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Soon to be posted as a Blog - you're the first to see it! 

FEMA Flood Zone Blog

My topic for this blog is FEMA flood zoning which has affected about 1200 homes throughout Marin County - especially waterfront homes in Belvedere, San Rafael and Novato as well as, according to hearsay, some homes near watercourses in San Anselmo, Mill Valley and Novato.

While most cities in Marin have had a reasonable amount of warning of the change in the Special Flood Hazard Zoning by being informed in the last half of 2008, some (notably Belvedere and Bel Marin Keys) were only informed by letter in mid February 2009. This late notification prevented them from commenting on the new zoning in the time frame required by FEMA.

Property owners in "100 year flood zones" (as designated by FEMA) will be required to take out flood insurance if they have a mortgage that is backed by the federal government. Note though that other mortgagors may require flood insurance even if they are not government backed.

Affected homes in all areas will need to take out flood insurance before 5/4/09 if they wish to be "grandfathered in" to reduced flood insurance rates into the future.

Before giving up the opportunity to be grandfathered in to reduced insurance rates - perhaps because you have no mortgage - consider what will happen if you should ever sell your home to someone who does require a mortgage.

Flood insurance rates vary according to circumstance but if the floor of your house lies below the 100 year flood level, the reduced "grandfathered" rates are roughly $900 per year for house only (with a limit of about $280,000 in damage) but the full non-grandfathered rates are roughly $1800 per year (same limit). Flood insurance is obtained through any qualified insurance group but they will only be acting as "pass through" agents as the "subsidized" insurance is supplied by a federal government agency.

Clearly these new zonings will have a detrimental effect on the property values of affected properties and even those nearby.

So what changed? What is a "100 year flood", DFIRM, FIRM, Firmette, BFE, SFHA, NFIP,LOMA, LOMR-F ?

Must I get or do I need Flood Insurance? What's a certificate of elevation? What are other communities doing about this? How much is all this going to cost me?

For the inside scoop and ongoing occasional updates please sign in on our Contact page and in the Comments box request "FEMA Flood Zones and Insurance - Information that could save you real money"

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