WTG F.A.Q.

One of our main goals at Western Technologies Group is to provide as much comprehensive, useful, and accessible information as we can. Below are some of the questions that are frequently asked to our Certified Floodplain Managers and order operators at the Flood Resource Center.

What is a Flood Determination?

A Flood Determination is a document that provides and confirms the flood status of a specific structure. The WTG Flood Determination includes (i) the FEMA Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form that identifies the Flood Zone and states whether flood insurance is required under the NFIP. (ii) Visual verification in the form of imagery our experts use in their analysis. (iii) Flood Zone Legend, the color coded demarcations that correspond with FEMA flood zones (X, AE, V, etc.) (iv) Advisory/Preliminary maps (when available) so the property owner can have a ‘heads up’ to possible future changes in their flood zone.

What is the difference between a Flood Zone and a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)?

When most people say “flood zone” they actually mean “Special Flood Hazard Area” (SFHA). An SFHA is any zone containing the letters “A” or “V”.  SFHA’s are the high-risk flood zones where flood insurance in required. All SFHA’s are flood zones, not all flood zones are SFHA’s.

Is this (my) structure in a flood zone?

Yes, all structures within a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are in a flood zone. Determining what flood zone your structure resides in and if that zone is considered a SFHA are of paramount importance. Flood insurance is only required (by FEMA) when any part of your insurable structure is in a SFHA. This is what is known as FEMA’s Mandatory Purchase Requirement.

There is a high risk SFHA on my property but it does not touch my home: am I in a high risk zone?

Under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) rules, you would not be in a high risk zone. If your structure is completely within a zone of minimal risk, X or X (0.2%), you are considered low to moderate risk and do not require flood insurance. However, our recommendation is that you get flood insurance for the added protection. The premium would be very low.

I heard there are new flood maps. Do you use the new maps for your Flood Determination?

The idea of ‘new maps’ vs. ‘old maps’ is a common misconception, the ‘old maps’ are the current, effective, maps that we use for our determinations and the ‘new maps’ are the Advisory/Preliminary Maps primarily used to help guide construction. The current, effective, maps are the only maps that can be used to determine if flood insurance is required. The ‘new maps’ are more accurately known as Advisory/Preliminary and cannot be used as the basis for a Flood Determination. Eventually, these Advisory/Preliminary maps (or some version of said) will be made ‘effective’, at which point they will be used for the basis of our Flood Determinations.

 Can an insurance company exceed FEMA’s mandatory flood insurance requirement?

Yes. FEMA’s requirements are the minimum requirements for flood insurance. If you have a mortgage, your lender has the right to require flood insurance no matter what flood zone you are in.

If a lender requires flood insurance regardless of my zone, will the premium be high?

No. Policies on structures outside the SFHA are called Preferred Risk Policies (PRP) and are usually hundreds of dollars as opposed to thousands.

 If I don’t have a mortgage is flood insurance required?

No. FEMA’s mandatory purchase requirement only applies to structures with mortgages. If you own the home out right, it is your prerogative to purchase flood insurance as you are assuming the full risk.

Will my mortgage lender or insurance company accept your report?

Yes. We are certified by FEMA to produce our flood determinations. Our clients include mortgage companies, title companies, banks, and insurance companies who trust the conclusion of our reports.

What if my bank, lender, or Mortgage Company doesn’t use WTG?

If your lender already has their own method of obtaining flood determinations, a situation may arise where our conclusion differs from theirs. In cases where conclusions differ, the next step is often hiring a surveyor to do and Elevation Certificate, and subsequently, getting a Letter of Map Amendment to resolve the issue.

If I am in an SFHA, can the designation be challenged or changed?

Yes, you can dispute the flood status of an insurable structure that is affected by a SFHA by way of a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). A LOMA is an official document issued only by FEMA stating the flood status of a particular structure(s). The first step in any LOMA application is to have an elevation certificate produced by a licensed land surveyor.

What is a LOMA?

A Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) is a document produced by FEMA that changes the flood status of a structure. FEMA will compare structural elevations to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) of the property. If the structural elevations are above the BFE, then the structure can be effectively removed from the SFHA and from the mandatory purchase requirement. FEMA is the only government organization that can issue a LOMA. Visit www.myfloodstatus.com to learn about this process.

 Can I use this report to sell my home?

Yes. Buyers like accurate information about a property they are purchasing. Real Estate Agents will often attach a copy of our Flood Determination to their MLS listing. This can make your property more attractive in a town or area that has a reputation for flooding if the structure is not contacted by a SFHA. Real Estate Agents can use our report to increase buyer interest/activity and to fully disclose any flood related issues.

 If my structure is in an SFHA, and I have no mortgage, should I obtain flood insurance?

It is always our recommendation that flood insurance be obtained if any insurable structure is near or in an SFHA. While you will incur the cost (insurance premium), you will also be covered should anything happen.

Why is our report better/more accurate than other Flood Determinations?

While there are other reputable companies out there that produce flood determinations, our experience is that we have a particularly exceptional and accurate report. The systems we have in place to identify the property and conduct an accurate analysis are the best that the industry has to offer. In addition, we offer our proprietary visual verification (in the form of screen captures), so the user/customer can see the data we used in the analysis and understand the method behind our determination. The report is also certified and insured. We stand behind our products.

If you have any questions, comments, concerns about any of the items mentioned here, or any other flood related questions feel free to contact the MyFloodStatus flood resource center at 855-653-5663 or visit us at www.myfloodstatus.com. Our staff of order operators and Certified Flood Plain Managers are always ready and willing to answer any question you may have.

 

What does “500-year flood” mean?

As with the “100 year flood”, the meaning of the term “500 year flood” is also often times misunderstood. Many people do not understand how it affects their structure as well as their flood insurance coverage.

The 500-year flood zone is used to designate base floodplains of lesser hazards, such as areas protected by levees from 100 year flood, or shallow flooding areas with average depths of less than one foot or drainage areas less than 1 square mile.

Common Misconceptions about the 500-year flood

The Flood Insurance Requirement – On FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), the 500-year flood zone is designated as “B” or “X shaded” (AKA “X 0.2%”). When your structure is within this zone, flood insurance IS NOT REQUIRED by FEMA. This zone appears on the FIRM for informational purposes only!

Flood Insurance Availability – Flood insurance CAN BE purchased in the 500-year flood zone! While flood insurance is not REQUIRED by FEMA in the 500-year flood zone, it is strongly suggested. Being that there is an increased chance of flooding when you are in the “500 year(X 0.2%)” zone, it’s a good idea to purchase flood insurance to protect your investment. If one were to purchase flood insurance in this zone, it is considered a Preferred Risk Policy (PRP). PRP’s usually run the insured anywhere from 400-600 dollars per year.

The real chances of flooding – As with the 100 year flood, the most common misconception is that a 500 year flood is a flooding event that happens once every 500 years. The 500 year flood zone is a designated area that has a 1 in 500 (0.2%) chance of being met or exceeded in any given year. The 500 year flood would likely be more catastrophic than the 100 year flood which would be more catastrophic than a 20 year flood, etc.

Underestimating true risk – When your structure is within the 500-year flood zone, there is a 6% chance of being flooded over the life of a 30 year mortgage.

To obtain the most accurate and reliable flood information, get a certified insured Flood Determination from www.myfloodstatus.com. The report will show your current and proposed(if available) flood status using “visual verification” to show exactly how the flood zones affect your land and insurable structures.  Confirm, challenge, and know your true flood status with www.myfloodstatus.com today!

Understanding a L.O.M.A.

What is a LOMA?

A LOMA (Letter of Map Amendment) is a document produced by FEMA that verifies or amends the flood status of a structure.  FEMA is the only government organization that has the authority to issue a LOMA.

Why/How does it work?

In order to determine if a LOMA will be issued, FEMA compares structural elevations to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) of the structure. If the structural elevations are above the BFE, the structure can be effectively removed from the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and from the mandatory purchase requirement for flood insurance. Thus, a successful LOMA officially changes the flood status of a structure.

