Harold and Blanche are buying a new home. As the closing approaches, they are contacted by the mortgage company and told that they need flood insurance. They notify their agent, Robbie Realtor, who calls the mortgage company and informs the lender that the survey shows the house is not in a flood zone. The mortgage company requests that a certification be obtained from a flood certification company. This is done, and the report verifies Robbie's claim that the property is outside the flood zone. The lender agrees that flood insurance is not required. How do flood certification companies determine if the property lies within a flood zone?
Flood certification companies utilize federal and county flood zone maps to determine whether or not property lies within a flood zone. Once the determination is made from a federal map that the property appears to be located within a flood zone, these results are compared with the county maps. If access to the survey of the property is available, this is used as an additional tool in the decision-making process. Finally, visual inspection of the property helps in determining if the developer has modified the topography of the land to raise the lot and/or home above the flood zone.
Flood zone lines can appear to come close to a house, and it is difficult to determine the exact location of a flood line merely from a map. For many new subdivisions, roads and streets have not yet been drawn on the map, and the location of the lot can be difficult to discern. Once a flood certification company finds a lot to be located in a flood zone, the survey should be checked to confirm the findings. If the survey shows that the house lies outside the flood zone, the lender should be asked for a re-evaluation by the same or a different company. This may result in saving a client money and peace of mind.