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Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Preliminary Maps - Frequently Asked Questions
How do the changes in the new Preliminary Flood Zone Maps affect you?
- Residents and businesses can use the new maps to learn their risk and decide the financial steps they need to take to protect against damage and loss
- Planners, engineers, builders, and local officials can use the maps to make important determinations about where and how to build new structures and developments
- Because Insurance Agents use the Flood Zone Maps to set insurance rates, the flood insurance premium may change for many residents. Therefore, residents should act now to find out how these changes may affect their premiums
Who is responsible for updating the FEMA Maps?
- FEMA is responsible for all updates to the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) and for the administration of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Miami-Dade County and the South Florida Water Management District provided engineering and topographic information to FEMA for their use in creating the new FIRMs, under FEMA Corporate Technical Partners Program
When did the last Flood Maps become effective? When will the new Preliminary Maps become effective?
- The last update of the maps became effective on Sept. 11, 2009. This new preliminary map could become effective as early as March 1, 2022, which is the end of the 90-Day Comment or Appeal Period. Miami-Dade County will adopt the new FIRMs when all comments would be addressed, in order to continue participating in the NFIP, guaranteeing the availability of flood insurance to residents within Unincorporated Miami-Dade County. Note that there are a number of Map revisions, specific for certain locations you should consult the latest National Flood Hazard Layer for your area, or email Miami-Dade County Floodplain program at [email protected] to request an electronic copy of the map for your location or obtain the Current and Preliminary Flood Zone determination for your property
What is RISK 2.0?
- FEMA is updating the NFIP risk rating methodology through the implementation of a new pricing methodology called Risk Rating 2.0. The new methodology uses the insurance industry best practices and technology to produce rates that are actuarially sound, and better reflect a property’s flood risk. Since Aug. 1, 2021, the current National Flood Insurance Program policyholders can contact their insurance company or insurance agent to learn more about what Risk Rating 2.0 Equity in Action means to them
- All new policies beginning Oct. 1, 2021, will be subjected to the new rating methodology and existing policyholders eligible for renewal will be able to take advantage of immediate decreases in their premiums
- All remaining policies renewing on or after April 1, 2022, will be subjected to the new rating methodology
What is not changing under Risk 2.0?
- The way the premium rates are calculated has changed under Risk 2.0. but these important characteristics of the flood insurance program remains the same:
- Limited Annual Premium Increases: Existing statutory limits on rate increases require that most rates not increase more than 18 percent per year
- Using FIRMs for mandatory purchase and floodplain management
- Current Discounts: FEMA is maintaining features to simplify the transition to Risk Rating 2.0 by offering premium discounts to eligible policyholders. This means:
- FEMA will continue to offer premium discounts for pre-FIRM subsidized and newly mapped properties
- Policyholders will still be able to transfer their discount to a new owner by assigning their flood insurance policy when their property changes ownership
- Discounts to policyholders in communities who participate in the Community Rating System will continue. Communities will continue to earn NFIP rate discounts of 5 - 45 percent based on the Community Rating System classification. However, since Risk Rating 2.0 does not use flood zones to determine flood risk, the discount will be uniformly applied to all policies throughout the participating community, regardless of whether the structure is inside or outside of the Special Flood Hazard Area
If I miss the deadline for grandfathering my Zone X rate, how can I pay less for flood insurance?
- The following actions may assist in reducing or eliminating the future need to have flood insurance:
- Use a Pre-FIRM rate: Pre-FIRM buildings can be insured using "subsidized" rates. These rates are designed to help people afford flood insurance even though their buildings were not built with flood protection in mind. For more information visit FEMA Flood Insurance
- Hire a professional land surveyor to obtain elevation certificates: This can be done for all buildings located within the property, showing that they are higher than the base flood elevation. Savings are substantial if buildings are elevated above the flood plain
- To hire a professional land surveyor visit the State of Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website. Using the drop-down menu, please select:
- License Category (Surveyors and Mappers),
- License Type (Surveyor Business or Surveyors and Mappers),
- County (Dade),
- and State (FL)
- You will obtain a complete list of surveyors or surveyor business in Miami-Dade County, with contact information and license status
- Request from FEMA a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Revision (LOMR): Hire a professional land surveyor to survey the entire property, showing that the areas and structures are higher than the base flood elevation, and apply for a LOMA or LOMR. This FEMA process, if approved, effectively removes the property from the flood plain, classifying higher areas into Zone X. For more information visit FEMA's website
My property has always been in Zone X. How come it is now in a flood zone?
- FEMA periodically updates the Flood Maps when it has been determined that the information in the maps is outdated. Basically, most changes in flood zones in the new maps are the result of better topographic surveys showing the ground elevation in more detail and a different methodology to perform coastal floodplain modeling, with the use of 2D models
How can I apply for LOMA or LOMR?
- Visit FEMA's website for instructions on how to apply for a LOMA or LOMR
- Apply online or print the forms and mail them to FEMA
I need a Tax Assessor’s Map to apply for a LOMA or LOMR. How do I get one?
- You can prepare your own map by visiting the Property Search
- First, click on the Property Search blue button
- Enter property address, owner name or folio number
- Property Information will display
What is the CRS program and what it does for me?
- The NFIP's Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted, to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS. Unincorporated Miami-Dade County participates in the CRS Program, as a Class 5 Community, which guarantees a 25 percent discount on all flood insurance premiums in flood zones and 10 percent discount on policies outside flood zones, for residents in this area
My property used to be in flood zone, but now it is in Zone X. Do I still need to buy flood insurance?
- Everybody should hold a flood insurance policy for their property, since flooding can occur outside of flood zones, due to accidental causes such as infrastructure failure. However, mortgage companies are not mandated to require flood insurance once a property is converted out of a flood zone
- You will need to contact your mortgage company and your insurance agent, to request a conversion. The documentation requirements vary, depending on the insurance agent and lender requirements
How can I get a copy of the Preliminary Flood Maps released this year?
- The new maps can be viewed in the Flood Zone Application or downloaded from the FEMA Preliminary Maps website
Where can I see a paper copy or obtain a printed copy of the current map and new preliminary flood maps?
- Miami-Dade County has paper copies of the Flood Insurance Rate Maps and the Preliminary Maps, that can be viewed at the following locations:
- RER’s Downtown Plan Review Office
701 NW 1st Court, Suite 200
Miami, FL 33136
Hours of operation:
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- RER’s West Dade Plan Review Office
11805 SW 26th Street
Miami, FL 33175
Hours of operation:
7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- RER’s Downtown Plan Review Office
- Please call the numbers above to schedule an appointment due to COVID-19 safety protocols
- A copy of the Effective and of the Preliminary Map for your property can be emailed or sent to your home if you contact the Flood Zone Hot Line at 305-372-6466
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