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Old 02-11-2009, 01:33 AM
1,365 posts, read 4,196,205 times
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I have noticed questions regarding flood zones and flood insurance coming up for some time...

I don't know if this considered a "San Antonio" subject or not, so I don't know that this thread will see the light of tomorrow but for what it's worth here is some basic info for those who may have concerns...

I sold Flood Insurance thru the Federal Government for a number of years when I worked at USAA so this is info that I learned during my 4yrs as a Flood Insurance Specialist...

There are high risk flood zones and there are low risk flood zones --- High risk zones begin with letters V or A --- V zones are the highest risk and are almost always coastal, so most high risk zones in San Antonio would be A zones --- these zones are considered to be in the 100 yr flood plain

Low risk zones are B, C or X zones --- when someone tells you "your home isn't in a flood zone" it just means you are in a "low risk" zone --- these homes are in a 500 yr flood plain...

what the 100 vs. 500 means is that if your home is in a 100 yr plain your home has the likelyhood of flood at least 1x every 100 yrs --- 500 would mean your home has the likelyhood of flooding at least 1x every 500 yrs...

if you are looking to purchase a home in an A flood zone you need to be concerned with something called a Base Flood Elevation --- BFE for short --- the BFE is a number that the Army Corp of Engineers has determined that should it flood, the top of the flood waters will reach this number ---

for example...if a home builder is going to build in a flood zone A and the BFE is set at let's just say 15ft...the builder can go in and build the land up so that when the homes are built they are built with a BFE of say 20ft or 25ft --- the home is still IN the flood zone, but is now built ABOVE the BFE --- the higher above the BFE the better the rates are ---

if a home was built in a low risk zone first and then later has been rezoned into an A zone, a high risk zone, then grandfathering rules can apply...this is where it gets just a little sticky ... it only gets sticky if the home sits BELOW the BFE ---

also, if the flood line runs ANYWHERE on the property, then the home is in the flood zone --- the line DOES NOT have to touch the house, it only has to run on a portion, even a corner, of your property and your home will be considered in the flood zone...

anyone can buy flood insurance...if you are in a high risk zone then flood insurance is mandatory for the mortgage, but even those in low risk zones can purchase flood insurance --- rates are really good for low risk homes and the good thing about having a low risk policy in force is that if your home gets rezoned into a high risk zone but you have a low risk policy in place then you can get grandfathered and continue to pay low risk rates as long as there is not a break in coverage...

it is also important to note that major flooding does not happen very often here...we had a HUGE flood in Oct. of 1998 --- half the city was under water...for those that lived here and remember it, it was awful --- then we had a smaller flood in I believe 2007 --- sure there are some roads that get water flowing over them during rain storms, but very rarely do homes get affected...and just because it rains heavily for an hour or so does not mean that homes will be flooded with water pouring in...it takes days of rains for the ground to become that saturated that water will accumulate above ground and come into homes...

it is also important to note that your homeowners policy DOES NOT cover damage caused by flooding/flood waters...

I hope some of this info helps those that may have concerns --- i hope it was not too much info and i hope i was not too confusing ---
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Old 02-11-2009, 01:02 PM
Location: southwest michigan
1,061 posts, read 3,366,195 times
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What an informative post! Is there a flood-map accessible online? One where you could search by address to see flood-plain information would be stellar!
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Old 02-11-2009, 01:57 PM
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actually there is --- if you go to fema's website --- www.fema.gov --- on the rt hand side you can search by disaster --- click on flood --- then on the next page on the left you click on flood maps --- then on the next page on the left hand side put in your address --- what you will get is the current flood map for that address --- you can view it or buy it --- if you zoom in you can see street names etc...

hope that helps...
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Old 08-14-2009, 02:54 AM
2 posts, read 9,724 times
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This information has been so helpful thank you for the expertise and knowledge.
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:39 AM
Location: Wiesbaden, Germany
13,806 posts, read 27,658,412 times
Reputation: 4016
always nice to see someone using the search function and thanking someone for an informative post

that was a very nice posting by the OP too
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Old 02-08-2010, 03:02 PM
1 posts, read 7,695 times
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Default recent flood zoning areas

I have a question about challenging City/FEMA about a recent zoning that affected an area that has never flooded. In 2002 the city of San Antonio along with FEMA zoned an area that has never flooded and the zoning was done without an BFE (Base Flood Elevation). Now the seller of the home will have a hard time selling his/her house if they choose to do in the future. I am looking to buy a home and the owner was unaware that their house was recently (2002) zoned by the city along with FEMA as a A-zone (high risk). The owner is baffled by this since the flooding that occured several years ago did not come close to the house. There is a drainage ditch about 8 feet deep and the worse case scenario about an inch of water is about the extent of a flood. The home seems to be on a slope but since it is located behind a drainage ditch the city decided to zone it as a flood area.

Now from what I hear the city had to buy back land in 2002 from areas that were affected by flooding. The city then re-zoned some areas to include homes that never flood and they did this without flood base elevation surveys. It leaves several homeowners in that area in a bind if they choose to sell their home one day.

My question what is the best way to challenge this flood zoning issue? Who would be the best person to contact?
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:10 AM
1 posts, read 6,142 times
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I live in northern Virginia. I have lived at this address for approximately 25 years. Earlier this year FEMA decided that my property is in a flood zone, and my mortgagee requires Flood Insurance. Fairfax county advises that to challenge this determination I can have the property surveyed. The question is; what do I have to show to reverse the flood zone designation? Based on the information above, I think I need to know the BFE for my property. How do I determine the BFE? The "Status" of my property is: REGULAR CRS Class 7, flood risk/rated Zone: C Current Flood Zone: AE, Elevation Difference: Grandfathered Y.
Appreciate any feedback.
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:39 AM
4 posts, read 8,637 times
Reputation: 10
Very helpful, thanks
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