicked on map search, as the website suggested, and as Mikey, you said. What I got was a map of the entire US…OK, so far so good. I clicked in my street address…and it blinked and came back with the map of the US. After 3 tries, I just put in my zip code (since we are a fairly new incorporated city) and it came up with a big tan map…
OK, getting there…then, following instructions, I clicked on my specific street…then clicked on print, to get a copy. Baawhoops…back to the initial page with the map of the entire US. I did this about 4-5 times, using different parameters and each time it came up with the original page.
Then I clicked on the pointer, like the instructions said, and tried to get to the map that way…no luck. It kept going back to the original page of the US map. NOW I’m getting frustrated.
Adding to the problem….from what I could see from the maps displayed…there was NO indication of a flood zone….ANY WHERE.
I did see a number under the listing of my county…Llano. 48299C0525C. OK, that means something to somebody, but I spent 20 minutes trying to find some way to decypher it. Couldn’t.
See Tarah, its all a “ast right wing conspiracy”!!
Mikey…what am I doing wrong that I can’t get the results you got ?
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Mikey January 6, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Bruce….using the FEMA.com website is another indication of government in charge. I am sure they paid someone millions of dollars to come up with their “Where’s Waldo” website. For sure it is not very user friendly. Most of the information I found on the site (pertaining to my home) was purely by accident. Consequently, I am not a good source on specifics for using the site. The mapping part is ridiculous. Trying to zoom in on an area so street names appear can test your patience to the max. However, through some blind luck, I did find information, on the site, that listed elevations for my city area affected by the 2012 revisions. This listed the homes both in and out throughout the flood zone area based on elevations.
Worst case scenario is to call FEMA while you are at your computer and see if they can help you out.

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Bruce Anderson January 7, 2013 at 11:31 am

Thanks, Mikey…
Think I’ll push off to our city government and let them do the work. They were the most helpful before. Lets see if they can continue.
I sent them an email, noting that the rumor is that a new map for our area has been discussed with FEMA and is favorable to us. I’ll let our tax-dollar recipients do the work for a bit.
When I was working, I had some dealings with the federal regulations. One guy told me that a proposed new regulation had been kicked back because it was not “comprehensive” enough. The definition, according to my government friend, of “comprehensive”, was “make it less clear and concise”.
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Jon January 17, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Well, I got a copy of my survey from the original surveyor for my home which shows the home is not in a flood zone. Wells Fargo backed off on the house, but now they say that my Pole Barn is in a flood zone and that I need to get flood insurance on that. I looked at the county flood map that shows the barn is not in the flood zone, but Wells Fargo has a FEMA map that they say shows it is in a flood zone and that they believe the FEMA map over my county’s map. Wells Fargo sent me a copy of the map and it looks like someone took a red sharpie and guessed where my barn is. the map looks nothing like my county map. I also called my insurance company and they said they can’t quote me a price for flood insurance without an elevation certificate, which I have to get through a surveyor. The whole thing seems so ridiculous since the barn is made out of pressure treated wood and painted sheet metal. Even if the barn flooded, it wouldn’t hurt anything. Anyone have any ideas that can help with this? Thanks!

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Mikey January 17, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Jon…you may want to check with FEMA on the barn issue and your bank. I am assuming that your barn is detached from your house so it should not be included or required to be insured, unless you took out a mortgage or equity loan on your barn. Also, check again with your county to see if they can obtain an updated map from FEMA before you get a survey done.

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Tony January 17, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Calling in my second Surveyor, recommended by the County. The first survey showed me 6 inches below the (NEW) BFE on two sides of my house. So I started a backfill project and called the first surveyor for the advice he had offered. He’s not calling back. I’ve since found that there’s no official BFE for our area yet. It’s just a guess by FEMA. The Real map is scheduled for 2/13/13, with implementation on 5/13/13. Also, like others, I’ve found that the FloodSmart website just takes you in circles now and shows no flood information. I’ve got a year and a half left on the grandfathered Low Risk Policy. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but this really feels like one. I feel sorry for folks that don’t have the funds to investigate. I’m really hopeful that, with plenty of resourceful homeowners investigating,and this website, we’ll figure it out. Also, our City Flood Manager has been a great help and recognizes that FEMA (Our Gov’t) is trying to sock it to current homeowners based on moneys that have been wasted before on Oceanfront homes being rebuilt more than once.This Pretty much, mirrors the entire “state of our union” Super Storm Sandy…. didn’t help either. Don’t give up…. your guns or your money, without a fight.

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nicole January 18, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I am SO happy to say that after 2 years of fighting with Chase about the amount of flood insurance I need to carry (either 80% of the RCV or just up to the principal balance as promised in writing by the loan officer when I was buying the house) they FINALLY agreed, in writing, that I’m only required to carry flood insurance in the amount of the principal balance of my loan, for the life of my loan. Being a thorn in their side has paid off!!!

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Paul H January 29, 2013 at 9:00 pm

I am an engineering consultant that works for cities in the midwest. Unfortunately, one of my clients recently found that new flood maps place about 20 additional homes into the flood zone.

Here is my big question: What could have your city government done for you that would have made this process easier for you? I expect that the level of frustration will be immense for affected homeowners. I am hoping to find some ways to alleviate the frustration and to limit poor opinions of government that might be (improperly) directed at the City.

Any input you might provide would be appreciated.

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Kris January 29, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Paul,
Our city engineering where I live was wonderful. He showed me the flood zone maps, and he is the one that actually investigated and found I was re-zoned from A to X recently. He also gave me the contact for the engineers at the state level so they could come out and do a BFE. Of course, when I called the state, funding had been cut and they no longer did BFEs.

So, my city government was wonderful. They were knowledgeable and truly wanted to help me. I couldn’t ask for anything more actually.

Thanks for posing the question, I hope there are more responses!

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jody October 16, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Hi Paul,

If my city had sent a letter before the flood map was updated, indicating that the change was coming and that it might be wise to procure insurance just in case…that would have been a huge help.

In my case, the only notification attempt the town made was a tiny ad in the paper that wouldn’t have caught my attention. Not to mention, I am not a subscriber to the paper.

It blows mind mind, that no one is responsible for notifying you via letter until it is too late to be grandfathered in at a lower rate.

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Jessica Forsythe January 29, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Personally I don’t feel that my city government could have done anything. My local government seems to be as frustrated as we are. All of my outrage is directed clearly at 1.) FEMA 2.) the mortgage companies and 3) the insurance companies.

It is completely unfair to a homeowner to change the rules in the middle of the game – people put an awful lot of thought into the purchase of property, making sure that it is an investment that they can afford and will benefit them financially. When someone makes a responsible decision based on their financial situation and an outside agency can come in after the commitment has been made and require a significantly larger financial commitment than they were willing to make the homeowner feels betrayed and it can literally be the difference between financial survival and having expenses beyond what their income allows for. And they have NO control over it.

Suggestions: 1.) flood insurance rates need to be more affordable and based upon the actual history of flood damage to the property not a general “It could happen” 2.) mortgage companies should not be allowed to require that you carry such a high policy – for my property the creek near my house is 18″ deep, at it’s deepest point when flowing well.. it has breached the bank of the creek twice in the past 30 years, causing a 1″ or less deep spread of water approximately 8 feet wide on either side of the creek. The buildings on our property are elevated and do not have basements, but we are in Zone X where no base flood elevations have been calculated. Despite these facts we are required to carry 250,000 dollars worth of full replacement coverage for the buildings on our property – to the tune of 2200 dollars a year – adding almost 200 dollars a month to our mortgage payment and greatly diminishing (approximately 25K) the appraisal value/resale value of our property. In reality the most damage we might ever expect in a worst case scenario flood situation would be water into the small underground area that contains our water pump – burning out the pump an having to replace it. We could do this for less than 2,000 dollars, easily, and that’s a high end estimate.

This situation is nothing but a lose-lose for homeowners, trapping us in a situation we cannot afford and depreciating/devaluing your property to the point where you can’t sell and leave without significant financial loss…..

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George Kasimos February 3, 2013 at 3:31 am

I was reading one of your online posts.

I live in New Jersey. Got flooded with Huricane Sandy.

I am outraged by what FEMA is doing to us and to other unsusspecting homeowners who are being added to the flood zone.

This is not just a FLA or NJ issue. It is a national issue.

I have started http://www.facebook.com/StopFemaNow so we could get together to fight this nationwide.

