Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Technical Support Hotline for Flood Insurance Claims

Technical Support Hotline 

National Flood Insurance Program policyholders, who have questions about their flood insurance policy or the claims process, and disaster survivors, who have general questions about the National Flood Insurance Program, can contact the Technical Support Hotline / Call Center by:

When calling, please have the following information available:

  • Contact information (name, telephone number or email address, if applicable)
  • Policy number
  • Name of flood insurance carrier
  • The nature of your request

This information will help the representative answer your questions quickly and efficiently.
Please see our fact sheet for more information about this technical support hotline.

Two other NFIP sites that may be helpful to you:
consumer information about flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program; and

FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) 

providing map specialists to support inquiries on how to find and read flood maps, preliminary flood hazard data, Letters of Map Change, Elevation Certificates, and the National Flood Hazard Layer.

Contact a Map Specialist:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Live in Bennington County? - Check the New Flood Map !

On December 2, 2015 the new Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map will go into effect covering Bennington County, Vermont.  If you live in or near a floodplain you should check the map to see what level of risk has been identified for your building.

The Special Flood Hazard Areas (Zone A and AE) on the new Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) can be viewed on the Flood Ready Atlas   Choose "Flood Ready Tools" then "Zoom to Address" and "Toggle Flood Data On".

Special Flood Hazard Areas include areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding.  This is more than a 1 in 4 chance over the period of a 30 year mortgage.  Some parts of the mapped floodplain get flooded more frequently and are subject to high velocity flows.

The current FIRMs (made town by town) will expire in December.  They can be viewed online (as .pdfs) at the FEMA Map Service Center   You can make a small official FIRMette map and plot the location of your building from mapped road intersections.

Check the maps to determine if your building is at risk of damage from the base flood.   Federal law requires lenders to ensure that any mortgages or loans to buildings in the high risk SFHA have insurance to at least cover the mortgage, the value of the building, or the total amount available from the National Flood Insurance Program (whichever is lowest).

If your building was built before the first municipal Flood Insurance Rate Map (late 1970's), and your structure will become identified as being at high risk for the first time, you should learn about "grandfathering your flood zone".  To grandfather your flood zone you would need to buy a flood insurance policy before the map change and then maintain the policy going forward.  This would give you an opportunity to grandfather the lower risk / lower cost Zone X status on the basis of "continuity of coverage".

There will be public meetings in the fall to discuss flood insurance, grandfathering, and how to make buildings less vulnerable to damage and less costly to insure.

Bennington County has over 600 families as well as educational, government and critical facilities in the high risk flood zone.

Across the county (and the state) the Town of Bennington has the most structures in the Special Flood Hazard Area, around 480 (8% of all buildings in town).

Overall there seem to be around 450 buildings that may be indicated as in the high risk flood hazard area (Zone A, AE, AO) for the first time.  Approximately 350 have been newly identified as in the low to moderate risk Zone X.

The towns with the most structures that have been newly identified as at high risk include Bennington, Pownal, Arlington, Manchester and Dorset.

Watch for updates regarding insurance meetings in the fall.