What is required to obtain a LOMA?

The most important document required for a LOMA would be an Elevation Certificate. Produced by a licensed land surveyor, the Elevation Certificate will provide the necessary structural elevations needed for the LOMA. The other two pieces of required documentation are a signed, stamped copy of the deed (by county clerk) and a subdivision or tax map.

How can WTG help?

We pride ourselves on being able to help homeowners/buyers navigate the ins and outs of this entire process. Before pursuing a LOMA, it’s best to confirm your true flood status with a WTG Flood Determination. If we determine that the structure is not within the SFHA, no further action is required. Our report can, quite literally, be taken to the bank.

Should WTG determine that your structure is in fact affected, the next step in the process would be to order an Elevation Certificate (EC) from WTG. Once produced, our team of Certified Floodplain Managers will review the EC and determine the likelihood of a successful LOMA.

Should we determine the likelihood is good, the LOMA application can be ordered from our site as well. Once placed, our staff will immediately begin drafting the application and get it over to FEMA. Once issued by FEMA, the structure will be outside the SFHA and flood insurance will no longer be required!

Call 855-653.5663 or navigate to www.myfloodstatus.com to find out more about how we can help you today!

Determining Flood Zones

Determining Flood Zones

Can you rely on public flood information when determining flood zones?

The answer is NO.  When you adopt this practice, you leave yourself open to liability.   All public sources will have disclaimers in varying degrees which express the fact that the information should not be used for flood insurance rating purposes.  These public systems are also not 100% accurate in identifying property locations and are not official determinations of flood status.

You should consider many factors when determining flood zones:

  • Is my INSURABLE STRUCTURE affected by a high risk flood zone?
  • Is there a LOMA or LOMR removing the property or structure from the High Risk Flood Zone?
  • Was there a recent map change that could have changed my flood status?
  • Is there a pending map change that could change my flood status in the future?
  • What is the elevation of the structure compared to the Base Flood Elevation?

This information is not readily available and sometimes not easily understood.  This data should be analyzed by a flood determination expert to insure accuracy when determining flood zones and the mandatory purchase requirement for flood insurance.

Many considerations are instrumental in determining a property’s flood status and the flood insurance premium.  New maps are changing the flood zones of properties all across the country.  A flood determination is no longer a check box on a form. New laws and regulations regarding mitigation and rebuilding must be observed.

Run a Flood Determination Report from www.myfloodstatus.com.  The report comes with the professional guidance of the “Flood Resource C­­enter”, which will provide customer support, understanding and direction.  Certified flood plain managers and flood specialists can help lower flood insurance premiums and possibly remove properties from high risk flood zones.

Each report is insured.  You shift the liability and the burden of dealing with flood related issues to the professionals.  Don’t put yourself at risk by determining flood zones with misleading online tools.   Leave this to My Flood Status and the Flood Resource Center powered by WTG, they stand behind every determination.

For more information go to www.myfloodstatus.com or call 855-653-5663.

What is a flood zone?

What flood zone am I in?

All properties within a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are in a flood zone. Every structure located in one of the more than 20,400 NFIP-participating communities is in a “flood zone”. Determining what flood zone you are in and if that zone is considered a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) are of paramount importance. And, as we have seen in recent years and even recent months, being located outside a SFHA does not guarantee immunity from the possibility of flood loss.

A SFHA is any zone beginning in the letters “A” or “V”, these are the high-risk zones where flood insurance is required. All SFHA’s are flood zones, not all flood zones are SFHA’s.

Supposed “non-hazardous” flood zone areas, historically delineated using “B, C, or X are considered areas of moderate of minimal hazard. Flood insurance is not required in these areas.

When determining flood status, the location of any insurable structure(s) on the property is key. Flood insurance is only required (by FEMA) when any part of an (inhabited) structure(s) encroaches (touches) a SFHA.  This is FEMAs Mandatory Purchase Requirement on a property with a federally backed mortgage.

You are eligible to purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. If you do not have a mortgage and are in or near a SFHA, we highly recommend you purchase flood insurance.