Please “Like” and “Friend” the page

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ken holz January 30, 2013 at 6:42 am

I finally got my home taken off of the map, and Reimbursed the insurance money I paid. What a joke. In my case, it took about 7 months and it ends up that FEMA had placed my home on the flood plane based on the wrong data. I found this out because FEMA was providing a BFE for my home which was one value, but the engineering company that provides the surveying and BFE to FEMA was telling me it was a different value. (Between the two there was about 6″ difference in the BFE). I had the engineering company talk directly to FEMA and after all of this, FEMA comes to me and says “we FOUND the engineering data provided by the surveying company and they are correct”. So why was this data not used to generate the BFE for my home? It seems they came up with another BFE on their own and did not use the engineers data given to them, and they did nothing to research it. It was 100% my time and $2000 later to figure all of this out. Guilty until proven innocent!

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Bruce Anderson January 30, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Uh, Oh…seems like we have been found by some spammer shoe company.
Responding to Jessica…you are wasting your breath and efforts to state the obvious. As we have clearly illustrated in this blog, Congress gave FEMA blanket authority to expand flood plains in order to gain additional revenue to pay back losses over the past several years. They did this by hiding an amendment in a non-related bill giving FEMA that authority. FEMA then redrew ALL flood plain maps to include more and more areas, thus requiring more and more flood insurance. Remember…ONLY FEMA can issue flood insurance.(administered through the standard insurance companies…) ..and who decides the premiums for this flood insurance ? FEMA, of course.
So, to rant and rave merely helps vent your frustrations, NO ONE is going to change it….NO ONE ! Once Congress gets into it, and once a government agency is given authority (FEMA), there is not going to be a change.
And Ken, in my case, a local developer paid his own money to get a BFE for our area. It clearly shows that FEMA expanded the flood zone by over 200% around the run off creek in our area. The data that the engineering company formulated showed the 500 year flood plain was NO WHERE NEAR what FEMA said it was. That includes my house.
That should be good news…I should be able to petition FEMA and be removed from the flood plain. But the BAD NEWS is that once a political entity starts something, it matastizes worse than cancer….other political entities have to get into the picture to show their reason for existance. In my case, our little city has decided to spend $150,000 to have the entire city surveyed to gain a city-wide BFE. THEN, once this is done, they will have the Texas Water Control Board (another political entity…) certify the results and petition FEMA to change their maps. That, they say, is their function.
It will take about 8 months (they say…) to get the survey done. It will take an unknown amount of time for the Water Board to certify the results, and THEN, I’ve seen printed somewhere, it takes FEMA 8 months to 2 years to change their maps.
My city flood plain guy says that it would be “improper” for me to individually petition FEMA. I would have better results, he says, if I have the city do the petition work.
As we’ve all said over and over…isn’t government great ? They are not happy until we are not happy….
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Mikey January 30, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Bruce…your FEMA detail was great reading. I am sure that after FEMA doles out all that money for “Sandy” rebuilding, they will decide to expand their maps once again. Also, they will probably change elevation levels to include more properties.
As an F.Y.I., you might find some interesting reading when you google “Homeland Youth”.

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Dave February 11, 2013 at 10:56 am

Had a similar problem except because the county I live in does not participate in the National Flood Insurance Program the FEMA essentially rendered my home valueless! This because there is not a lending institution that is able to lend to purchase it if and when we were to decide to sell.
We spent several thousand dollars to prove that FEMA’s map was in error, and to get our home removed from the flood plain. I then learned that the next time they revise this that will likely place it right back into the flood plain again.
Good luck, your in for one of the most confusing ordeals you’ve ever been involved in!!!

(FIGHT OBAMA SOCIALISM! VOTE FOR LESS GOVERNMENT!)

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Chuck Cumella February 18, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Fight it! DON’T ACCEPT WHAT FEMA SAYS!!!!
http://www.stopfemanow.com
Sign this petition: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fpetitions.whitehouse.gov%2Fpetition%2Freevaluate-new-fema-advisory-base-flood-elevation-maps-help-us-rebuild-not-shore-not-push-us-out%2FtZYxj3V5&h=dAQHheolz

pass this along to everyone that you know.
this FEMA issue affects the entire country.
Either way, If you live in a flood zone or if you are outside of the flood zone, it will affect you.
EVERYONE MUST sign this petition.
WE (the taxpayer of the USA) MUST STOP FEMA from exploiting us.
This is extortion at it’s finest!
Everyone that has flood insurance is getting screwed!
People that don’t have flood insurance will get screwed as taxes will rise.
We need to stop this NOW.
Please read the petition and sign it.

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Sarah February 19, 2013 at 12:46 am

There is a Facebook page “Stop FEMA Now” . We all need to support one another and band together. This page was created by people affected by Hurricane Sandy. Drop by and like the page.

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Laurie February 21, 2013 at 5:33 pm

This is a wonderful thread and I am happy to see it continuing on for so long. My husband and I purchased our current property in mid-2010. It is a single family residence in a gated community with a homeowners association. So, prior to the purchase, I asked the HOA representative if she knew anything about the flood zone designation for the homes in the development (it’s a small development.) She replied that she was quite certain the homes were not in a flood zone. When the appraisal came back, though, the appraiser has marked the home as being in an A zone, which is a flood zone requiring mandatory flood insurance. I figured there had to be more to this, and didn’t simply assume the HOA rep was wrong. I discussed it with my insurance agent, who went ahead and pulled the flood certificate. The certificate showed the home in an X zone, not an A zone, with no requirement for mandatory flood insurance. It turns out that our home, and all of the homes in our development, were removed from the A zone via a LOMA in 2007, shortly after the homes were built. The appraiser didn’t bother to check for that, so he was the one who was wrong. He changed the appraisal (made a few smug, smartass comments about it,) and our loan went through without the requirement for this mandatory flood insurance.

We are now refinancing. I do know that our LOMA was renewed last year in August of 2012. I have a copy of the letter. So, it’s still good. But, I still feel I need to micromanage this part of the refinance to make sure there are no errors again. Even though there is no appraisal needed for this refi, the lender is still required to check flood zone status. I am having my agent pull the current flood certificate.

A few months ago, one of my neighbors refinanced and had to obtain a copy of the LOMA letter from the city’s Department of Utilities. This is because his lender was about to slap mandatory flood insurance on him, stating the home was in a flood zone. Again, someone didn’t check for the LOMA. When my neighbor produced the letter showing the LOMA, the requirement was dropped and the refi went through without it.

So, if you are purchasing a home and are told it is in a flood zone, you may want to look into it further. There may already be a LOMA or LOMR-F in place that the lender or appraiser did not see.

It is horrible that homeowners are bearing the brunt of the FEMA mess. What a racket. Good people who have, in good faith, taken on properties they can afford are being forced into losing or coming close to losing their homes over this. People are being forced to throw away money for absolutely no good reason. I don’t expect that the government will side with homeowners on this one, though. I really don’t, unless we fight like hell. Then…maybe.

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Bruce Anderson February 22, 2013 at 10:01 am

Laurie…good micro management !
There are so many changes in the Flood Zone maps lately, I’m not surprised that the appraiser didn’t keep up. That’s an indication, isn’t it, that FEMA does things on the sly.
I just saw the new flood map that the city and local developer did to precisely mark our BFE. It is so significantly different from what FEMA “estimated” its not funny! Other local developers have joined the fight here. A couple have offered our city their “numbers” from their surveys so that the city can put it all together to submit to FEMA. Things are looking good. However, you never know what FEMA will do….like ignore our petition, debunk our surveys, or any number of other things.
Sarah has a good idea about the facebook page. I’m surpised that there isn’t more media coverage of this, what with all the outrage around the country. However, Chuck, I visited the “petition” website and it is lacking. Its not focused enough to gain attention, and seems to be more rant and rave than directional. Sorry…
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Sarah February 22, 2013 at 5:41 pm

I am sure there will be more media coverage about this soon enough. More and more people will be walking away from their houses (we might be one of them). My husband is the only person employed in our house and we are just hanging on without this added expense of flood insurance. Finding a decent job is a challenge in itself and now have to pay $600 for an elevation survey and go with forced mortgage flood insurance since our township doesn’t participate in the national flood insurance program. If your community doesn’t participate you have no choice. Just found that out today! What is going on with this country? I feel like a prisoner in my own home because I can’t afford to do anything.

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George Kasimos July 14, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Sarah,
The media coverage is here!
NY, NJ and Louisiana are all over this story. Eventually the rest of the nation will receive their new flood insurance bills.
Our flood insurance rose from $1,000 a year (pre-Sandy) to over $30,000 a year. Our town fought the elevation and zone and won. Our flood insurance dropped to $8,300. It is still unaffordable for everyone in NY and NJ.
Please join us in the fight to lower flood insurance premiums.
http://www.facebook.com/StopFemaNow

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Thom February 26, 2013 at 11:10 am

We had a similar experience: After 19 years in same location, our local bank required flood insurance at a cost of $3490 per year based on new (incorrect) FEMA maps. Since we are not in a REAL flood zone, we fought the FEMA decision; but surrendered after the second go-round. So we simply paid off the equity line, and cancelled the insurance. Even that was hard to do with all the paperwork required; and the decision to go without insurance wasn’t an easy one to make. But since we keep our boat in the barn loaded with livestock feed, we think we’ll survive the great flood.

