Based on previous flood history, FEMA identifies and maps certain areas of land that are prone to flooding. These maps are revised as flood patterns emerge. Land upon which flooding is expected to occur within 100 years is considered a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), and FEMA requires any property lying within these zones to carry flood insurance.

To determine how much flood insurance is needed, a registered land surveyor will conduct a thorough field analysis by identifying the property location on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) which shows the 100-year flood location and their flood values. The surveyor takes those values and determines the elevation of the house and adjacent ground level.  Once the elevations have been verified, the surveyor will complete an elevation certificate to be filed with FEMA verifying or amending the existing flood map.

If any portion of your property has been incorrectly mapped as being in the flood plain, but is actually above the base flood elevation, a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) can be filed in conjunction with the Elevation Certificate to move all or a portion of your property out of the flood plain. If the LOMA is approved, it will allow you to get flood insurance at a lower premium, or could even grant you the option to not purchase it at all.