Many homeowners may have recently received a notice from their mortgage lenders requiring them to purchase flood insurance. The information provided within this section contains the process under FEMA to confirm your flood status and the process in which to remove your home from the flood insurance requirement if applicable.
Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) and Letter of Map Revision – Based on Fill (LOMR-F)
The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Map Information eXchange (FMIX) offers a Live Chat service, which allows stakeholders to interact with Map Specialists in real-time via an online forum. To chat with a Map Specialist, please visit the FMIX page. You can also reach the FMIX by telephone at 877-FEMA-MAP (877 - 336 - 2627). The FMIX is open Monday - Friday 8:00am to 6:30pm Eastern Standard Time (EST).
Overview of Maps and Map Change Processes for Properties
As part of its administration of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the FEMA publishes flood hazard maps, called Flood Insurance Rate Maps, or FIRMs. The purpose of a FIRM is to show the areas in a community that are subject to flooding and the risk associated with these flood hazards. One of the areas shown on the FIRM is a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). The SFHA is the area that has a 1% or greater chance of flooding in any given year; this area is also referred to by some as the 1% annual-chance floodplain, base floodplain, or the 100-year floodplain. The flood hazard and risk information presented on the FIRMs is the result of engineering studies that are performed by engineering companies, other Federal agencies, or communities, which are reviewed for compliance with FEMA guidelines and approved by FEMA.
FEMA uses the most accurate flood hazard information available and applies rigorous standards in developing the FIRMs. However, because of limitations of scale or topographic definition of the source maps used to prepare a FIRM, small areas may be inadvertently shown within an SFHA on a FIRM even though the property (legally defined parcel(s) of land, structure[s]) is on natural ground and is at or above the elevation of the I-percent-actual-chance flood. This elevation is most commonly referred to as the Base Flood Elevation, or BFE. Such cases are referred to as “inadvertent inclusions”.
For other small areas, earthen fill may have been placed during construction, thereby elevating a small area within the SFHA to an elevation that is at or above the BFE. This construction may have taken place during the time the engineering study was being performed or subsequent to that study. Because of the limited extent of the elevated area and the limitations of the map scale, it may not have been possible for FEMA to show this area as being outside the SFHA and so these areas have been incorrectly included in the SFHA on the FIRM.
Recognizing that these situations do occur, FEMA established administrative procedures to change the designation for these properties on the FIRM. These processes are referred to as the Letter of Map Amendment, or LOMA, process and the Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill, or LOMR-F, process. Through these processes, an individual who owns, rents, or leases property may submit certain mapping and survey information to FEMA and request that FEMA issue a document that officially removes a property and/or structure from the SFHA. In most cases, the applicant will need to hire a Licensed Land Surveyor or Registered Professional Engineer to prepare an Elevation Certificate for the property. Upon receiving a complete application forms package, FEMA will normally complete its review and issue its determination in 4 to 6 weeks.
The regulatory requirements for the LOMA process are documented in Part 70 of the NFIP regulations. The regulatory requirements for the I.OMR-F process are documented in Part 65 of the NFIP regulations. Individuals who are interested in reviewing these regulations may view or download them from the Guidance Documents and Other Published Resources page of the FEMA Website.
FEMA has prepared guidance documents to assist citizens with their LOMA and LOMR-F applications and submittals:
The MT-EZ Form is to be used for LOMA requests involving a single residential lot or structure.
The MT-1 Forms package is to be used for LOMA requests involving multiple residential lots or structures and for all LOMR-F requests.
Links to these guidance documents are provided in the "Fast Facts" section on the upper right-hand side of this page. The forms provide step-by-step instructions for requesters to follow and are comprehensive, ensuring that the requesters' submittals are complete and logically structured. Use of these forms allows FEMA to complete its review quicker and at lower cost to the NFIP. While completing the forms may seem burdensome, the advantages to the requesters outweigh any inconvenience.
