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The City realizes the question most people will want answered is, “What impact could this study have on me?”  One of the most significant potential impacts will relate to Flood Insurance – "Who will be required to purchase it and what will it cost?"  While the City is involved in regulating many floodplain issues, the City does not sell flood insurance, nor is City staff trained to be able to determine flood insurance rates.  The City’s role in flood insurance rates is limited to participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Community Rating System (CRS).

The City’s participation in the NFIP allows residents and businesses to purchase federally backed flood insurance.  The City’s participation in the CRS provides residents a discount when they purchase their flood insurance.  For more information on the City’s participation in the NFIP and the CRS see the City’s Flood & Floodplain Information page.

To help answer flood insurance questions the City has contracted with Gail Moldovan-Trujillo of Hagan Hamilton Insurance.  As a result, the flood insurance information provided on this website was provided by Hagan Hamilton Insurance.  Hagan Hamilton Insurance was selected because of Gail’s experience in the floodplain insurance field.

The City’s use of Hagan Hamilton Insurance to provide this information should not be confused as the City’s endorsement of a specific insurance company.  The City is not encouraging, or discouraging, you to purchase insurance from a specific company or agent.  There are likely many qualified flood insurance agencies.  However, flood insurance can be complicated and regulations change over time.  So if you are looking for a floodplain insurance agent there are several questions you may want to ask to make sure your agent is knowledgeable in current floodplain insurance issues.  Click here for a list of these questions as compiled by Hagan Hamilton Insurance.

Flood Insurance Rate Maps

Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) were first created for the Albany area in 1985.  In 2010, FEMA updated these maps to Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMS).  DFIRMS are the current mapping tool for determining flood insurance requirements.  Once FEMA adopts the new maps reflecting the results of the North Albany Floodplain Study, map changes could have flood insurance implications on impacted properties.

Potential Impacts of Map Amendments

The Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) is the term FEMA and flood insurance agents use to describe the area subject to inundation during the Base Flood (100-year Flood, see Definitions).  The Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is the computed elevation to which floodwater is anticipated to rise during the Base Flood (100-year flood).  For parcels in the Special Flood Hazard Area, the relationship between the BFE and a structure’s elevation determines the flood insurance premium.

Your property could fall into one of four categories:  

  1. No change
  2. Removed from mapped flood area 
  3. Added to mapped flood area 
  4. Remains in the mapped flood area but the study shows changes in the amount of flooding on the property; either increase (higher or deeper water level) or decrease (lower water level).

The following list provides a general summary of the insurance requirements/options for those properties within these four categories. Included in that discussion are step-by-step instructions to minimize your insurance premiums.

Click on each of the categories
for more discussion about each of these property situations:

No Change

Ask your insurance agent if an elevation certificate or mitigation measures could reduce your premium.

Property Removed

  • Provide your Lender/Bank with copy of Map revision from the City.
  • Bank can write letter of release to be provided to your insurance agent with request to cancel your policy. 
  • Consider purchasing a Perferred Flood policy at reduced premiums as over 20% of flood claims are paid in low risk flood zones.

Property Added

  • Your Lender will require you to protect your home from the risk of flooding through the purchase of flood insurance. 
  • After the first year, your policy will roll into special rates set up specifically for homes that have been mapped into or added to a special flood hazard area.

Change in Elevations

  • Your current policy will not change unless it is canceled or there is a gap in coverage.  As long as you maintain continuous coverage now and into the future, you will be under FEMA's grandfathering rules which let you lock in the prior base flood elevations for rate calculations. 
  • If your BFE is lowered for your property location, obtaining an elevation certificate could benefit you and lower your rates. 
  • If you sell your property, transferring your current flood policy is the best way to lock in countinuous coverage.

In general, by following the recommendations on this website, only properties being added to the SFHA should experience additional costs.  Click the link above to learn how to minimize those costs.  And remember, it is always best to contact your insurance agent to review your specific circumstances.

Timing

The right time to purchase flood insurance may be different between property owners.  Talk with your insurance agent to determine the best approach for your situation.  Those that want to get immediate protection for their investment can purchase insurance at any time.  At this time there are provisions to get a preferred policy (if purchased within the first year after the new maps become effective) and provisions for grandfathering but rates can change. 

Remember, until FEMA publishes the final map changes, purchasing flood insurance is at your option.  If you want flood insurance for your peace of mind you can purchase it at any time and still qualify for the preferred rates up until one year after the changed flood maps become effective.   However, there is a 30-day waiting period from the time the application is completed and money accepted.  Under the Federal flood program there are no monthly or quarterly payment options on flood policies.  They must be paid in full at the time of issuance.

Change in Ownership of Property

If you currently have a flood insurance policy, the base flood elevation in your policy is “grandfathered” for the new owner as long as you transfer your policy to the new owner. If a property ownership changes hands during the preferred rate policy policy-year, the new owner is granted the remainder of the preferred rate policy.  If there is no flood insurance policy in force prior to the date new maps become final, then the new owner will be subject to the new base flood elevations. If you are considering selling your home we suggest you discuss this option with your real estate agent.