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Mikey February 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Thom…sorry to hear you could not get your LOMA approved. I think FEMA will make it more difficult, in the near future, for people to get out of a flood zone designation due to Hurricane Sandy costs. F.Y.I. even though you paid off your equity loan, your property is still identified as high risk by FEMA, therefore any improvements or changes you want to make on your property will require FEMA approval. They will charge about $450 for each request made.
You may not need your boat for water flooding, but you may need it for all the BS flooding out of Washington.

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Joe March 25, 2013 at 6:48 pm

I put my house on the market Friday, the 15th, 7 days later I got the Flood Insurance Notification letter from Wells Fargo. My home insurance company quoted me $4138 for this insurance and told me that it would not matter where I went it would be the same price as all insurance companies use the same flood insurance web site to get these quotes. That so does not jive with what I’ve been reading on here. I see many folks have found insurance for well under a $1000. I wonder if I wouldnt’ be better to let Wells Fargo get the insurance. How could they be worse than $4138? I have absolutely zero concern about actual flooding. I have been in the house during one of the so called 100 year floods, verfied by the city and national weather service. Not even close to flooding. What a nightmare! Now I can’t sale the house, who would buy with that kind of insurance premium involved? I moved out of state for a job and this is a 2nd home that I need to sale. I have never considered walking away but this is really straining the budget.

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Mikey March 25, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Joe..I would not recommend going through your lender for the flood insurance. They usually charge a much higher rate than what is available through insurance providers. You should be eligible for a preferred rate at a reduced cost. Check with one of your local insurance agencies that handles property insurance. They usually deal with multiple insurance companies and can find the lowest rate. The rates can either be based on the balance of your loan or property value.
Good luck and call your congressperson to complain.

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Bruce Anderson March 26, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Mikey…my experience with congressmen (my Senator…) is that they are worthless ! All he did was forward my letter to FEMA, who wrote a return “non-letter government speak”…and the good senator sent it onward to me….then said thank you for letting him help me !
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Mikey March 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Bruce….unfortunately you are correct in that they are worthless on the FEMA issue. However, as I have mentioned before, it is better to go to their office in person rather than writing or calling them. I did get some minimal assistance from my congressional office. They gave me a telephone number of someone higher up the FEMA food chain, who then directed me to a supervisor over my case worker. I still had to do all the leg work and pay for a new survey of my property to get my issue resolved. After months of aggravation, it came down to me writing a letter explaining why my new surveyed elevations (2012) were different than FEMA’s 2002 elevations. Subsequent to that letter, I got my LOMA approval. My case worker was telling me I had to apply for a LOMR.

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Bruce Anderson March 27, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Mikey…our city is trying to get a LOMR for the entire city….(3500 population). We sit on a lake in Texas with many runoff gulleys. These gulleys are what FEMA has decided will flood us all out, even though the developers think this is prime building property.
You’re right about face to face, but the good senator has the entire state to visit and spends most of his time with the oil guys in Houston, the land developers in Dallas and the gas folks in Midland. When not there, he is usually vacationing in the Bahamas. The average guy would have a better chance of getting to see Obama !
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Mikey March 27, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Bruce…forget the good senator, go see your congressional (House Rep.) person for your district. They should have an office near you. Since they want your vote every 2 years they might be more willing to listen to your concern. The way FEMA guidelines read, if you spit on the ground that might be considered a flood zone. If your dog takes a leak in front of someones property they might be put in the zone.

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Barbara B April 9, 2013 at 6:20 pm

FEMA and Wells Fargo just dropped a piano on my head regarding flood insurance. I am in a panic now, fearing that I will be forced to sell this house and take a loss because of the high cost of flood insurance. I was in the process of refinancing my loan for a lower interest rate, and WF required me to have flood insurance. That started the bad ball rolling. When I bought this house in 1997 I was told that only part of the back yard (near a creek) was in a flood zone, not the house itself, so I was never required to have flood insurance. The creek did flood a few years ago but the structure was not damaged, just my washer/dryer etc. in the basement. Now I find that my neighborhood has been placed in a Special Flood Hazard Area, SFHA (high risk), as of the new 2010 FEMA flood maps. Last month I had purchased a flood policy from Liberty Mutual for $427 per year (coverage $200K). Everything looked fine. However, Wells Fargo rejected that policy today and said the flood insurance cost would be $3,099. Ouch!!!!! I can’t afford it. I am also wondering why I am having to pay over $2,000 per year in property taxes for a property that is going to become essentially worthless due to the unaffordable cost of the flood insurance! However, since I can’t sell the house immediately, I am stuck with this exorbitant bill for the time being. The only long-term option I can think of is to try to arrange a FEMA/city buyout of my property at fair market value; the city needs to use all these flood properties as greenspace, because nobody will be able to afford to maintain residences in the SFHA as flood insurance rates continue to increase over the years. I hear that this process takes 2 to 5 years, if you can get it done at all. Shorter term option: according to FEMA factsheet “Preferred Risk Policy Eligibility Extension, A Lower Cost Flood Insurance Option for Your Community,” as of January 1, 2013, FEMA is making the PRP available for properties that were newly mapped into an SFHA (since October 2008). The program is intended to give homeowners temporary financial relief on policy costs and give us time to prepare to pay much higher rates. I will check into this program and then decide whether I can afford to live here until I can make the necessary financial arrangements to get out. I am very sad to have to leave my home of 16 years.

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George Kasimos June 7, 2013 at 6:24 am

Barbara,

Please stay strong and join us. There are over a million people in NJ in the same predicament with the EXORBITANT rise in flood insurance premiums.

Same goes for Louisiana and NY. the rest of the nation will be receiving the new flood insurance policy and they will be outraged too.

Please join us http://www.facebook.com/StopFemaNow

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Ed April 10, 2013 at 9:03 am

I wish you luck in your fight. I am in the same situation and here is what I went through. You will need several hours and countless calls to FEMA with ZERO helpful advice..Submit all your paperwork only to be contacted WEEKS later, you need to submit form/letter such and such..In the mean time your bank can threaten to “pull” your loan unless you have the flood insurance..My efforts were squashed after several appeals,papers and phone calls proved fruitless. I was forced to purchase the flood insurance. Here is the real kickers to my ordeal. First : I like you are one of I believe only 3-4 homes that were PLACED in the updated 100 year flood zone revision about 10 years ago I believe (you are 1 of 2)..Second: I was actually told by the lady that was writing out my flood insurance quote/bill/binding yearly contract that in my situation I will NEVER ever be able to collect because a certain number of homes in I believe was a quarter mile radius also need to have been flooded..My home is very rural and there are NOT enough homes actually in their determined area (not sure a quarter mile radius) even if every single home floods over their roof…Third: I was given only 2 licensed survey company’s that are qualified to do the survey through FEMA..My cost was quoted to me as being a low of 5-7 thousand dollars to as high as 15-25 thousand dollars IF I need to hire an aerial documented photographer ALSO from a company that works exclusively through FEMA..I actually considered the gamble of 5-7 thousand dollars until the gentleman I met with said: I have been doing this for 15 years and I personally know of only 1 time the flood zone determination was over turned….In closing I wish you luck..My insurance is a few dollars less than half of your only based on what was owed on the loan…In closing I will say this..You only need to buy the exact to the dollar amount of flood insurance needed..Its not like buying home owners insurance where it goes in 50-100 thousand dollar groupings..If you owe 240K, have the policy written for ONLY that amount..The best of luck to you..

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Barbara B April 10, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Thanks, Ed. Sounds like I am in for a long and difficult hassle. My position is that if FEMA tells me directly that my structure is in the AE high risk zone, I will accept their decision and try to find the money to pay the higher flood premium. However, I am not willing to accept a decision from Wells Fargo. I spent last night reading up on all the class action lawsuits against banks force-placing high cost flood insurance on homeowners; Forbes magazine said that the banks have made $5 billion in profit on these policies by getting kickbacks and other financial compensation from the insurance companies they use to write the force-placed high cost flood policies. I also learned that banks are forming their own insurance companies, or affiliating with insurance companies, in order to cash in on the flood insurance bonanza. Wells Fargo is one of the banks being sued. FEMA underwrote the flood policy I purchased from Liberty Mutual last month for $427 per year , for a structure in zone X — therefore I assume that FEMA made the correct determination on the flood risk to my structure. Thus, the flood policy I have at present is the correct flood policy. I asked Wells Fargo today, “Did FEMA contact you and tell you they had made a mistake when they underwrote my policy last month? Did they tell you they had made a mistake in determining that my structure was in Zone X?” The WF guy said no, FEMA had not contacted him. He said “We [Wells Fargo] have special teams that go out and read the flood maps.” I am so grateful to the other posters on this forum for helping me decide what my response would be: that FEMA writes and reads the flood maps, not banks or insurance companies. The way I left it is that I told him I would contact FEMA and Liberty Mutual and discuss the issue with them. Based on messages I have recived so far from LM, they quoted a new flood rate of $3,099 based on a notification from this same Wells Fargo guy about my flood zone, NOT on any notification from FEMA that there had been an error. Whatever happens, I guess this means my loan refinancing application just went down the drain!

