The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) determines the floodplain maps that lead to the requirement to purchase flood insurance, and only FEMA can exempt property owners from purchasing flood insurance.
However, the City of Dearborn has been actively working with FEMA to ensure that all Dearborn properties potentially affected by floodplain maps are thoroughly reviewed.
This is important because FEMA recently published new floodplain maps (see link in box, above) establishing the boundaries of Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA). The new maps took effect Feb. 2, 2012.
Ecorse Creek Floodplain Changes
Dearborn residents and property owners within the Ecorse Creek floodplain need to be aware of recent actions by FEMA that affect requirements for the purchase of flood insurance.
The Ecorse Creek Floodplain properties are generally bounded by Parker, Whitmore, Outer Drive, Pelham and Dartmouth in southwest Dearborn. (See this unofficial Google map for reference purposes only.)
FEMA’s recent actions have created three groups of property owners in the affected area of Ecorse Creek:
- Property owners who were previously exempt from the mandate of purchasing flood insurance following the publication of a 1996 floodplain map, and are once again exempt from the mandate of purchasing flood insurance following the publication of a 2012 floodplain map.
- Property owners who were mandated to purchase flood insurance following the publication of the 1996 floodplain map and will once again be mandated to purchase flood insurance in 2012.
- Property owners who received exemptions after the publication of the 1996 floodplain map, but now are required to buy flood insurance based on the 2012 floodplain map.
Flood Insurance Exemption
Residents should know there is a process that allows property owners to be exempt from purchasing flood insurance even if their property appears within a FEMA floodplain.
In the past, many homes were exempted through Letters of Map Amendments (LOMAs), issued by FEMA. Those LOMAs expired on Feb. 2, 2012 when the previous flood control map expired.
From 2000 to 2011, FEMA issued 1,392 LOMAs to property owners in Dearborn whose homes fell within the old flood control maps. FEMA recently revalidated and reissued most of the LOMAs, once again exempting property from the mandatory need to buy flood insurance.
However, about 246 of the 1,392 homes no longer have valid LOMAs and are required to purchase flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
All property owners will need to check the two revalidation documents on this page (see box, above) to confirm whether or not flood insurance is required for their home in 2012. These documents are dated Feb. 17, 2012 and March 20, 2012.
If your address appears on either document, you are not required to buy flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program.
Yet, FEMA recommends that exempt properties still have flood insurance since they remain within a designated floodplain. A cheaper flood insurance rate may be available for properties that are within the SFHA yet are exempt from mandatory flood insurance requirements. Flood insurance can protect homeowners from significant losses.
If your property is located within the floodplain but your address does not appear on either revalidation document, you should contact FEMA at 1-877-336-2627.
FEMA has either 1) determined that the lowest adjacent grade for your property is below the new base flood water elevation and flood insurance is required, or 2) FEMA does not have adequate data for your property and you should contact the agency at 1-877-336-2627 for further direction.
And, if you were not exempt from buying the flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program before Feb. 2, 2012, you should assume that you are not exempt from buying flood insurance now.
FEMA’s new 2012 flood maps also affect those living in the Rouge River floodplain. Property owners along the Rouge should consult the official FEMA maps on this page.
Questions? Contact FEMA
Residents who have questions about the flood insurance requirements may contact FEMA at 1-877-336-2627. Residents may also want to visit FEMA’s website at www.FEMA.gov for more information on the flood insurance requirements and the procedure to submit an application for a new LOMA.