FEMA Redefining Flood Hazard Zones
Posted by Benjamin Dona on Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 at 12:21am.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is using advancements in digital mapping technology to redefine the country's flood zones. As a result, many homeowners are being required to buy flood insurance for the first time, while others who have had coverage for years are being cleared to drop their flood policies altogether.
The changes are occurring as part of a multiyear plan by FEMA to digitize its Flood Insurance Rate Maps to make them more accurate. The process began in 2003 and FEMA is projecting that 65% of the land in the country (92% of the population) will be covered by the new high-tech maps by 2010. According to FEMA officials, the accuracy of the new mapping technology has vastly improved and allows for more precise information to be used in determining special flood-hazard areas.
Since the federal government requires properties in flood zones that have federally backed FHA and VA mortgages to carry flood insurance and private mortgage companies also use the maps for flood insurance requirements on their loans, having an accurate record of the country's flood zones is imperative. And, while some homeowners are crying foul at having their properties re-zoned into a special flood-hazard area, knowing that you're accurately covered when the worst case scenario happens should make it easier to accept having to pay for the additional costs of carrying the insurance.
Recent areas getting their Flood Insurance Rate Maps upgraded using this new digital technology included more than 100 communities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin. For more information on special-flood hazard areas, you can visit the FEMA website at www.fema.gov.
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