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John A Grant. Jr., Inc
3333 North Federal Highway
Boca Raton, Florida 33431
FLOOD INSURANCE / FLOOD ZONES / LOMAs (Letters Of Map Amendment)
Flood Insurance is quite a confusing topic for homeowners. Flood Insurance is usually required on properties that are
mortgaged (as required by a lender) and are in a Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). SFHAs are areas that are considered
within the 100 year floodwater basin. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) produces Flood Insurance Rate
Maps (FIRMs) for communities that depict the location of these SFHAs in the form of “Flood Zones”. The following are some
examples of Flood Zones:
Zone A – is subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event. However detailed hydraulic analyses have not
been performed and no Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) are shown.
Zone AE and A1-30 – is subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event. BFEs are shown.
Zone AH – is subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance shallow flooding (usually areas of ponding) where average
depths are between one and three feet. BFEs derived from detailed hydraulic analyses are shown.
Zone AO – is subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance shallow flooding (usually areas of ponding) where average
depths are between one and three feet. BFEs derived from detailed hydraulic analyses are shown. Some AO zones could
contain areas with high flood velocities such as alluvial fans and washes.
Zone AR – areas that result from a decertification of a previously accredited flood protection system that is in the process of
Zone A99 – is subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance but will ultimately be protected with the completion of
an under-construction Federal flood protection system. This occurs when enough progress has been made on the
construction of a protection system (dikes, dams, levees, etc) as to consider it complete for insurance rating purposes. No
BFEs or depths are shown.
Zone V – are coastal areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event with additional hazards
associated with storm-induced waves. Detailed hydraulic analyses have not been performed so no BFEs are shown.
Zone VE and V1-30 – are coastal areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event with additional
hazards associated with storm-induced waves. BFEs are shown.
Once a property’s flood zone is determined, the cost or necessity of flood insurance can be determined. Although there is no
rule forbidding banks from requiring flood insurance on buildings not in a SFHA this is uncommon. Thus the benefit of not
being in a SFHA is either no insurance requirement or a cheaper insurance premium (as the lower risk results in a lower rate).
DO I NEED FLOOD INSURANCE?
Typically, banks rely on insurance specialists to determine if a property is in a flood zone. These specialists simply review the
property’s address and attempt to determine its location on a FIRM. However this process is not entirely accurate due to the
large scales of the Flood Maps. Often a buildings location will need to be scaled which introduces a margin of error for
properties near the borders of these flood zones.
In addition, Flood Maps and their underlying hydrologic studies do not always posess a great deal of topographic information to
base the results from. The denser the topographic data the more accurate the study, the less dense the data the greater
the margin for error (ie. Including areas in the SFHA that should be included). Since FEMA understands this potential problem,
they have introduced a method to remove properties accidentally included in the SFHAs. This method is called a Letter Of Map
LETTER OF MAP CHANGE
Instead of revising the underlying National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) map, aka FIRM, each time there is a correction to
the area, FEMA instead issues a Letter Of Map Change. A LOMC is an official change of the FIRM and as such is a public record
that must be maintained by each community. Examples of some LOMC:
CLOMA – this is a Conditional Letter Of Map Amendment regarding whether a proposed project would be excluded from the
SFHA shown on the NFIP map.
CLOMR – this Conditional Letter Of Map Revision is FEMA commenting on a proposed project that would affect the hydrologic
and/or hydraulic characteristics of a flooding source which results in the modification of a floodway or Base Flood Elevations.
CLOMR-F – this letter comments on fill being placed in a proposed project that would exclude an area from the SFHA on the
LOMA – this Letter Of Map Amendment excludes a property from the NFIP map SFHA.
LOMR – this Letter Of Map Revision is an official revision to the NFIP map which may change flood insurance risk zones,
floodplain and/or floodway boundary delineations, planimetric features, and/or BFEs.
