National Flood Insurance Program
Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) due to escalating costs to taxpayers for flood disaster relief. The NFIP is based on the agreement that if a community practices sound floodplain management, the Federal Government will make flood insurance available to residents of that community. Flood insurance is required whenever a property is purchased with a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender.
Flood Insurance Maps
As part of its administration of the NFIP, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (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-percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year; this area is also referred to by some as the 1-percent-annual chance floodplain, the base floodplain, or the 100-year floodplain. The flood hazard and risk information presented on the FIRMs is the result of studies that are performed by engineering companies, other Federal agencies, or communities, which are reviewed for compliance with FEMA guidelines and approved by FEMA. The information found on FIRMs determines whether a property requires flood insurance, and the degree to which it is at risk of flooding.
New Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs)
In July 2010 FEMA issued updated digital flood hazard maps that show the extent to which areas throughout Montgomery County are at risk for flooding. These maps mark the first time in 14 years that a comprehensive re-examination of Montgomery County flood zones has been conducted, and are part of a larger effort to modernize the nation's aging flood maps to reflect the most current flood risks. The new maps are the result of an extensive, multi-year study of Montgomery County's floodplains completed by Temple University and AMEC Engineering, incorporating state-of-the-art technology and risk modeling techniques. The new FIRMs [pdf] are preliminary and have not yet been officially adopted by FEMA. Below is an inset of that map showing Springfield. Locate the blue numbered box that includes the location of your property and click on the hyperlink at right (the numbers following "42091C" as outlined in blue on the map).
FEMA FIRM Maps
- 0289G [pdf, ~250k]
- 0359G [pdf, ~250k]
- 0376G [pdf, ~250k]
- 0377G [pdf, ~250k] (Updated 6/25/2012)
- 0381G [pdf, ~250k] (Updated 6/25/2012)
- 0379G [pdf, ~250k]
- 0381G [pdf, ~250k]
Maps with Aerial Views
JPEG images of the maps w/aerial views
Aerial Study Maps
Springfield Township has also obtained copies of the study maps which serve as the basis for the new FIRMs. While these maps are not official documents (and will not be adopted by FEMA), they are helpful in visualizing the extent to which a property may be affected by the new FIRMs because they include aerial photographs with overlays of local flood elevations and flood zone overlays. These maps are available for download above in either pdf or jpg format. Electronic copies are also available for review at the Free Library of Springfield Township, 1600 Paper Mill Road, Wyndmoor.
Floodplain Determination Appeals
If your property is located in a high risk flood zone that requires flood insurance, or if the new FIRMs will change your flood hazard risk zone and you have evidence to dispute the determination, you may request a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) from FEMA. To obtain a LOMA the requester must complete the LOMA application. Please note that in order for a LOMA to be issued removing a structure from the special flood hazard area, Federal regulations require the lowest adjacent grade to be at or above the base floodplain elevation. There is no fee for FEMA's review of a LOMA request, but the requester must provide all of the information required to complete FEMA's review, including an elevation certificate prepared by a licensed surveyor.
Benefits of Flood Insurance
Even if your home has never experienced flood damage it is a good idea to consider purchasing flood insurance. Consider the following:
- Flooding is the most costly natural disaster in Montgomery County, and #1 natural disaster in the country.
- Every home is at risk for some level of flooding, which can be caused by heavy rain, seasonal storms, or poor drainage systems.
- In high-risk flood areas, 1-in-4 homes will experience flood damages during a 30-year mortgage term.
- Nearly 25% of all flood claims are filed by people living in moderate-to-low risk flood areas.
Flood insurance can be purchased from any licensed property insurance agent or broker who is in good standing with the Commonwealth. Visit www.floodsmart.gov to find an agent near you.