Are you in the zone? A change in flood maps could result in a change to a flood zones for many property owners. Many communities in Massachusetts may experience another change in flood hazard maps in 2014. This is on the heels of flood mapping changes in July, 2012 in many of the same communities. The maps are used to determine a property's flood zone, and changes to the maps will affect how much you pay for flood insurance.
Flood hazard maps, also known as Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs), indicate whether properties are in areas of high, moderate, or low flood risk. This is all part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) nationwide program to modernize Flood Insurance Rate Maps. More detailed mapping arose out of mapping technology.
Many homeowners may find that their risk is higher or lower than it was prior to the map changes. If the risk level for a property changes, so may the requirement to carry flood insurance.
Those who have a federally backed mortgage or plan to refinance with a federally banked lender will be required to purchase flood insurance if they find that their home is shown in a high-risk flood area known as a Special Flood Hazard Area on the updated maps.
Purchasing flood insurance before new flood maps become effective may lock in a lower-risk zone for the homeowner and lead to significant savings. If you are currently zoned in a "preferred" flood zone, you could buy into this zone before the new maps become effective. Under current regulations, you can buy a a preferred risk policy for as little as $129 range if you are in a C,X or B zone. If you are remapped to a riskier A or V zone, you may continue the preferred risk policy under the PRP extension subject to 20% annual increase as long as you do not have repetitive flood losses or a lapse in flood coverage. Bear in mind the government can change these rules.
The updated flood maps can be viewed at each community's Town Hall. Typically, the building inspector is the community coordinator of the flood program. Each community receives a paper copy and a digital copy of the new maps to share with their residents.
If you need assistance understanding how your property may be affected, Gordon Insurance can help educate you on flood insurance. Timing is important and it is best to learn before the flood map changes so you have more choices on managing your insurance costs. Learn more about flood insurance here.