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Traverse City Surveyor: Flooding, FEMA & Surveys

Traverse City Surveyor Flood Plain

Why do I need FEMA?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can help you determine your home or community’s risk of flood hazards. FEMA has old maps that indicate whether a person’s property or a portion of the property is in a flood plain. However, it won’t show if the home or other structures are in the flood plain and many, due to funding constraints, have not been recently updated and are therefore somewhat unreliable. FEMA has elected to use licensed surveyors, like Traverse City surveyors in the area to be their eyes and ears relating to the individual structures and conditions. Because of recent flooding’s on the coastal waters and river tributaries, the Federal Government is now requiring all Federally backed loans to carry flood insurance and is cracking down on the financial institutions to enforce having the insurance, protecting their investment.

The kind of map FEMA has created to help with floodplain management and mitigation is called a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). It shows such things as roads, base flood elevations, flood zones and flood plain boundaries.

A licensed Traverse City surveyor can use a FIRM and other information gathered during site visits to determine whether a structure is built on a flood plain. A “Letter of Map Amendment” (LOMA) can be prepared and submitted to FEMA to adjust the map and remove the structures that are not in the designated flood plain from the Federal requirement to carry insurance on those structures. It is still up to the lending institution and to the individual if flood insurance is still need or desired. Knowing whether your residence is several feet higher than the flood plain or if it is right in the hazardous area will help you decide your risk and make informed decisions about flood insurance. This information may also be extremely important if you are considering purchasing a property near a known flood plain.

Why do I need flood insurance if I’m 10 feet above the lake?

Certain weather patterns increase the risk of flooding so being 10 feet above a lake – or a short distance from a levee – might not eliminate the risk of flood damage. Spring flooding is in the news every year and is usually caused by heavy rain, rapidly melting snow or ice jams.

It is important to know the risk you face on your property so you can adequately prepare during flood season, especially since many flood insurance policies have a waiting period before you are covered.

How much could a flood cost me?

It does not take deep floodwater to cause a lot of damage. Just a few inches of flood water can be very costly. FEMA has this interactive tool to help you determine what the damage from floodwaters could cost you inch by inch:

Land surveying and flood insurance

Your mortgage lender may require you purchase flood insurance. For some homeowners in communities known to be at risk, the federal government has made purchasing flood insurance mandatory. If you know you are near a lake or another body of water you may want to purchase flood insurance to ensure you are protected in the event of a natural disaster because regular home owner policies typically exclude flood coverage.

Knowing for certain how high your home sits above the base flood elevation can impact the rates you will have to pay for insurance coverage.

Surveyor David Heydlauff has been offering exceptional surveying and mapping services for the Antrim, Benzie, Kalkaska, Wexford, Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Manistee Counties of Northern Michigan since 1975. Contact Traverse City surveyor David Heydlauff today for a no-cost estimate.


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