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Mikey April 10, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Barbara and Ed…. I feel your pain. As you found out Barbara, the banks do not make the determinations on the flood zone maps. You do not have to accept the banks insurance amount. You can get a less expensive policy through an insurance provider approved by FEMA . You should also be eligible for a preferred rate policy for 2 years. In addition, you should be able to use any certified surveyor to review your elevation levels and apply for a LOMA or a LOMR. The surveyor I retained cost me $450 and after the usual FEMA paper work BS that Ed referred to, my LOMA request was finally approved.
As you both probably know, you do not have to pay for flood insurance if you do not have a mortgage.
Good luck.

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Linda April 25, 2013 at 2:38 pm

I knew the house was in a flood plain when I bought it but the insurance at that point was not a significant amount, something like $765 a year, and did not really have an impact on resell. Since Katrina and Sandy hit the price has more than tripled. I have researched on how to get out of a zone but it all seemed so very complicated and costly in order to get it rezoned. I did have a surveyor to come out and do an elevation study just to see if the zoning was correct. The surveyor said we are in the flood plain by 18 inches because my house is over 100 years old and sits on what is known as a cellar, and that is where all of our heating and water equipment is stored. So, I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to pay this insurance for the duration of this home ownership. Then we heard on the TV that the rates were going to go up again and not by hundreds but by thousands because of Sandy and then I started doing some research.

I found out that all of the calculations are based on your BFL (base floor level). This means that the lowest living floor level is the determining factor. So, in the guide they say that if there is no equipment stored and has proper venting then the base floor level becomes the bottom of the first elevation. Go to http://www.fema.gov and search on “Lowest Floor Guide” and you should be ablt to read the information.

So, we have removed all equipment and in the process of raising the floor level up 24″ by filling with fill dirt and this should remove us from the flood zone and will make our home a place that can be sold if we so desire. Hopefully!! According to the surveyor he has a form he fills out and submits to the mortgage company rather than going through FEMA. We have not got to this point yet so I will let you know the outcome.

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Mikey April 25, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Linda…your new elevations need to be approved by FEMA, not the bank. Your bank is responding to information given to them by FEMA. The bank cannot approve your new elevations. You need to apply for a LOMR from FEMA. Without FEMA’s approval on the work you are doing around your home you could be fined as a result. I would suggest you call FEMA and get a verbal clarification from them on what you are planning to do around your property. If you don’t follow their rules and the process they have determined, you will make your battle with them more difficult.
Good Luck

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Linda April 29, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Mikey…I can only go on what my surveyor has told me and I hope he is well informed on the subject. I would hate to think that all our efforts end up being futile. The surveyor said that he would file a LOMA for us if the bank did not accept the elevation certificate but he said that the mortgage company normally accepts them. We are prepared to get a LOMA if we have to but I hope that the surveyor is right. and that will be unnecessary. Tell me that this is not a government agency that is going unchecked and wild. Who cares?…it is only the people in flood zones that are being effected but wait until they revamp the flood zones again to pay for Sandy. I mean that was some pretty nice beach homes that got torn up in NJ.

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Mikey April 29, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Linda….I had to send my bank a copy of the LOMA letter I received from FEMA before they would release me from the required flood insurance. Once again, not to question your surveyors knowledge, but FEMA is the only agency that can determine a flood zone property and elevations. Your bank cannot make that determination and they will not forward your new elevation numbers to FEMA to correct their records. Also, since you are improving your property BFL, you will need to apply for a LOMR not a LOMA. I urge you to call FEMA and get a clarification on what you are doing. It may save you more headaches and money in the long run.

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Bruce Anderson May 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm

I have to agree with Mikey…and add a point…if the surveyor thinks the bank can approve the elevations, he obviously doesn’t know as much about the system as he portends. Might suggest talking with another surveyor company. I would personally have no further confidence in this surveyor.
And yes, this IS a government agency gone wild and unchecked, WITH THE APPROVAL of congress !
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Mike louisville May 21, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Well just got new news from wells Fargo!!! Flood ins policy going up, 4000.00 a year, started at 2800.00 then 3700.00 now 4000.00. Does FEMA have government assistance ? I need it!!! Hard working American family sending two great kids through school !!! Since this house was built we have had the most rain in one day on record !!! The wettest year ever recorded !!! Still no water in my yard ? Wonder how much it’s going to take to wash my house away from the creek 90 yards away, and 6 foot across with 3 inches of water in it ??? My local government agency maybe helping out to do a water study, I hope!!!

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Ben Boss May 21, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Hey Guys! Just on here looking for more answers myself as I have been fighting this for about 2 yrs now. Let me tell ya my short version HA HA! We bought land in 2007 & sold our other home in 2010 to move & build on our new piece of land. Well that was far from easy. We then found out we were in a flood zone. Thank You Bankers for doing your job!!! Would have never bought it had we been told. Anyway I did pay to have it surveyed, $1250 bucks later we found we are 14″ above BFE. So we proceed with utilities, a temp. house for while we build, only to get a shiity letter from our bank stating we need flood insurance. So being the NICE guy I am, I sent a shitty letter back as they forced it on me, without any evidence of coverage, premiums, etc.. Still to this day I’m fighting it. I do have the loma paperwork sent in about…. OH YA 7 FREAKIN months ago. THANK YOU FEMA for being on your game! I’m goin down WITH a fight!! I think FEMA is a bunch of over educated idiots & should stick to real people in real emergency. Oh forgot they dropped the ball there too on New Orleans few years back huh! Sounds to me like water just isn’t their strong subject. Good Luck to the rest of you, hopefully we can all get this figured out before we wash away like turds down another gov’t funded river!!!

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Bruce Anderson May 22, 2013 at 2:52 pm

I just got a letter from USAA saying that due to the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, my preferred rate will SIGNIFICANTLY increase next year…probably like Mike, up to the $4000 range. You really have to wonder how the government can get away with this.
Its pretty obvious that congress is giving FEMA money by “taxing” all of us with mortgages so that FEMA can once again pay those idiots that keep rebuilding and rebuilding on hurricane flood areas. And like most government agencies, like the IRS, Social Security, …FEMA employees care less about the people they hurt. Government bureaucrats that get paid alot to do a little, get all the government employee perks, have no incentive to do a good job cuz they can’t be fired, …AHHHHH, S***, I could go on and on, but it does no good !
My city continues to survey the entire city so that we can submit for a map revision. Yesterday’s city council meeting, they were very optimistic that they could get this done by late summer….yeah, lots of luck getting FEMA to do something that quickly. I keep reading the Facebook blogs about how they are dragging their feet with the New Jersey cleanup.
The saga continues, and the American public suffers.
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Will May 25, 2013 at 9:55 pm

FEMA is putting people in flood zones by changing maps by the thousands. Most of these people don’t know that they are suddenly considered in a flood plain. FEMA is not telling anyone, not sending any letters, because they want it to take affect slowly so they won’t get blamed. The reason is to increase the amount of insurance money. The insurance companies and FEMA took a beating in Katrina and other disasters, so we are all being put in flood zones to make up the difference. The map changes have no basis in fact or engineering data at all. We are being asked to pay for their losses. (They, of course, still do not have flood insurance) So now you will pay the same amount of flood insurance as someone with a house on the beach. According to FEMA’s statement, “everyone is in a flood zone”. Write your congressman and your senators, and keep writing them, until FEMA is brought under control! I have written several letters and emails, they will get sick of hearing from me.

