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The Biggert-Waters 2012 National Flood Insurance Program Reform Act Implementation
The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, passed by the U.S. Congress, calls on FEMA and other agencies to make a number of changes to the way the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is run, some of which are already in effect.
Key provisions of the legislation will require the NFIP to raise rates to reflect true flood risk, make the program more financially stable and change how Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) updates affect policyholders.
The changes will mean premium rate increases for some — but not all — policyholders over time.
Homeowners and business owners are encouraged to learn their flood risk and talk to their insurance agent to determine if their policy will be affected by the Act.
- Read the FEMA FAQ
- Read more about the Flood Insurance Reform Act
- Read an outline of the rate increases
- Get an estimate of your flood insurance policy cost
Flood insurance is required for any federally backed mortgage in a special flood hazard area.
Because of drainage improvements funded through the Miami-Dade Stormwater Utility, and other enhancements to the community services provided by Miami-Dade County, effective October 1, 2003 a 25% discount is included in the rate to those residents in unincorporated Miami-Dade who are in a flood zone and purchase flood insurance policies. A 10% discount is also available for those outside of flood zones, with the exception of Preferred Risk policies.
The amounts of flood insurance that are available through the National Flood Insurance Program as of March 1, 1995 are as follows:
National Flood Insurance
|Building Types||Amount Available|
|All other residential||$250,000|
Please note that when purchasing flood insurance, the policy is not in effect until 30 days after purchase.
Reducing the Cost of Flood Insurance
The most recent FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) became effective in 2009. If you don't agree with your flood zone designation or if you missed the deadline for grandfathering your Zone X rate, 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.
- 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 may be substantial if buildings are elevated above the flood plain.
- Request a Map Amendment or Map Revision from FEMA: 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 Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Revision (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.
To apply for a LOMA or LOMR, you will need a tax assessor's map. You can prepare your own map by visiting Miami-Dade County's Property Appraiser. First, click on the green button and select property information in the drop down menu, filling in your property address, owner name or folio number.
To find a professional land surveyor, visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website. You can search by city, name, type of license (business or individual) and License number. For example, to obtain a list of surveyor businesses in Miami, you choose "LB" in the Program and type "Miami" in the City in the dialog boxes.
To download a copy of your LOMC, LOMA or LOMR, visit the FEMA website then enter your address in the search box.
Note: Online viewing is only available for LOMCs in digital form. FEMA's Map Service Center (MSC) has digital LOMCs since June 1, 1997. For a listing of LOMCs older than June 1, 1997, call the MSC at 877-336-2627 or Miami-Dade County's Stormwater Utility Planning Division at 305-372-6466. Note that most of the older LOMCs were incorporated in the current FEMA Maps, effective since September 11, 2009.
If you are having difficulties locating your LOMC, LOMA or LOMR, please call the Flood Zone Hotline at 305-372-6466.
Community Rating System
The National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) 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, homeowners benefit from a significant discount on their flood insurance premium, because rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions to meet CRS goals.
Unincorporated Miami-Dade County participates in the CRS Program and has achieved a Class 5 Community rating, which guarantees a 25% discount on all flood insurance premiums in flood zones and 10% discount on policies outside flood zones, for residents in this area.
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