Once upon a time, both flood zone and flood insurance rate map were the bases for flood risks and flood insurance rates. This recently changed, especially with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), with the Risk Rating 2.0 program. However, this doesn't mean that flood zones no longer matter when it comes to flood insurance in the United States.
If flood zones no longer matter when getting your premium rates, then what is it good for? In this blog, we will talk about the changing flood maps in Morgan County, Georgia, and discuss the good, bad, and ugly impacts of this new FEMA flood map coming to the county on January 26th, 2023.
Georgia is no stranger to flood damage. Last year, at the start of October 2022, the state faced a huge flood hurdle as rainfall amounts exceeded the average rainfall amounts every October. This was on October 4th, 2022. The National Weather Service (NWS) immediately issued flash flood warnings across the state they were expecting 2 to 5 inches of rain to get dumped on the state within that week. Central Georgia specifically is under close watch from the NWS during this weather pattern.
This is just one of the most recent battles that the state had when it comes to flood risks.
Just five days ago from the time of writing, on January 4th, 2023, multiple parts of Georgia faced flooding which cause a lot of road closures. At one point, this caused a sinkhole to be opened up and swallow a car whole in the Athens area. This happened overnight with rainfall ranging from 1 to 4 inches.
This type of weather can really give you an idea of an area's flood profile. So, what does this mean for flood zone designation in Morgan County, GA?
First, it's important to acknowledge that flood zones just don't determine the true flood risk of a property. This is the same reminder even for those who will be moving out of the special flood hazard area (SFHA) with this new FEMA flood map for Morgan County.
In FEMA's report, around 584 properties are expected to experience an "in to out" movement in this new floodplain map. This means that these property owners will no longer be required to carry a flood policy with their property.
However, being moved out of the SFHA and into a low-risk flood zone like Flood Zone X doesn't really mean that you won't ever get flooded. This is why it's best to really maintain that flood insurance policy.
If there are good changes, there will also be some bad ones. In this case, we will also see some bad impacts of this new FEMA flood insurance rate map on Morgan County residents.
This comes in the form of what's called an "out to in" movement which will impact around 178 properties in Morgan County. This means that properties with their previous locations outside of the SFHA will be moved into it. Some would call this moving into a flood zone or being mapped to a Flood Zone A.
Although this won't really impact premium rates directly, this is where you will start seeing a mandatory flood insurance requirement for the properties impacted by this movement. This is because flood insurance is required for properties that are located in the SFHA.
So, if you're one of the property owners impacted by the bad change, you can expect your mortgage lender or FEMA to inform you that you're required to carry a flood policy with your home.
Lastly, we have the ugly changes. We call this ugly because this is where the "in to in" movement takes place.
"In to In" means that properties impacted will be moving deeper into the SFHA and into a higher-risk flood zone. This is generally concerning properties that are already in the SFHA, like Flood Zone A, and they are being moved to something like Flood Zone AE. With FEMA's new version of the flood map for Morgan County, this will be impacting at least 2,023 properties.
Same with the bad change, this means that mortgage lenders and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) themselves will be stricter when it comes to mandatory flood insurance for properties.
How To Fight Flood Map Changes
Changing Your Flood Zone
Let's just say you have a property that's mapped into a low-risk flood zone like flood zone X, this doesn't mean that that building will stay in that zone forever. This is especially true as flooding impacts how flood insurance rate maps (FIRM) work.
Sometimes, when a flood insurance rate map update comes to your community, this could mean that you might see your property get moved into a high-risk area like flood zone A or flood zone AE. Having your property or building mapped into a high-risk flood area generally results in a mandatory purchase of flood insurance.
To see your revisions to your community's flood maps, you can CLICK HERE to visit the official website for FEMA flood insurance rate map (FIRM) changes.
This requirement might come from your mortgage lender or the state law itself such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) standards. But, what if you know that your property shouldn't be in a high-risk flood zone? How do you fight these changes?
This is where what's called a Letter Of Map Amendment (LOMA) comes in to save the day.
Letter Of Map Amendment
A Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) is an official document that's issued by FEMA to process the change of a flood zone designation for a property.
An elevation certificate will show a more accurate representation of your property such as its risks from flood water, base flood elevation, its exact distance from your lowest habitational floor, and other relevant information. A LOMA is achieved after a successful application for a Letter of Map Change (LOMC) thru FEMA's official website.
It helps to have the necessary information and documents when applying for a LOMA. One of the helpful supporting documents you can provide is an elevation certification.
Although elevation certificates are no longer required — especially with the recent update to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and Risk Rating 2.0 — this can really help a lot in proving the validity of your request to be mapped out of a high-risk area.
So these are the good, the bad, and the ugly changes coming to Kaufman Co. When it comes to actual flood risks, the reality is that even low-risk flood zones can be flooded too. This also means that getting a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) done won't guarantee that your home no longer has flood risks.
This is why we still encourage property owners to get flood insurance coverage for their property. A single flood policy will be able to provide building and contents coverage, so both the structure and your personal property inside it will have flood protection.
If you have questions regarding flood zones, flood insurance, or anything flood-related, click below to access our Flood Learning Center to get your answers.
Ready to start simplifying your flood insurance? Just follow these three simple steps:
- Fill out this form —
- Talk with our flood education specialist.
- Get back to the important things in your life.