LOMA Determination Requirements
LOMA Requests Involving One or More Structures: For a LOMA to be issued by FEMA to remove one or more structures from the SFHA, the NFIP regulations require that the lowest adjacent grade (the lowest ground touching the structure) be at or above the BFE.
LOMA Requests Involving One or More Lots: For a LOMA to be issued by FEMA to remove one or more entire lots from the SFHA, the NFIP regulations require that the lowest point on the lot(s) must be at or above the BFE.
Review and Processing Fee: There is no review and processing fee for the FEMA review of a LOMA request.
Required Information: The requester is responsible for providing all of the information needed for FEMA's review of the request, including elevation information certified by a Licensed Land Surveyor or Registered Professional Engineer. For a complete listing of the information that must be submitted in support of a LOMA request, please refer to the MT-EZ (for single lot/structure requests) or MT-1 application forms package.
LOMR-F Determination Requirements
LOMR-F Requests Involving One or More Structures: For a LOMR-F to be issued by FEMA to remove the structure from the SFHA, the NFIP regulations require that the lowest adjacent grade of the structure be at or above the BFE. The participating community must also determine that the land and any existing or proposed structures to be removed from the SFHA are "reasonably safe from flooding.”
LOMR-F Requests Involving One or More Lots: For a LOMR-F to be issued by FEMA to remove the entire lot and structure, both the lowest point on the lot and the lowest floor of the structure must be at or above the 1-percent-annual-chance flood elevation.
Review and Processing Fee: FEMA charges a fee for the review and processing of LOMR-F requests. A link to the current fee schedule is provided in the "Fast Facts" section on the upper right-hand side of this page.
Required Information: As with LOMA requests, the requester is responsible for providing all supporting information, including elevation information certified by a Licensed Land Surveyor or Registered Professional Engineer. For a complete listing of the information that must be submitted in support of a LOMR-F request, please refer to the MT-1 application forms package.
Using eLOMA to Expedite Simple LOMA Requests
To make submitting LOMA requests quicker and easier, FEMA created eLOMA; a web-based application within FEMA's Mapping Information Platform (MIP). eLOMA provides licensed land surveyors and professional engineers (Licensed Professionals) a system to submit simple LOMA requests to FEMA.
Note that not all LOMA requests qualify to be submitted using the eLOMA tool. At this time, only existing single residential structures or entire legally recorded properties qualify.
If all the required supporting data are submitted according to eLOMA criteria, a Licensed Professional could obtain a LOMA determination in a matter of minutes. The eLOMA process is much faster than the standard LOMA process, which historically took up to 60 days.
To ensure the accuracy of the eLOMA determinations, FEMA performs random audits of eLOMA submittals. eLOMA requests that are audited by FEMA are processed within five business days of receiving all of the required supporting data from the Licensed Professional.
Local community Floodplain Administrators may be able to assist in locating a Licensed Professional qualified to use eLOMA, to learn more about eLOMA, please view eLOMA: Electronic Letters of Map Amendment.
Effect of LOMA or LOMR-F on Flood Insurance Requirements
The issuance of a LOMA or LOMR-F eliminates the Federal flood insurance purchase requirement as a condition of Federal or federally backed financing; however, the mortgage lender retains the prerogative to require flood insurance as a condition of providing financing, regardless of the location of a structure. The purchase of a flood insurance policy is wise even if a structure is located outside the SFHA. More than 25 percent of flood claims are made by property owners located outside the SFHA. The issuance of a LOMA or LOMR-F does not mean the structure or lot is safe from all flooding; it means that the risk of flooding is not as high as it is in the SFHA. Events greater than the 1-percent-annual-chance event can and do occur. It is also important to note that the flood insurance premium rate for structures located outside the SFHA is lower than the premiums for structures located in the SFHA.
To learn more about flood insurance and receive other answers to questions about the NFIP, please visit Answers to questions about the NFIP.
To learn more about the purchase of flood insurance and the options that are available, please visit floodsmart.
For More Information
Please contact a Map Specialist in the FEMA Map Information eXchange.
Please register to receive Flood Hazard Mapping updates via e-mail.