Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Flood Insurance Information for Washington County - Handout 2013

Information online:      vtfpm.blogspot.com
Map online:                  tinyurl.com/vt-atlas

A new Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) will become in effect in Washington County on March 19, 2013.  This is an important time to review the map to identify the risks to your home or structure and to understand your flood insurance options and requirements.  Structures that will be identified as being in the Special Flood Hazard Area for the first time may benefit by getting flood insurance now before the new map goes into effect.

The cost of flood insurance in high risk areas (Special Flood Hazard Areas mapped as Zone A or Zone AE) currently costs around $1,400 per year for a $170,000 structure.  Flood insurance in low or moderate risk areas (Zone X, C, B) costs less.  Additionally, most structures in Zone X or C may be able to secure flood insurance as a “Preferred Risk Policy” (PRP) for around $400.

Suggested Actions:

1.  This week - Is your home is in Zone A or AE on the new DFIRM?   (tinyurl.com/vt-atlas)
Is your home in Zone A or AE on the current FIRM? (www.msc.fema.gov)

2. By early February - If your structure will be identified as being in a high risk area (Zone A or AE) in March – but is not currently – then you may be able to get a low cost PRP policy now and renew it (at least twice) before the insurance premium is raised step-wise to the full actuarial cost.

3. If your structure is in a Zone X (or Shaded Zone X) flood insurance may still be important to protect the value of your structure from the impact of overland flow or flooding-caused erosion.

4.  Talk to your homeowner’s insurance agent to secure flood insurance.

5. If you have a flood insurance policy that is not at full actuarial rate – don’t drop coverage!

6.      If your structure is in a high flood risk area – identify options (such as elevation) to reduce the risk of damage and the cost of flood insurance.

Flood Maps:

Vermont Natural Resource Atlas tinyurl.com/vt-atlas now has the Washington County DFIRM data available (find under Watershed Protection and Special Flood Hazard Areas (Preliminary).  

FEMA Map Service Center  www.msc.fema.gov  has current and historic FIRM maps - look under Product Catalog  The current maps have a white background.

 The municipal office has paper copies of the current FIRM and digital copies of the upcoming DFIRM.


Vermont Rivers Program   www.vtwaterquality.org   
Watershed Management Div. /Dept. of Environmental Conservation/Agency of Natural Resources
Floodplain and River Corridor Program Blog  vtfpm.blogspot.com

Ned Swanberg  ned.swanberg@state.vt.us     802.490.6160
If you send a request to Ned, he can make a map of the area near your home showing a rough version of the current “Q3” and new (3/19/13 DFIRM) mapped boundaries of the Special Flood Hazard Area.

Links and Resources 

Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) identifies Special Flood Hazard Areas labeled as Zone A, AE, AO, A 1- 30.    The DFIRM is a new officially “digital” version of a FIRM.

How to Make a FIRMette (how to make a map of the current FIRM data).

Preferred Risk Policy (PRP)  Flood insurance option for low to moderate risk areas without a history of flood claims. 

Elevation Certificate (EC) – is stamped by a surveyor or engineer and documents the elevation of the lowest floor of a structure.

Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) is completed by a surveyor or engineer to describe the location of the structure (or an area including the structure) relative to the mapped flood hazard.  MT-EZ: Application Form for Single Residential Lot or Structure Amendments to National Flood Insurance Program Maps    Online LOMC tool: www.fema.gov/online-lomc

Cheaper Flood Insurance – Five Ways to Reduce Premiums – recommendations on reducing the impact of flooding on structures and their contents.

Community Rating System (CRS) – A National Flood Insurance Program initiative to discount

Pre-FIRM designates structures that were built before the community joined the National Flood Insurance Program.  Pre-FIRM structures are rated as a group against the risk to the group.

Summary of Map Actions (SOMA) was sent to each municipality and identifies how the new DFIRM will effect the recognized zone of a structure with a LOMA or letter of map change.

Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 – made significant changes to the insurance component of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with the intent of making the program financially sound.  This Act has begun a process of changes to cause flood insurance rates to approach actuarial rates.