FEMA Meeting in Phelan – Flood Insurance Maps Updated But Challenged By County – Types of Coverage

FEMA Meeting in Phelan – Flood Insurance Maps Updated But Challenged By County – Types of Coverage

FEMA Meeting

(Best Syndication News) We attended the special FEMA flood control meeting on Wednesday at the Phelan Community Center (Watch the complete video below). Recently FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) completed a study of the Sheep Creek wash and Phelan flood plain (See Contested Map Below).

A contractor working for the agency completed some maps of the flood plain and those maps were distributed to county authorities. Michael Fox (Chief Water Resources Division) and Kevin Blakenslee (Assistant Director – Project Development) noticed some errors with those maps. Those errors would affect the flood rates of residents in the Phelan area.

Flood Insurance Overview

If your house is paid for, you may purchase flood insurance if you want. If you took out a loan on your house and you live in a flood plain, your lender may require you to purchase a policy. Your rates are determined by your location in the flood plain and the risk to your house.

Flood insurance is purchased through your local insurance agent, but is underwritten by the Federal Government. Most of the time rates are straight forward and easy to calculate. You pay the insurance broker and they take their cut and give the rest to the National Flood Insurance Program. The commissions are standard and the prices are set by law.

Types of Flood Zones

Zone B, C, and X: There are portions of Phelan located in a X-zone. Those residents will not be required to buy insurance. If they do opt to purchase a policy, the rates are relatively low. You can get a policy with coverage up to $250,000 for as little as $348 per year. Low Cost

Zone A and AO: Both A and AO zones are located in Phelan. Those rates are more difficult to compute and are typically much higher than the rates in the X zone. High Cost Usually

Zone D:This risk to homes in this zone is “undetermined”. For that reason the rates are very high. No one knows what the risk is, so the insurer opts for the worst case scenario. High Cost

The Mistake on the Flood Map

County employees discovered a mistake on the map. An area of the map labeled “A” should have been labeled “X”. This could cost property owners double the premium amount.

The County brought the mistake to the attention of FEMA hoping to get it corrected. FEMA could not verify the mistake and will commission another study to clarify the discrepancy. That study will take a year.

So What Happens To The Property Owners?

It is uncertain whether that contested area (see the map) will become a zone x or a. FEMA will be releasing the disputed map on August 28th. Up until that day residents can purchase flood insurance at “x” zone rates.

Currently the disputed area is in a zone “X” location. This means you are not required to purchase flood insurance. The FEMA representative, Jana Critchfield, said that if those residents decide to purchase insurance before August 28th 2008, they can be grandfathered in at zone X premiums for life. Even if the year-long study finds you are in a zone “a” area, you will still only be charged zone “x” rates. If the study determines you are in a zone "x" area, then you can decide whether you want to keep your coverage. Lenders do not require coverage for X-zones.

What The County Did

The county did a good job looking out for the interests of the community. If they didn’t catch the mistake, all of the residents in the affected area (those with mortgages) would be paying for flood insurance at “A” rates.

Michael Fox says the county sent notices out to the public concerning the situation and notified them of the FEMA meeting.

By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication News Writer



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