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George Kasimos May 25, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Thr rules from the Biggert – Waters act are going to kill the property values of all homes situated in or Near a flood zone

Please join us in the fight to amend the Biggert waters act to curtail the rise in flood insurance premiums

Stop FEMA now
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Bruce Anderson May 27, 2013 at 3:25 pm

I gotta bet that the individual that came up with this idea to rezone the entire country into a bigger flood zone got the heftest bonus in history and a BIG promotion. As Will says…doing it slowly keeps the media at bay…they are SO in bed with Big Government.
Listen to this: I just got my second year premium from USAA with a letter saying this is my last year for a preferred rate. BUT…they charge me a $5 “Increased Cost of Compliance” fee AND a $20 “Federal Policy Fee”. Can you believe that ???!!!
Luckily I won’t be here, but I’m willing to bet that within two generations, this country will be a mere shadow of its once glory self. The ruling government class will push down the rest of us not unlike any third world dictator. This FEMA redistricting is merely a step in that direction.
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Alicia L June 6, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I seriously could cry reading all of these responses!!
We bought out home last July through USDA rural development, which doesn’t allow you to purchase homes that are located in a flood zone. We literally get weeks away from closing when they tell us it’s in a flood zone… Our mortgage lender then says “oh never mind, we have a flood certificate saying you’re not in a flood zone so were good to go” so we close and all is well…
Fast forward to Nobember and we start getting the notices from Wells Fargo saying we’re required to get insurance or they’ll get it for us.. We send them our certificate saying we aren’t in a flood zone (about 10 times) with no response… They take the $2250 for the insurance out of our escrow account. And we begin to panic! We contact our realtor, lender, and wells to get it figured out… Wells Fargo says our certificate doesn’t coincide with what their company says, so our lender contacts the company he got the certificate from (LMS) and they say “oh yes I guess they are in a flood zone” and change our certificate (without changing the date of 7/27, which was our closing date)
So we move on to get the survey done, he says we are not in a flood zone and we pay him to submit the LOMA to FEMA… $1500 later, total, we are waiting to hear back from FEMA… It’s only been a couple weeks since our paperwork was submitted, and I’m having a hard time getting a copy of the elevation certificate from our surveyor for some reason he keeps flaking on it, so I have a feeling this may take a while!!!
Meanwhile our mortgage payment has gone up $250/month, and we have a baby on the way..
I really hope we can get this taken care of SOON!!
I read through all the posts- but does anyone know if there’s a quicker turn around from FEMA if our survey company submits the ppw for the LOMA for us?
I’m so clueless. And I feel like we’re getting screwed even though “it’s not in a flood zone” I feel like its never going to get taken care of based on everyone’s experiences.

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Mikey June 6, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Alicia…I think you might want to consider spending some more money to hire an attorney. It sounds like your lender or LMS provided you with some outdated information prior to your closing.
Flood zone information and determinations are made by FEMA and that is who Wells Fargo is getting their information from. Also, check with an insurance agency, in your area, who handles property coverages for a cheaper rate than what Wells is charging. You do not have to get your coverage through the mortgage lender.
Alicia, you should have been able to get a copy of everything your surveyor sent to FEMA. Chances are your surveyor did not submit all the information required by FEMA for your LOMA. It will generally take 3 to 4 weeks for FEMA to mail a response back. It took 5 months to finally get my LOMA approval and twice within that time frame FEMA requested additional information from me that was not submitted by my surveyor.
Good Luck.

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Rafaela giraldo June 6, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Alicia I was in the exact same situation this past july and sent my case and info to randal vogal at flood services since wells fargo hazard insurance department was stressing to such an extreme level and i really needed to be calm for baby.
Randal got me a loma in 6 weeks and he stayed on top of it so i didnt have to id say call or email him i was able to get my forced flood insurance removed last october but listen to this wells came back with my carport was in a flood zone :/
So i had to send them pics proving car port wasnt a structure and not on cement ugh even after removing it i depise them and will refi as soon as i can best of luck !
Congrats on ur baby!

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Alicia L June 7, 2013 at 7:57 am

We do have an attorney actually if things don’t go smoothly in getting it removed. He is at the moment at least trying to get our $1500 for the survey costs reimbursed to us, but not sure how well that will turn out!
Thanks for the suggestions!! Hopefully we will have this sorted out before the end of the summer!

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JP June 8, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Alicia L
The paperwork a surveyor would submit is pretty straight forward in most instances. There is even a check list for what would need to be submitted. There should be no reason for FEMA to seek other information unless the surveyor forgot something or (and I have had this happen) FEMA starts making claims of needing something that is not in their guidelines or regulations.

There are many ways that data may be submitted. Here are some examples:

Electronically submitted as an e-LOMA you can receive a FEMA determination in minutes. It has been my experience that FEMA always audits these and they actually take about 2 weeks. This is not an option if you were told you are in a Zone A area.

Electronically submitted for a LOMA. The surveyor can fill out the paperwork online and then upload supporting documents as needed. This is similar to the old paper trail method, but the review time is usually much less. I have seen these usually take 2-4 weeks. Although FEMA is provided 60 days to respond.

Submitting the documents on paper through the mail. This method usually takes up to 60 days. Every time I have used this method it has always taken almost the full 60 days.

I would call and explain to the surveyor that you need a copy of the elevation certificate to seek a lower cost policy while waiting on the FEMA response. I do not know why the surveyor would not have already provided you a copy. When I do this type of work, I always submit a copy to FEMA and provide my client with two copies – one for their records and one to show the mortgage company that you are acting on their claim.

If you do not get copies from your surveyor, please re-post that is the case.

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Bruce Anderson June 9, 2013 at 4:32 pm

JP…
Good helpful hints and suggestions. E-filing seems to be the way to go.
You sound very knowlegable and experienced. Just curious…what is your take if FEMA places a person in a flood zone with no BFE data ? The form I started to fill out (obtained from the FEMA website) asks what that is and where did I get it ? The surveyor locally indicated that it would be a waste of time and money to have my house and lot surveyed for elevation as it would have to be compared to the BFE by FEMA. He indicates that FEMA would just reject the application for a LOMA because I could not provide the BFE information.
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JP June 10, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Bruce
Zone A with no BFE is a big problem. Essentially lines were drawn on a map and declared to contain a flood zone with no rigorous scientific reasoning. If you end up in such a zone, there are a number of things to look at.

First the primary resort for FEMA is if the property can be accurately plotted on the flood insurance rate map (FIRM). Does it actually sit within their lines indicating the flood zone. It does sometimes happen that the companies reporting to the banks that you are in a flood zone have incorrectly determined where the property is situated. Check this first.

Next, when it is stated Zone A w/ no BFE determined, all that means is FEMA has not bothered to determine a BFE for the flood prone area – makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?

You may check with the following folks in this order:
The local flood plain manager of your county,parish, city,town. In order to participate in the FEMA Flood scam a community is supposed to have a flood plain manager. They do not always have established BFE for all areas, but sometimes they do.

If that doesn’t pan out, follow this up with the state organization covering waterways (Dept of Water and Natural Resources or similar). They often have performed studies and can provide additional information. If not, they sometimes make the offer that if you can provide the survey data needed, they will do the engineering calcs to determine a BFE.

A final resort would be to hire an engineering or surveying company to take a bunch of measurements and calculate a BFE for you. (Note that some states require the calculations be done by an engineer – not a surveyor).

As to if it is a waste of money, that would depend on the results. If a BFE is determined and you are above it, you could opt out of having flood insurance. If a BFE is determined and you are in it, how far you are in it has a drastic affect on the rates you are charged (i.e. If you are half a foot into the flood zone you will pay much less than someone who is a foot and a half into it). So it might be worth knowing, but it is a little bit of a dice roll.

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Alicia L June 9, 2013 at 9:00 pm

I did get copies of everything that was sent to FEMA on Friday in the mail. It looks like everything was submitted as necessary. The LAG on our property is 3 ft above the BFE, so I think we should be set for removal, unless I’m misreading the certificate. I guess we will see what FEMA has to say in a couple months time!
Would it be easier to wait the 2-3 months for their response before trying to get the Wells Fargo issued flood insurance removed? I know I can get it much cheaper through our insurance agent (he’s guessing 400/yr vs. the $2250), but will it be more of a hassle to get the full 2250 reversed once its canceled? I’m just thinking to save myself some phone calls, just wait and see what FEMAs response is and then deal with Wells Fargo and getting our reimbursement. Thoughts?
It’ll b a glorious day when this is taken care of!

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Mikey June 10, 2013 at 11:38 am

Alicia…your home must sit on a hill of some sort to be 3 ft above BFE. The LAG is the elevation of where the ground comes in contact with your house (4 corners). Wells Fargo is not going to change anything until you receive your LOMA letter from FEMA. One of the things I had to send to FEMA, after my surveyor sent in the initial paperwork, was a copy of my property deed. It took them about 3 weeks to send me that request after the initial paperwork was sent in. After that was sent in, I received another request for information from FEMA about 3 weeks later again. It was the never ending FEMA desire for additional information. Always high anxiety when you get a FEMA letter in your mailbox.

