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Faulty FEMA Zone Maps Lead to Unnecessary Flood Insurance

Pushpin marking location on map

Hundreds of Oregon homeowners have been mistakenly forced to purchase Oregon flood insurance which is not required in their areas. This flawed mapping system is rampant with zoning errors, allowing lenders to automatically include properties located near flooding zones in with those identified as being found in high risk areas. The problem is aggravated by zoning maps based on old data, often no longer valid.

The result? Nearby properties, though located outside flood zone boundaries, are considered high risk by lenders, and homeowners are forced to purchase Oregon flood insurance coverage.

Oregon has been plagued with numerous zoning errors in many different areas during 2013, continuing into the New Year. Frustrated homeowners are now starting to challenge these erroneous flood insurance zoning designations.

The outcome of requiring this coverage is the increased expense, adding several hundreds of dollars to homeowners’ payments every month. Trying to set the record straight, some homeowners have hired their own surveyors in order to legally demonstrate that their homes are outside the high risk boundaries.

Many homeowners with homes outside of the flooding zones have wrongly been included as being located in a high risk area, simply because their property may extend into a wetlands area – even though the structure itself is located on elevated ground, well outside of the high-risk area.

How to Request a Change to Your Flood Zone Designation

If you believe your property was incorrectly included in a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) identified Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), you may submit an application to FEMA for a formal determination of the property’s location and/or elevation relative to the SFHA. The SFHA is the area that has a 1-percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year; this area is also referred to by some as the 1-percent-annual-chance floodplain, base floodplain, or the 100-year floodplain. After FEMA reviews the map change request, it will issue a Determination Document, either approving or denying the map change. If FEMA grants the map amendment or revision request, the property owner may no longer be required to pay flood insurance. The property owner may send the Determination Document to their lender and request that the Federal flood insurance requirement for the structure be removed.

Visit the FEMA site for more information.

FEMA has recently initiated penalties that increase the fines more than four times higher for insurers that fail to cover homes within flooding zones. Hopefully, FEMA will correct this situation before more homeowners purchase unrequired flood insurance coverage.

Are you living in an area that requires flood insurance?Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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