Here is some more information from Maxine Nix of Land Point Surveys, that may help you mitigate or eliminate the cost of Flood Insurance if your property qualifies.
Most property owners are unaware that many homes and businesses in Collier County are eligible to be removed from the Flood Insurance Rate Map and the requirement to carry flood insurance.
FEMA uses LIDAR technology to determine ground elevations. LIDAR—Light Detection and Ranging—is a remote sensing method used to examine the surface of the Earth, often collected by air. LIDAR is a huge leap forward in technology, but not exact enough to pinpoint the elevation of individual structures.
If the structure is above the Base Flood Elevation set by FEMA, it is up to the property owner to prove that the structure does not belong in the flood zone.The only way to determine if a structure is eligible to be removed from the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) is to have an Elevation Certificate completed by a licensed surveyor.
An Elevation Certificate shows the exact elevation of a property in relation to the Base Flood Elevation set by FEMA. It will also show the highest and lowest elevation adjacent to the foundation of the structure, i.e. where the soil meets the slab. Costs vary dependent on the type of structure.
An Elevation Certificate can be completed on any structure, residential homes, multi-family, commercial, even fixed trailers. Once you have an Elevation Certificate completed, your land surveyor will be able to tell you if the structure is eligible.
If the property does not qualify for a LOMA, an Elevation Certificate will still be beneficial for the purchase of Flood Insurance.
If you already have an Elevation Certificate, the information you need find is the LAG, which is the lowest adjacent grade to the foundation. If the LAG (item C2.f) is higher than the BFE (item B9), the structure could be eligible for a LOMA.
Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA)
A LOMA is a document approved by FEMA that removes the footprint of a structure (not the entire property) from the Flood Zone and places it in an X Zone. Thus it is no longer subject to Mandatory Flood Insurance Requirements.
There are two methods to apply for a LOMA:
- LOMA –This method requires hardcopy submission by mail, or can be completed online. FEMA has 90 days from date of receipt of the LOMA application to respond, thus this process can take a few months. If the structure is non-single family, or at the BFE, this method must be used.
- eLOMA –This is an electronic submission of the LOMA application by a licensed survey or engineer. The approved LOMA is usually completed within 48 hours of submission. This application method is only applicable for single family residence. If the structure is between two BFE designations, the higher must be used.
An approved LOMA will eliminate FEMA’s requirement to carry flood insurance. If the property owner opts to carry Flood Insurance, they will receive a Preferred Risk Rate that will not expire. The best part is you only have to do it once, a LOMA never expires.
It is a common misconception that only single family residential properties are eligible for the LOMA program. Commercial and Multi-Family buildings are eligible for LOMA’s as well. Our firm has removed entire multi-family communities from the flood map.
When contacting a surveyor be sure to ask if they have experience with the LOMA program and, if you are a homeowner, are they a FEMA eLOMA vendor. A good surveyor can be your best advocate in the flood of information about flood insurance.
Land Point Surveys
PO Box 990058
Naples, FL 34116
O – 239-963-8857
F – 239-455-3220