LOMR-F – This Letter Of Map Revision base on Fill is similar to a LOMA but acknowledges that the property is no longer part of
the SFHA because of fill introduced during construction rather than because the property was accidentally included into the
THE AVERAGE HOMEOWNER
Saving money on insurance (either by no longer paying, never paying or paying a reduced rate) can often times be as easy as
determining what the elevation of your property is. When a parcel falls within a SFHA a property owner can get a reduced
rate by showing the elevation of the structure on a form known as an Elevation Certificate. This is a form published by FEMA
that is filled out either by the owner or community representative in cases where the property is determined to be outside a
SFHA or prepared by a Surveyor/Engineer/Architect if the property is in a SFHA. The individual laws of the state will determine
which registrant is able to complete the form. For the State of Florida this is filled out by a Professional Surveyor & Mapper.
Having an Elevation Certificate can qualify an owner for reduced rates. The higher the elevation of the structure is above the
BFE, the greater the savings. However in areas where no BFE is specified or in areas of shallow flooding (AH or AO) this is
more difficult. When depths are shown, the lowest floor elevation of the building needs to exceed the lowest adjacent grade
by 6 inches or more to be eligible for discounts.
LOMA INSURANCE SAVINGS
If in the process of conducting the fieldwork necessary for an Elevation Certificate (or just checking the eligibility for a LOMA) if
the lowest adjacent grade to the structure is HIGHER than the BFE, the property could then be eligible for a LOMA. If a LOMA
is issued this document will now show the structure or property is NOT in the SFHA. This could have the effect of either
negating the requirement to maintain flood insurance or allow the owner to continue his/her insurance at a reduced rate.
Some examples of the difference in rates are as follows:
High Risk Areas: Standard Rates (A Zones)
Assumed $2000/$2000 deductible. No basement. Elevation Certificate may be required to show structure is above the BFE.
Building & Contents Building Only Contents Only
Coverage Annual Coverage Annual Coverage Annual
$35,000/$10,000 $472 $35,000 $376 $10,000 $136
$50,000/$15,000 $634 $50,000 $490 $15,000 $184
$75,000/$20,000 $848 $75,000 $656 $20,000 $232
$100,000/$30,000 $1,100 $100,000 $806 $30,000 $334
$125,000/$40,000 $1,357 $125,000 $956 $40,000 $441
$150,000/$50,000 $1,614 $150,000 $1,106 $50,000 $548
$250,000/$100,000 $2,734 $250,000 $1,691 $100,000 $1,083
Moderate to Low Risk Areas: Standard Rates (Zones B, C, X)
Assumed $1000/$1000 deductible. No basement.
Building & Contents Building Only Contents Only
Coverage Annual Coverage Annual Coverage Annual
$35,000/$10,000 $478 $35,000 $346 $10,000 $172
$50,000/$15,000 $673 $50,000 $475 $15,000 $238
$75,000/$20,000 $860 $75,000 $596 $20,000 $304
$100,000/$30,000 $1,004 $100,000 $653 $30,000 $391
$125,000/$40,000 $1,102 $125,000 $711 $40,000 $432
$150,000/$50,000 $1,201 $150,000 $768 $50,000 $473
$250,000/$100,000 $1,636 $250,000 $998 $100,000 $678
Moderate to Low Risk Areas: Preferred Risk Policy (Zones B, C, X)
Assumed $1000/$1000 deductible. Documentation required.
Building & Contents Contents Only
Coverage Basement No Basement Coverage Basement No Basement
$20,000/$8,000 $129 $154 $8,000 $49 $68
$30,000/$12,000 $160 $185 $12,000 $65 $92
$50,000/$20,000 $211 $236 $20,000 $96 $128
$75,000/$30,000 $247 $277 $30,000 $110 $147
$100,000/$40,000 $274 $304 $40,000 $122 $164
$125,000/$50,000 $294 $324 $50,000 $134 $181
$150,000/$60,000 $313 $343 $60,000 $146 $198
$200,000/$80,000 $343 $378 $80,000 $170 $218
$250,000/$100,000 $365 $405 $100,000 $194 $238
If a homeowner in a SFHA is eligible for and can obtain a LOMA they are then eligible for the preferred rate. Additionally once
they show the LOMA to their lender they may no longer be required to obtain any flood insurance coverage on the property.
