The Federal Emergency Management Agency, also known as FEMA, is in charge of mapping out areas for high risk flood zones, but are some of these maps wrong?
Banks require flood insurance on homes in these flood zones and many are paying steep prices for what could be old information or even human error! These maps are used to determine insurance rates and with the wrong information premiums can go (on average) from $300 a year to $3500, depending on your area and loan requirements. With no warning you have to pay it or else!
Government officials are working to avoid even higher rates for consumers by introducing a bill that would delay FEMA ratings by five years. This would give more time for newly developed areas to upgrade their river levees and put into place precautionary measure to stave off future flood risks.
But in the meantime, many suffer having to pay exorbitant prices, due to a slow moving process of correction. Currently, the Mohave County Flood Control in Arizona has been working with FEMA to correct mismarked areas since 2004 on their new flood maps. It appears as if the new map has the same contours as the old map, but some areas have shifted as well as the ground conditions don’t even match the new FEMA maps.
Change may be on the horizon but looking a little grim for the short term. If you’re flood insurance is being surcharged due to high risk flood zones and you believe it’s inaccurate, first talk to a city official, ask if there’s any amendments to county maps in the works and if not ask how to start one. With a geographical report written up by licensed firm, you may have a shot at it, although this can get costly too. But weigh the odds, cost of report vs. paying high premiums for many years to come!