We have assembeld the following important information from FEMA.GOV including information below on obtaining an eLOMA.
"100-year flood" and the Base Flood Elevation (BFE)
The term "100-year flood" is misleading. It is not the flood that will occur once every 100 years. Rather, it is the flood that has a 1-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded each year. Thus, the 100-year flood could occur more than once in a relatively short period of time or even within the same month. Because this term is misleading, FEMA has also defined it as the "1-percent-annual-chance flood." The "1-percent-annual-chance flood" is the term that is now used by most federal and state agencies and by the National Flood Insurance Program. The base flood, which is the standard used by most Federal and State agencies, is used by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as the standard for floodplain management and to determine the need for flood insurance.
The Base Flood Elevation, or BFE, is the height of the base (1-percent-annual-chance) flood, usually in feet, or average depth of the base flood, usually in feet, above the ground surface.
Flood Insurance Rates
Flood insurance rates are dependent on a number of factors, including the age of the structure, degree of flood risk and other considerations. The difference between the elevation of the lowest floor (including the basement) of a structure and the elevation of the 1-percent-annual-chance flood is one of many factors used to determine the insurance rating. Please visit FloodSmart.gov for more information about flood insurance rates and to obtain other useful information.
Many flood insurance related questions may be answered by visiting FloodSmart.gov. You may use the tools under the Insurance Center to determine policy coverage, estimate rates and find an agent in your area.
Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)
The maps that show the flood risks for U.S. communities are officially called Flood Insurance Rate Maps, or FIRMs. Created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for floodplain management and insurance rating purposes, FIRMs generally show a community’s flood zones, Base Flood Elevations (BFEs), and floodplain boundaries, all of which provide an indication of the risk of flooding. FIRMs designate high-risk areas, those with a 1 percent or higher annual risk of experiencing a flood, and moderate to low risk areas, where the risk of flooding is less than 1 percent per year. Flood insurance premiums are based on the degree of flood risk.
Communities use FIRMs to manage floodplains and develop sound building ordinances. Mortgage lenders use FIRMs to help determine a property’s flood risk and decide whether flood insurance will be required as a condition for a loan. Insurance professionals use FIRMs in the rating process that determines a property’s flood insurance premium.
Areas of moderate to low risk are shown as zones labeled B, C, or X on a FIRM. High-risk areas are shown as zones beginning with the letters A or V. Areas of undetermined risk are shown with the letter D.
If your building is in a high-risk area, also called a Special Flood Hazard Area, or SFHA, you will likely pay a higher flood insurance premium than someone in a moderate to low risk area. The exact amount you pay depends on a number of factors, including the elevation of the building itself. In a high-risk area, your insurance premium will also depend on when your building was constructed in relation to the date of the FIRM. Some buildings constructed before the community’s first FIRM, called pre-FIRM, are eligible for subsidized premium rates that are determined with limited underwriting information.
Pre-FIRM and Post-FIRM Buildings
Buildings constructed on or before December 31, 1974 or before the effective date of the initial Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for a community, whichever is later, are considered Pre-FIRM and an elevation certification is not required for flood insurance. The reasoning behind this is that a dwelling should not be held to an elevation standard that had not yet been established when it was constructed. However, if the Pre-FIRM building is at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) established after its construction, then it can qualify for Post-FIRM rating. Pre-FIRM rates are fixed by zone (as well, as if a basement/enclosed area under elevated floor) and assume the lowest floor of the building may not be at or above the expected level of flooding.
Post-FIRM buildings (i.e., buildings constructed on or after the date of the first effective FIRM in effect for the community) must be rated using an Elevation Certificate, unless eligible for grandfathering, for most Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), the area subject to inundation by the base (1-percent-annual-chance) flood). If the lowest floor of a building constructed Post-FIRM is at/above the BFE, then appropriate rates are applied. These rates are often lower, in general, than the Pre-FIRM rates because the risk is known and the rating can be based on actuarial flood data.
For a Pre-FIRM building, the property owner may acquire an Elevation Certificate. If the Elevation Certificate indicates that the lowest floor of the building is above the BFE, then it is possible that the insurance premium can be reduced, based on the Elevation Certificate.
Lender Review and FEMA Determination
The result you see after using the risk tool on FloodSmart.gov is not an official FEMA determination. That determination is based on the structure's physical address and may not reflect how your property is shown on the effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for your community. For virtually every mortgage transaction involving a structure in the United States, a lender reviews the currently effective FIRM for the community in which the property is located to determine its location relative to the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), the area subject to inundation by the base (1-percent-annual-chance) flood.
In some cases, a lender determines that a property is in a SFHA shown on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) but the property owner disagrees with that determination. If a property owner thinks their property has been inadvertently mapped in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), they may submit a request to FEMA for a Letter of Map Change (LOMC). Property owners in this situation may apply for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or a Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-F). If the LOMC request is granted, property owners may be eligible for lower flood insurance premiums or the option to not purchase flood insurance. If the LOMA or LOMR-F removes the SFHA designation from the property, it can then be presented to the lender as proof that there is no federal flood insurance requirement for the property.
Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA)
If a structure is located on natural ground that is higher than the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) shown on the FIRM, then a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) should be requested. In support of the request, a surveyor must determine the elevation of the lowest ground next to the structure. If the ground is higher than the BFE, then FEMA will issue a LOMA to remove the structure from the SFHA.
There are three methods for submitting a LOMA request to FEMA:
- The first method is for the homeowner to submit either a MT-EZ (for LOMAs) or MT-1 (for LOMR-Fs) application. Upon receiving a completed MT-EZ or MT-1 application, FEMA reviews property-specific information (including surveyed elevation data, typically the elevation of the lowest adjacent grade of the structure in question, provided by a Licensed Land Surveyor Note: the homeowner may be required to hire a land surveyor to perform this elevation survey, if this data is not readily available) and makes a final flood zone determination for the property. Once an application and all necessary data are received, the determination is normally issued within 30 to 60 days.
- The second method is for the homeowner to use the online LOMC tool (it is available to any applicant who would like to submit a LOMC request directly to FEMA and does not require a surveyor or engineer to submit). All types of LOMC requests may be processed through the Online LOMC tool and applicants may check the status of their application at any time. A determination resulting from information submitted via Online LOMC is not received until after FEMA reviews the supporting documentation and receives payment (if required). This process may take up to 60 days for amendment applications and up to 90 days for revision applications.
- The fastest method is for a Professional Land Surveyor or Professional Engineer to submit an eLOMA on behalf of the homeowner. The eLOMA tool is a web-based application that provides Professional Land Surveyors and Professional Engineers with a system to submit LOMA requests that are not considered to be within a coastal zone (Zone V), an alluvial fan, or modified by fill to raise the elevation of the structure to FEMA. The eLOMA tool is designed specifically to generate a determination from FEMA within minutes of submitting required information and data for the request.
eLOMA Order Process
Step 1) Complete the form below to request a free quote.
Step 2) An email will be sent when we review your completed form. We will provide you instructions for making payment and scheduling access to the building for the field survey.
Step 3) Be at the building at the scheduled appointment time, prepared to provide access to the first floor, basement and any crawlspaces.
Step 4) Receive notice from us on the status of your eLOMA request. If FEMA accepts your request, we will mail you three (3) copies of your eLOMA determination. Clients typically receive their eLOMA determination within seven to ten (7 - 10) days of the scheduled field work on site.
To request a free quote for an eLOMA, please complete the form below or contact us at