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Alicia L June 10, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I thought 3 feet sounded high too, so maybe I read it wrong.. Though our “basement” is for the most part above ground, so that might make a difference too? I have no idea! Maybe I read the wrong # for the BFE, I’d have to look when I get home.
Our deed was in the package sent to FEMA, so I’m glad that’s one thing I won’t have to deal with.
Thanks for the input! I did contact my insurance company about the flood insurance, but if we cancel the Wells Fargo issued flood insurance and get the flood insurance through the insurance company it’s (according to our agent) non-refundable… So I think I’ll tough out the extra $250/month until it’s taken care of and get it reimbursed back from W.F.. It’s going to be a painful summer, but oh well!
Thanks for the help, I’ll let you know what FEMA has to say when I hear back!

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Mikey June 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Alicia…sounds like you have all your ducks lined up, although I think your insurance agent is incorrect about a refund. I have not heard of anyone not getting a refund on their flood insurance once they received their LOMA or LOMR from FEMA. Hopefully you do not have a walk-out basement because that elevation becomes a LAG point and is almost always below the BFE elevation for your home.

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Alicia L June 10, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Yes, we have an interesting “contemporary” multi-level style home– our garage is under the main living area (living room/kitchen/dining room)– I believe the LAG measurement did come from that bottom part of the house. If i had a decent picture, I’d post it as it’s hard to explain what it looks like… but the yard/woods area leading out towards what is considered the flood problem area is a walk slightly down-hill from where the garage even is. And honestly I’ve never ventured out that way to see what kind of water is out there and if it goes even further down hill… But based on google maps, I think it’s just a marshy wetland.
We have neighbors that share our driveway and are also next to this “wetland” and they have had zero problems with FEMA.

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Alicia L June 10, 2013 at 4:51 pm

So I just looked at the certificate again, I’m not sure what #s I was looking at before, but in the BFE box “N/A” is shown. Is this going pose an issue? I emailed our surveyor to get his take on it too.

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Mikey June 10, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Alicia…The BFE elevation is critical to your situation. FEMA has been known to put people in the flood zone without a BFE for their area. I would check with your city engineer to see if he has a BFE elevation for your neighborhood. Your city would have gotten one from FEMA. Also, you can call FEMA directly and see if they have one for your address. If your garage is attached to your home it becomes part of your LAG elevation determination. If any of your LAG elevation points on your home falls below your BFE, then your house will be determined as a high risk flood property. If your surveyor has been working with FEMA, then they should know this from previous work.

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Alicia L June 20, 2013 at 10:02 am

I got the letter back from FEMA saying they recieved our package and will be reviewing it. We should hear back in the next 30-60 days.
Our Surveyor submitted to have the insurance requirement removed as it will likely be impossible to get the LOMA to go through without the BFE #. There is another case from a neighbor in a similar situation and they did get their requirement removed without the BFE, so there’s hope for that part of it at least.
I’ll keep you posted when i find out more.

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Alicia L August 1, 2013 at 1:55 pm

We got our response back from FEMA. They have removed us from Zone A and placed us in a Zone C since part of our property is still within that flood zone, but it isn’t affecting structures.
Wells Fargo is in the process of canceling the insurance we paid and refunding the extra $ we’ve paid the last couple months.
So even without a BFE you could still get the insurance requirement removed- not all is lost! However, they are in the process of getting these BFEs for our area (I have no idea how long THAT will take) and that will trump the response we just got back from FEMA.
We will likely still get flood insurance through our insurance agent anyway, but it’s nice to have actual paperwork on the matter.

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Diane July 17, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I work for a land surveyor, Gentry Surveying, in Southern California. Our location in Simi Valley has been very busy on this issue. We work primarily in Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. We work directly with FEMA and local agencies helping many home and business owners with Flood Zone Removal or Elevation Certificates for lowered flood insurance. (Not everyone can be helped, some properties can not be removed or lowered even on the same street with removals or lowered ins.) Yes this can be very frustrating for the home owner.

Before working for Gentry Surveying, I was in your shoes after 13 years (3 refinances) in my house I was told that we would need flood insurance. City said not in flood zone. The battle did not stop until I ran into Gentry at a local fair. Going to a knowledgeable surveyor is crucial to getting this taken care of, unless you are VERY familiar with this process. If you are able to be removed from the flood zone you will be able to get at least one year premium refunded, 2 if removal is within 90 days of policy renewal. I only received 1 year, but it covered my fee to Gentry. My insurance agent did not know how to go about getting my refund. The longest process in this entire thing is FEMA going over your application, my lender , Chase, took 8 days from the time I sent them my LOMA to me receiving their acknowledgement letter, another 5 days to receive a refund of monies put into my impound escrow account for flood ins.

It is worth the effort and the expense to have it checked out. We charge a preliminary fee of $100 for local addresses and $200 for out of area, up to 60 miles away, If we can help that preliminary fee gets applied to the final fee for REMOVAL of Elevation Certificate. We do the work for you. Not only am I an employee of Gentry Surveying but I am a happy customer. Don’t let FEMA continue getting your money if you can avoid it. BTW out in Simi Valley insurance range is $257 with Elev. Cert and up to $3500 (average $1500) with out Elev. Cert. — Worth the check even if you don’t live in our range, get someone out there to check.

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Greg W July 23, 2013 at 9:30 am

With the IRS scandal going on, has anyone considered this FEMA issue could be related? I’m a conservative, how many of you are same or similar? I too know my house isn’t in a flood zone-but some one else has made it so. Who was that person really working for?

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Kimberly August 15, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I am in tears! I grew up in a house that flooded constantly because the city allowed a subdivision to be built above us with absolutely no provision for drainage. As luck would have it, we couldn’t get flood insurance then because we did not live in a flood zone. Based on how I was traumatized as a child, I can sniff out water damage to homes like a blood hound.

Fast foward 30 years. Well, my husband and I have lived in our home for almost 10 years. Of course, I checked all records, flood maps, etc. before we purchased the house as there is a creek behind it. It was not in a flood zone and there has never been water in our yard or anywhere near our house or in our crawlspace (not one drop). The creek does have a natural flood basin that has been there since the beginning of time (according to an older neighbor that lives on the other side of the creek…actually he can put his foot on the spot the water rises to in a “flood” and it is not near our house). The flood basin does its job perfectly (it fills up when we have torrential rains and then goes right back down). Our mortgage was just sold from one company to another and the new compnay just notified us that we are now in an AE FLOOD ZONE! Interestingly, the house to our right and the house to our left are not in any flood zone.

We’ve contacted the surveyor who did all the work when they originally built the rural subdivision we live in, but I’m really afraid that somehow we are going to get the bad end of this deal and will just have to walk away from our home! Flooding is not common in our area and there is simply no way we will ever be able to sell it.

Is anyone ever successful at getting removed from a flood zone! How on earth did this happen!

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Mikey August 16, 2013 at 12:35 am

Kimberly…we all feel your pain and anxiety on this issue. I would recommend reading over the last 6 months of postings on this site. They should be very helpful to you. Also, I would check with one of your local insurance agencies about flood insurance. If you don’t go that route, your mortgage company will add it to your mortgage payment at a much higher cost.

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Alicia L August 16, 2013 at 8:25 am

Kimberly-
As Mike has said, there is a lot of helpful information on this page!
My husband and I just went through a similar situation. I had to hire a surveyor as we didn’t have any original flood elevation certificate- that cost us $1500 for the survey and for the paperwork to FEMA.
Fast forward a couple of months and we have gotten our LOMA back from FEMA and they are removing us from flood zone AE and putting us in a C, since part of our property is still in the flood zone. But this removes the insurance requirement, so we were able to get everything cleared.
It’s a bit of a tedious process, but you should be able to get yourselves out of it!
Good luck!

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Kimberly August 16, 2013 at 8:35 am

Thank you Alicia! It makes me feel better that you have had success. This is a terrible experience. It really does make me wonder about our government and its intentions. I’m not sure what our country will be like in 20-30 years! I guess the “American Dream” is becoming more and more like a nightmare for everyone in one way or another. It seems as though everyone I know is fighting the government for some reason. So sad.

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I hate FEMA September 17, 2013 at 11:00 pm

We are currently fighting the same battle with change of flood zone status.

Our house has been on the market for 140+ days mainly due to folks getting scared away by thinking our house will flood every time it rains. We live in Louisville, KY and have a small creek about 50 yards behind our house, and the 100yr flood plan states that it will touch our house if Noah comes down this creek. In the past 5 years of living here, the creek has went over it’s bank once and never really touched the backyard.

So we began this LOMA process about 4 months ago, spending $350 to get a surveyor to come out to see if it was worth the time. He stated that it would be worth a shot and after spending another $500 on the “actual” survey to send to FEMA, the BFE was 603.8′ and the lowest elevation of our house was 604.5′ so logistically we would be removed from the AE zone to the X zone just like all my neighbors around me. Month passes, and FEMA gets back to me on my LOMA, stating that we are still in the AE zone due to their magical BFE was 604.7′ and once again our lowest level was 604.8′. Since we are .2 of a foot below the magical number we are still in the AE zone.

