What Are Flood Map Changes?

Hello. Chris Greene here, the Flood Insurance Guru. Today we're talking about map changes, what are map changes, and how do they impact you?

First of all, a map change is when the federal government comes in and changes the flood maps. If you haven't seen one of our previous videos, we talk about exactly what a flood map is. We'll briefly talk about it again. All it is, is a traditional map that shows the boundaries of what the different flood zones are, where flood ways are, so you can kind of tell basically what kind of flood zone your property's in.

Every once in a while, the federal government will come in and change these maps. They'll change them for the better or worse . They'll change them for the worse. For example, in Pelham, Alabama they just significantly changed these by at least four feet. In Smyrna, Georgia, they recently made some of these changes for the negative as well.

The reason they do those changes for the negative is because they see that there's an additional exposure there. Elevations change. You can call it climate change, You can call it erosion, or whatever. There is more water coming in to more areas right now than there ever has been before. This is kind of what causes map changes.

Whenever the government makes this announcement, generally they'll publish it in a local newspaper for 90 days. On the 91st day, the new flood map will go into effect. When people get this letter though, they panic because they call someone and they get like a 3,000 or $4,000 flood insurance rate. They're like, "I just don't know what I'm going to do."

Well, here's the good news for you is when these map changes do take place, you have access to the old maps for 12 months. Let's just say that you were in a low risk flood zone and they've bumped you up to a flood zone A, which is a 500 year flood zone, a special flood zone hazard area. What this means is that you still have access to the preferred rating at least for the next 12 months so that you can slowly adjust. Then each year you're going to see that premium go up slowly.

Whenever these map changes do take place, don't panic. We recommend reaching out to the Flood Insurance Guru or any flood expert, and they will tell you exactly what to do.

When it comes to the map changes though, there can also be a good map change. On a good map change, a good example of what's going on is down in areas like Saint Simons and Savannah, Georgia. Even though they flooded the last couple years, the federal government has seen that a lot of these areas are at low risk after looking at the overall picture of everything. They're changing them from high risk to low risk.

What does this mean? Well, this means that you should be getting a letter if you have a mortgage that your mortgage company is no longer going to require you to carry flood insurance. That is money that will come off your mortgage. We still recommend carrying it, especially with it flooding the last couple years, but these flood map changes can take place for the good or the bad.

Now, here you may ask, "Hey, can I argue a flood map change?" You absolutely can. Many times, you can win by using an elevation certificate and doing what's called a letter of map amendment to FEMA to get that map zone changed. It's very common. It's something we do for clients across the country every day.

If you have questions about these map changes, maybe your map changed just recently and you've got questions about it, reach out to us,, our Facebook page or YouTube channel the Flood Insurance Guru. You can give us a call 205-451-4294.


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