For most of property owners who purchased their property prior to 1973 and plan to refinance, they should first check and obtain flood zone information for their property and take it into careful consideration. The floodplains were not subjected to flood insurance prior to the creation of the National Flood Insurance Program. Refinancing today would prompt a mortgage lender to verify flood insurance information; and if your real property is in an applicable floodplain or Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as determined by FEMA, mortgage lenders are required to impose flood insurance on your real property.
In some cases, a lender determines that a property is in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), however the property owner disagrees. One option is to verify your flood zone information at FEMA’s Map Service Center web site (see Are You in a Flood Zone? to obtain five pertinent pieces of information from the map: community number, map number, panel number, flood zone area applicable to your property, date map was revised, and a printed copy of the FIRMette of your property. If your property is not in a floodplain or SFHA, send a letter of dispute with these pieces of information to your lender. If your property is in a floodplain or SFHA, and you want to challenge FEMA's determination, see "Options A Property Owner Has To Potentially Remove The Flood Insurance Requirement."
Lending institutions use the FIRMs to make flood zone determinations and decide whether flood insurance is required. These institutions may or may not accept a determination made by representatives of the County of Orange. FEMA has established a list of companies that it considers to be qualified to make officially sanctioned determinations. This list is published on the FEMA web site.
Making Orange County a safe, healthy, and fulfilling place to live, work, and play, today and for generations to come, by providing outstanding, cost-effective regional public services.
You Are Now Leaving the County of Orange Official Portal