Flood Zone Determinations
A "flood zone determination" is a professional interpretation of FEMA documents that identifies whether or not a building or mobile home is within a designated Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).
Lenders typically contract with large, out-of-state flood zone determination companies to assist them with preparing a determination. Sometimes these determinations are inaccurate, and the lender will demand flood insurance when it might not otherwise be required.
A common determination error includes identifying a structure as in a SFHA when only a portion of land within a parcel, not including any part of an insurable structure, is within a SFHA. (The federal requirement for flood insurance does not apply to land, only to insurable structures. Insurable structures are only those that are specifically identified as collateral to secure the Federally insured loan. Typically sheds and detached garages are not used as collateral. If they are, some lenders will remove them as collateral if they do not have significant value.)
Property owners believing that an error has been made in the interpretation of FEMA flood map documents can challenge a lender's determination, but lenders will usually require that clients provide their own guaranteed flood zone determination for the challenge to be considered.
To satisfy this requirement, Alaco offers the following: NO LONGER OFFERED Guaranteed Flood Zone Determination. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ A professional flood zone determination for a single parcel and structure. This determination is guaranteed to be accurate, but not necessarily favorable. Coordination with a Lender's Determination Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ In addition to requiring an independent professional determination, a lender may ask that the findings and supporting information be discussed and directly shared with its determination company. This fee is for a single determination.
Alternatively, or in addition to the above, property owners and their lenders can jointly request from FEMA a Flood Hazard Determination Review. FEMA's fee for a determination review is $80.00.
Note that challenging a lender's determination is only a challenge of the lender's interpretation of FEMA material; it is not a challenge of the accuracy of FEMA material. Challenging the accuracy of FEMA maps or reports requires a map change request.