Stuart Durland January 1, 2010 2 Comments

Recently, a client visited our office very upset with their mortgage company.  After living in the same house for 45 years, they got a notice that said their house was located in a Flood Zone and they were now required to have flood insurance, even though their property had never flooded, and they never needed it before.

Based on their flood zone and the amount of insurance the mortgage company was requiring, the flood insurance premium was going to be over $2,000 per year.  This was just not something they could afford.  Plus, they only had 5 years left on their mortgage; yet the bank insisted they be covered for full replacement cost.

They considered getting a surveyor to do an elevation certificate to show their house was on a hill and not in the “flood zone” but the cost of that was going to be $1,500, with no guarantee that they still wouldn’t have to buy flood insurance!

Being in the insurance industry for 2 two decades, I thought there has got to be something we can do to help this family.  This is what we as Independent Agents are good at: problem solving.  So I made some calls and did some research and found a website called  They offered a flood zone dispute package for $24.95.  I quickly called the insured to ask if this was something they would be interested in trying, and of course they were.  I stepped through the process with them, and within 2 hours, I had a package back that determined that the house was NOT in a flood zone.  In addition, the property itself was not in a flood zone at all.  They included a map showing where the flood zone was and where the house was situated.   We submitted this to the mortgage company for the insured, and within a week, they received a letter that flood insurance was no longer required.

The insured was ecstatic and so was I.  This is the part of my job that we love; being able to help people solve our clients’ insurance problems is one of the reasons I got into the insurance industry to begin with.

Will the outcome always be a positive one?  Maybe not, but at least we know that there is an option.  Never just settle with what your mortgage company says you need.  Don’t be afraid to do a little research, and definitely get your agent involved.  We may be able to help you more that you thought!



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  1. Please note that companies like do not provide an official determination. On the new FEMA maps, it is easy to determine whether a structure is in the flood zone or not, and for those that are close, a survey is the only true determination. I have personally seen an output by such a company that stated that the property was not in the flood zone due to the location of the mailbox, which was along the road while the house itself was downhill down a long driveway next to the stream.

    • Hi Bill, Thank you for your input. It is true that the determination is not official. However, for less than $30 they provide a pretty detailed report that shows exactly where the house sits on the property and provides information that a mortgage company can use to determine whether flood insurance is truly needed or not. In this case the mortgage company agreed with the report and felt the house itself, based on the report, was not in the flood zone. I had another case recently that the report advised they were indeed in a flood zone. While it may not be as official as a survey it certainly can be a helpful tool for the client.

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