LOMA submittals typically take between 30-60 days when submitted by mail. When submitted online (E-LOMA) turnaround
times are considerably faster. Surveyors/Engineers have to be pre-registered with FEMA to use the E-LOMA process. LOMA-F
(based on fill) cannot be submitted electronically. Zones AE, A1-A30, VE, V1-V30, A, AH and AO can obtain LOMAs should
such field data be collected to support the property’s eligibility.
Note: If a homeowner wishes to retain flood insurance after a bank no longer requires it, it is the HOMEOWNER that now
decides the amount of coverage for their property. While the bank might require coverage in the full amount of the
replacement value of the home, a property owner might feel that $30-50K in coverage would be sufficient to replace any
drywall, carpeting, miscellaneous damage and $12-20K would suffice to replace the damage to any interior contents. This
could be the case where a concrete block stucco home is in an area where the only flooding source is "ponding water". Thus
the chances of their homes being completely destroyed by several feet of water is low.
HOW DO I FIND OUT IF I AM ELIGIBLE FOR A LOMA or LOMA-F?
Once you have checked your Flood Insurance Declarations page and deduced that you would benefit from a Letter Of Map
Amendment the process is fairly straightforward:
STEP 1) You will need to ascertain what the BFE in the area of your home/business (if you live in a SFHA where a BFE is
shown). You can find this in several ways. If you have Flood Insurance look on your Declarations page. It will also be shown
on an Elevation Certificate or possibly on your the Survey of your home (varies). You can determine the BFE from the NFIP
Maps from a hardcopy (sometimes found at Survey Companies or Libraries) or online at the FEMA website.
STEP 2) You will need to determine what the lowest adjacent grade (the lowest elevation) is next to the structure you are
insuring. You can do this one of two ways.
A) If you have an existing Elevation Certificate, this can be used to determine your eligibility. With this form a LOMA can
be submitted without additional field work.
B) If you don't know what the lowest adjacent grade for the structure is a Survey Crew will be required to either
determine this they can perform a full Elevation Certificate which can be used to determine the grades.
STEP 3) Determine the date the building was constructed. This will determine whether you are eligible for a LOMA or LOMA-
F. If the structure was either built at the existing grade (fill used to remove unsuitable topsoil to be replaced with structurally
suitable material that does not change the effective grade is not considered fill for LOMA purposes) or constructed prior to the
effective date of the first National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) map showing the area, a LOMA may be applied for. If the
building was raised above natural grade after the NFIP map was produced and now sits higher than the BFE, a LOMA-F may be
applied for (Note: FEMA requires an additional processing fee for LOMA-Fs).
STEP 4) Once you have determined your eligibility a LOMA or LOMA-F can be applied for either by mail or electronically
(eLOMA). A PSM (Professional Surveyor and Mapper) will be required to either fill out certain sections (or they can fill out the
entire package) before it can be mailed. Processing times are 6-8 weeks and they are processed in the order received. If the
PSM has registered with FEMA for the eLOMA program they can be submitted this way. An eLOMA can be approved the same
day it is submitted. eLOMAs are subject to random audits. An eLOMA that is chosen for auditing must submit supporting data
to FEMA by mail. Even so this process is often approved within 2 weeks making it faster than the traditional method.
Unfortunately Letters Of Map Amendment based on Fill (LOMA-F) are not able to be submitted electronically at this time.
If you have any further questions regarding the LOMA process please contact the office of John A. Grant. Jr. Inc at
(561) 395-3333 and tell them you are inquiring about a Letter Of Map Amendment or LOMA. We will attempt to answer
any questions you have.
Flood Insurance Policy rates courtesy of http://www.floodsmart.gov/
Flood Zone Definitions courtesy of http://www.fema.gov/
|JOHN A. GRANT, JR., INC.
Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors
FLOOD INSURANCE INFORMATION