Next course of action is to apply fill dirt, since we have went through the appropriate channels to get out of the flood zone, we can’t just add the dirt, now we have to obtain a certificate from the Metro Sewer District and the Division of Water (another $500). To obtain this certificate to apply the fill dirt, first I have to get the signatures on an affidavit from my neighbors both up and down stream, obtain another survey ($150) stating exactly where the fill dirt will be applied and the amount. Both were accomplished and paperwork was sent to the amazing folks (sarcasm) that will hopefully grant me this certificate so I can apply .2 of a foot of fill dirt to the back right corner of my house so people won’t be scared away by this nonsense of a flood plan.

Before I can ease the pain of potential buyers, I will have to obtain another LOMA from my surveyor, who has graciously said he would “help me out” on the price of the next survey for the LOMA application. Once the certificate is granted (optimistically guessing 4weeks) and fill dirt added / re-surveyed (2weeks) then paperwork sent off to FEMA (which the feds are quick to respond so another 4+weeks) I hope to have the house rezoned and flood insurance removed!

After speaking with a few other folks who have been through the same awesome ordeal, they said if I can accomplish this task in under a year I have done something right. This has been the most stressful, agonizing, painstaking, ridiculous task I have ever performed. However, this is our federal government at its finest, and I should be privileged to be working with them….HA

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Kimberly September 18, 2013 at 10:14 am

How on earth did they change the BFE? That makes me so mad! And…what’s the point of a BFE if they are going to choose not to use it? So, if someone is 4 inches above it, everything if great but if someone is 2 inches above it, they are arbitrarily going to decide that isn’t high enough? They need to follow their own rules…never mind, we are talking about the federal government and they can do whatever they want.

Have you checked the map panel to see if others in your neighborhood have had LOMCs issued? I would check. Just look at the map panel for your address on FEMAs website. If there have been other LOMCs in your neighborhood, there will be a “+”. Click on it and you can see what your neighbor’s elevations are and if FEMA approved them. Hope this makes sense…

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I hate FEMA September 18, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Kimberly – When FEMA came back with their BFE I immediately called my surveyor and asked why the difference. He called up the Metro Sewer District who gave my surveyor the original BFE and asked them what was going on. Well MSD in Louisville said after “several” looks at the maps, they were going to accept FEMAs BFE and basically I am SOL.

Since this whole fiasco, I have lost about $11,000 due to dropping the listing price $9K, surveys ($1.5K), and hopefully adding the fill dirt “if the division of water allows me” another $500.

I wish I could connect with other neighbors who are having this issue, but due to all of FEMA’s glory, I am the only house on my street that is in the AE zone, all other houses around me up and down the creek are in the X zone.

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Kimberly September 20, 2013 at 10:18 am

That is absolutely absurd. So basically, nobody really knows what the BFE is…and you are the only one that pays the price. Be sure to check on the “fill” process. I’ve read different things in different places on FEMA’s website. In one place, I read that using “fill” will allow you to remove your home from the AE zone. I read in another that using “fill” will only allow you to get a much cheaper flood insurance rate, but won’t remove the property from the AE zone. I wish I knew what the actual answer is because we are trying to determine whether it is worth the cost. My overall, long-term concern is that I’m not going to continue to make mortgage payments on a house that I will never be able to sell, so I’m certainly not going to put another dime into it until I get this straightened out. Maybe you can find someone with a “direct” line to FEMA that will convince FEMA to work with you a little. I think if we are able to sell, I may rent for the rest of my life :).

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Jennifer Luke September 18, 2013 at 10:18 am

I have been back and forth with FEMA for the same reason- only my house and a neighbor’s was placed in zone AE from zone X.

My argument is that FEMA used approximated data- not measurements that included soil drainage common sense as I have had two engineers say our house is not in a flood zone. FEMA denied my request and said the entire FIRM would have to be studied- not just my property to fight the ridiculous BFE they established for my house.

I thought the LOMA due to fill required a structure to raised above the BFE. Are you actually raising your structure?

I still support a class action suit and injunction on flood insurance! We should all stand together!

-Jennifer

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Jennifer Luke September 18, 2013 at 10:47 am

Let me correct that- We are in flood zone A- not AE. My lowest point of my house is at 41.0 feet and FEMA says their estimate of BFE is 44.3. My engineer says there is no way 44.3 is correct. I’m having trouble proving FEMA wrong and my city isn’t paying for a detailed study of my FIRM and I certainly can’t afford to pay for a study this large. FEMA says on their rejection letter that the special flood area was determined using their best data but without a detailed engineering analysis. I’m left holding the bag!

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Bruce Anderson September 18, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Sorry, Jennifer. Now you can see the “rules” our government plays by…delay, confuse, MSU, and deny. That’s why I decided not to apply for a LOMA against FEMA’s made-up BFE for my area. (a number they refuse to divulge…if they divulge it, then they have to abide by it, and they don’t want to be tied down. )
The lesson to be learned here, folks, is that you CAN NOT apply for a LOMA without a very specific, surveyed number for the BFE. If you do, all FEMA will do is say their BFE is above your stated number…and its up to you to prove that it is not. (and they won’t tell you how to do that.)
I’m still not sure if I’m lucky or not. My city paid for a complete survey of our new “flood area”. It showed a significant decrease in FEMA’s lines in most areas, including mine. If accepted by FEMA, I will no longer be in the flood zone. So, all I have to do is wait for the city, via the Texas Water Control Board, to have FEMA accept these numbers. This was given to FEMA on August 9, 2013…and guess what ? They (FEMA) have 90 days to respond to give “how long it will take them to REVIEW the data”. delay, delay, delay !!
I’m in my second year of “preferred rate” premiums of $350. My insurance company says I will go to “Normal” rate next year, estimated at $3500. I do not expect FEMA will do anything by then, so basically, like many others on this blog, I’m screwed.
If anyone thinks we are all conspiracy people, I have to ask: did you see NBC news the other day talking about the Colorado floods ? After they said that most of the flooded out victims did not have flood insurance, they were quick to say that the “average cost of flood insurance is $600 per year”. Wonder where they got that number ? Certainly not on this blog !
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Kimberly September 20, 2013 at 10:21 am

I can’t wait to see how much we are all going to have to pay for the Colorado floods.

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Kimberly September 22, 2013 at 8:48 am

I have a question about disclosing information concerning a LOMA/LOMC if someone sells a property. If someone gets their structure removed from the dreaded A, AE, V Zone, is the property owner required to disclose there is a LOMA/LOMC on file that removed the structure from the zone?

In a state where one typically completes a disclosure form regarding all kinds of issues that may be of concern regarding the property, I’m guessing that many potential buyers would run for the hills if they knew there was a battle between the property owner and FEMA (although it is actually only the property owner doing FEMA’s job, it really does look as though it was a battle).

I would think it would be okay to say that part of the property is in an A, AE or V zone because it borders the creek/lake/floodway, but the structure is not and leave it at that.

Does anyone know of a legally required disclosure about the LOMC?

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Mikey September 24, 2013 at 12:09 am

Kimberly…I would recommend that you disclose the information. All the banks or mortgage lenders in your area will have the FEMA flood zone information, as well as most title companies. If you have any letters from FEMA granting your structure a LOMA or LOMR, I would pass those along to the new buyer. Sometimes the banks do not have updated FEMA information. FEMA does not send out a new map or listing every time they grant a LOMA for your area.

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Roger B October 4, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I think this is a situation new to this forum….
I inherited the small home I grew up in on 100-acre private Michigan lake. The 1920′s era dam that created the lake was re-built in the 1990′s under the auspices of the lake property owner’s association, county drain commission, state DNR, township planning dept etc. etc. I am currently refinancing a home equity line that was on the home, and found out that the home is considered in a Zone AE flood zone with the 9/29/2006 (and only?) FEMA mapping and (like everyone commiserating here) the new lien holder is requiring flood insurance. The story with the dam is that it had almost failed after a torrential rain in the 1970′s, which would have sent a sizable amount of water through the small town downstream (more a property damage issue though than loss of life). I will add that, even with a lake level on the brink of disaster, no water touched my home’s foundation. When a big dispute over the liabilities associated with the dam arose some number of years later, the outcome was building a new dam of a significantly superior construction. Somewhere in the process of approving and building the new dam, it appears the height of the adjacent seawall, which as the ultimate spillway sets the maximum lake level, was raised approx. 2′. So my home which never could have flooded with the old dam (it would have failed), now could have water in the crawl space, porch and garage (built on grade) and be very close to the level of the first floor. In summary, a number of landowners on the lake paid (through annual property tax assessments) for a new dam that could now flood our property, cause us to need flood insurance, and impact (no doubt) our property values. I’m a Professional Mechanical Engineer…..any Civil PE’s out there (or anyone) with ideas on the possible assignment of financial responsibilities for “the raising of the dam”? I’m not disputing that I need flood insurance (because now it can!), but I have a problem with it being due more to an “Act of Man” vs. an “Act of God”.
Thanks.

