Flood zone regulations and flood insurance are complex issues that can confuse even many experts. The more you understand, the better you can understand your actual flood risk, and navigate the process of ensuring that your home is properly classified. Flood Zone Specialists tries to provide our clients with all the information we can, and to answer questions thoroughly and honestly. Below are some of the common questions our clients have had. Don’t see your question here? Just ask us, and we’ll try to answer as best we can.


1. What is a LOMA?

LOMA stands for “Letter of Map Amendment.” It is a letter provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that indicates that upon review, a particular real estate parcel falls outside of a flood zone that is subject to flood insurance requirements. This letter supersedes finance company assessments and flood insurance mandates.

2. What if my home is located in a floodway?

Floodway designations are usually applied to property at low elevation and in close proximity to a river or large body of water that is considered to be especially likely to experience flooding. In the event a building in a floodway is destroyed, it should not be rebuilt according to federal regulations; guarantees will not be issued for construction loans, and a rebuilt property would be considered uninsurable.

3. Can I get a refund if I’ve already paid for flood insurance I don’t need?

In many cases, yes. In fact, government regulations stipulate that if your property is reclassified sixty days or more before the end of your coverage period, you will be eligible for a refund for all or part of your premiums for that calendar year.

4. If my property is reclassified as being subject to lower or essentially no risk, how much can I expect to save?

That depends. Many factors impact the premium you pay – not least of which is the replacement cost of your property (current regulations mandate that flood insurance cover the entire replacement cost). Obviously, higher priced and higher risk homes will be subject to substantially higher premiums. Consider, though, that your annual premium is multiplied by the length of your mortgage or home loan—frequently thirty years or more. If you currently pay $3,000 annually for flood insurance and that requirement is eliminated, you’ll save $90,000 over the length of your loan.

5. What is an elevation certificate?

An elevation certificate is an official FEMA document used in obtaining flood insurance, assessing risk and calculating costs. The certificate serves as the specific elevation information for your home or structure and demonstrates compliance with floodplain management requirements.

6. My lender, realtor or insurance broker tells me I need an elevation certificate. Is this really necessary?

Not necessarily. If it is determined that your home is actually above the elevation subject to flood insurance requirements, you won’t need an elevation certificate. By filing a Letter of Map Amendment Request (LOMAR) and in receiving an official Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) which consequently removes your home from the designated flood risk area, the need for an elevation certificate may be eliminated. We have helped many clients avoid this requirement, saving them the $600 to $1200 they would have to spend to obtain a document that they don’t really need. Every circumstance is different, of course. Just ask us and we’ll be happy to discuss your own situation and make an appropriate recommendation.