Flood insurance: What to know

  • Updated: July 28, 2012 - 8:52 PM
Can a lender obtain flood insurance for your house without your permission? Yes. Federal law requires flood insurance for homes with a federally regulated mortgage in a so-called Special Flood Hazard Area, where the risk of flooding is at least 1 percent in a given year. Nationwide, about 5 percent of homes are within an SFHA. In individual cases, some lenders reserve the right to require flood insurance regardless of flood risk.

How to challenge your flood determination: Contact city or county officials and find out who handles environmental or land-use issues. For a small fee, you could get a document showing the proper elevation of your house, which you can present to your lender. Some banks require official action from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which can exempt certain properties from high-risk areas through a process known as a Letter of Map Amendment. For details, visit www.startribune.com/a1572.

How to get affordable flood insurance: Don't let your lender buy it for you. Anyone can obtain subsidized flood insurance from the government by going through an insurance agent. For details, visit www.startribune.com/a1573.

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