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Joyce October 29, 2013 at 12:15 pm

I am a Florida resident and I am personally seeing the devastation the FEMA change is having on the real estate market. The real estate ads are now starting to read statements like “Seller will pay the first year of flood insurance” just to get their homes sold. I live in Pinellas County, Florida. We were told Pinellas County holds the largest number of flood insurance policies in the US. I live on the water in a first floor condo that has been there since 1973. It has never flooded but you can never say never when it comes to hurricanes. My fellow condo dwellers all accept that we have a high flood risk and all owners individually and the association have dutifully paid our flood insurance. In the past, we have accepted our rates are high as part of the price to live on the water. With the new FEMA, the rates will be so high that if you pay the rates for 5 years you will have paid more than the condo is actually worth. The new rules have basically rendered our property unsellable and worthless. Thank you Congress…. The majority of us own our condos without loans. Although the condo association must retain the building flood insurance, the owners without loans do not have to have personal insurance on their condo. The majority of us that dutifully paid in our contribution to FEMA have decided that we will NOT renew our policies at these new rates so we will stop contributing to FEMA. This appears to be a recurring theme. So not only will FEMA force many people into foreclosure, they will stop getting premiums from the home owners who own their property. Our condo dues will increase significantly to pay the new mandatory building flood insurance that will force the fixed income condo owners who have been there for years to be unable to afford the condo dues and even though they own their homes they will lose them anyway over unpaid condo dues. Biggert/Waters who started this mess said they thought it would only affect the rich with water front homes…obviously they did no homework. Pinellas County has many modest homes that require flood insurance that are not close to the water front. Please, I urge everyone to contact your congressional representative. Apparently Congress will vote on a bill in Jan that will put this on hold for 4 years, but that will only prolong the mess!!!

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WOW! I just found this site when I searched “Can you sue FEMA for incorrect maps?” In October my insurance company informed me my premium was going to increase from $356 a year to $3,950 a year. Ouch! That is almost 25% of my annual income! Someone said I should get an elevation certificate for my insurance agent. I did – $1,250. My agent says they cannot use it until my county flood level “agent” signs off on it. I called my county office: “What the hell are you talking about? Never heard of such a thing. We have never established a Base Flood Elevation for your area.” So now what? The closest BFE to my area is a 10.0. as found by my surveyor. My lowest elevation (Bottom of crawlspace) is a 11.25 and the level of my actual living space is a 12.75. Based on the FEMA map dated 1988 my residence is in a Zone C but when CoreLogic did their colorful overlay it moved my home into a Zone A. CoreLogic used the same 1988 FEMA map which is totally incorrect as to road layouts, etc. When I tried to contact CoreLogic I never received any response. I’m Pissed – I’m Old- and I figure I’m already getted screwed by FEMA, CoreLogic and the insurance companies, so what the hell: I have sent out Public Information Request forms to FEMA, CoreLogic and my local county requesting ALL the data, information and whatever showing how they determined their flood elevation levels. So what are they going to do? Put me in a Zone A+? If they don’t respond then the game changes!
Oh yeah! I’m on salt water frontage. The tide goes in and out twice a day. At it’s highest level in the last ten years it would have to be four feet higher to even reach my deck. If that ever happens
I’ll just crack open another beer, sit out on the deck and flip the bird to FEMA.

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Mikey November 25, 2013 at 1:39 am

Norm…sounds like you are living the dream on the ocean somewhere. As you are now aware, FEMA can pretty much do what they want since there is very little oversight by congress on their screwing over people. Actually, your congressperson gave them the authority to do it. By the by, if you pay off your mortgage, then you don’t have to pay the flood insurance.

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Linda Adkins-Smith June 22, 2014 at 7:07 am

Norm, I don’t think they give a **** about the last TEN years…they look at the last 100 years!!! At the highest level of probably 25 feet the water could not get into the living quarters of my home but explain that to FEMA. This agency is like fighting ghosts, and just hopefully whoever reviews your LOMA is in a good mood that day!!.

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Norm Curtis December 13, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Hey! I think I got lucky. Hate to count my chickens as they say…But after getting my survey and sending out multiple “Public Records Request Forms” to FEMA, CoreLogic, my local county officials and my insurance agency and then contracting a company (name on request) to handle the paperwork I received my FEMA form LOMA and my property is now back into a Zone C. YAY!
My insurance agency is balking at refunding my premium until they get a letter from my lender saying that I no longer need flood insurance. What! It is my lender who makes that decision – Not my insurance agent. If I cancel my flood insurance my agent can notify my lender but there is no way in hell that they cannot give me a refund on my premium if I cancel. That is between my lender and myself. I’m old, pissed-off, and will fight all these Bas—-s as long as I can. Wow! What a bunch of BS.

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Chuck Cumella June 27, 2014 at 9:41 am

The topic of flood insurance and FEMA make my blood boil!! FEMA = Federal Extortion Money Agency. FEMA changes the maps based upon voodoo science which moves many homes into flood zones which forces homeowners to pay high premiums to the flood insurance company. Note: the flood insurance company is the US government; private agencies administer the policies, but it’s a national (NFIP) group, therefore it’s our government. In other words, it’s another tax!!!
FEMA screwed up badly during Katrina and they are looking to bail themselves out of their financial mess by putting the financial burden on the working taxpayers. Operative word there is “working”; yes, you and me, not the people that live off our government. The changing of the maps, increasing BFE’s, exponential rate charts; it’s all a form of extortion by our government. Craig Fugate (is runs FEMA) needs to be FIRED!!! He is a bad manager and can’t run this organization. God help everyone that is affected by this issue. The major change that really screwed everyone is the Biggert-Waters Act of 2102. Bill HR3370 put a hold on that for 4 years, but the disaster is looming over our heads. Stop by http://www.stopfemanow.com or on Facebook for more info and other life experiences

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I guess I was not the only home owner to find myself in this situation..I did all the low cost steps to appeal my decision from FEMA..As most,I lost..I have spoken to several licensed surveyors about what is required from FEMA to possibly win my case..The cost was rather expensive for as I was told about a 5% or less chance of winning..One assistant for one of the surveyors I had spoken with is a computer junkie that likes to be given an odity and he will research it just for “fun”. He found entire small towns that would be 100% under water before I had any chance of seeing any flooding at all..He found out a recently built sewage plant was built in an area that floods several times a year..These facilities using federal monies are not permitted to build in any area that floods due to massise contamination issues..These areas do not require flood insurance,but I do and am elevated higher..Bottom line is I either have to save roughly 2 extra mortgage payments a year for my flood insurance or pay off my mortgage..Paying that off isn’t happening anytime soon..So if you ever want to sell your house, guess what..Buyers are turned off hearing they will be buying in a flood zone..

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Surveyor32 December 8, 2014 at 2:51 pm

In my county alone, there have been well over 800 LOMA’s issued since 2000 and there are 100′s more who are paying an erroneous premium because helpful information is hard to find. Let me maybe help some folks out with my 30 years of floodplain professional work: If the lowest NATURAL grade (fill is not allowed to artificially raise ground that was below the Base Flood Elevation to an elevation that is above the BFE) that touches your structure (including ATTACHED decks) is at or above the base flood elevation (BFE), the structure meets FEMA’s requirements to be removed from the Special Flood Hazard Area (a/k/a “floodplain”) and a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) will be issued. Here is the typical steps & timeline to get this done. A) Monday my client calls & says he thinks he should not be shown in the “floodplain” & would like to use my services to prove it. B) Wednesday I visit the site and confirm that the “natural” lowest grade adjacent to the structure was, in fact, at or above the Base Flood Elevation. C) Since the BFE is a FEMA determined elevation, on Friday I was able to do an online LOMA request which is called an “eLOMA”. Like me, some Surveyors & Engineers are registered with FEMA as a professional user and are able to submit the application via this system AND (underlined) CAN PRINT OUT THE OFFICIAL APPROVED FEMA LOMA DOCUMENT INSTANTLY (underlined TWICE). D) I email the LOMA document to my client the same day. At this point the federal requirement that flood insurance be in place as a condition of securing a federally-back loan is lifted! Elapsed time: 5 days. Cost: $300-$500 and the client is eligible to receive a full premium refund for any payments made to the National Flood Insurance Program in the past 12 months. The greatest challenge for the landowner is to find a knowledgeable lender employee, insurance employee and even a Surveyor or Engineer to assist them. Don’t give up IF you meet FEMA’s LOMA criteria: lowest natural grade adjacent to the structure is at or above the BFE.

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