August 24, 2007

Flooding Concerns - Flood Risk Zone & Insurance

With recent flooding news in Southern Minnesota, I decided to look into the available information about flooding in our area.  After reading a newspaper article (provided below), I found more information about Hugo and Victor Gardens flood risks.  

If you’re interested to see specific information about your home, I suggest a quick read through the article below, then click through the provided links that follow.  

This following article is reprinted from the August 24, 2007 Pioneer Press:

  1. Let's clear this up:  Almost anyone can get  flood insurance

  2. Despite misconceptions, 92% of Minnesotans eligible


  4. Pioneer Press

  5. Press

  6. Article Last Updated:08/24/2007 12:00:09 AM CDT

  7. Many people whose homes were damaged by the weekend flooding in southeastern Minnesota did not have flood insurance. Often, they said they didn't know they could get it, how to get it or even that they needed it. Here's a primer on flood insurance in Minnesota:

  8. Does homeowners insurance cover flood damage?

  9. No.

  10. How, then, can people get flood insurance?

  11. Most communities have a deal with the federal government to make it available through the National Flood Insurance Program. If those communities take steps to limit future flood damage, the government makes insurance available to residents through agents or companies. In Minnesota, 92 percent of residents are in communities that participate in that national program. Other than Hennepin and Ramsey counties, which are largely incorporated, all counties participate. Only six communities in flood-stricken Winona and Houston counties - Altura, Lewiston, Minneiska, Utica, Eitzen and Spring Grove - do not participate.

  12. How can someone find out if a community is in the National Flood Insurance Program?

  13. The Federal Emergency Management Agency list is available through local zoning offices, the FEMA Web site at or the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Web site at

  14. If a community is in the program, does a property owner or renter automatically qualify for flood insurance?

  15. Yes.

  16. Even if they live outside a flood plain?

  17. Yes.

  18. What if they live in a rural area?

  19. Then they would be covered by a participating county.

  20. How do people sign up?

  21. Many companies write national flood insurance. They are called Write Your Own (WYO) insurers. If a company isn't in a WYO program, it can still write the insurance through the national program.

  22. How much does flood insurance cost? What does it cover?

  23. The average annual premium is $300, but it can be higher or lower depending on the amount of coverage and the flood risk in the particular community. Because there are different policies for structures and for contents within structures, people should ask about contents insurance. Damage from mudslides is included.

  24. What is a flood plain?

  25. For the purposes of state and federal flooding policies, a flood plain is land next to lakes or rivers that's covered by a "100-year'' flood, meaning there's at least a 1 percent chance of flooding in any given year.

  26. If someone lives in a flood plain, are they required to have flood insurance?

  27. Flood insurance is required of anyone living in a mapped 100-year flood plain and seeking a federally insured loan. If they live outside a flood plain, it's optional.

  28. How can someone find out if property is in a flood plain?

  29. Check with local building or zoning officials, or go to FEMA's map service center, Ask for FEMA's "Flood Insurance Rate Map" or "Flood Hazard Boundary Map.''

  30. If people don't live in a mapped 100-year flood plain, why should they get flood insurance?

  31. They don't have to get flood insurance. But they are accepting a risk. Catastrophic events, such as last weekend's 15-inch rainfall, happen.

  32. Many southeastern Minnesota residents have said they weren't able to get flood insurance. Why are they saying that?

  33. There could be several reasons. They may have been given incorrect information. Or they may not have asked a key follow-up question. Or they may have failed to ask the correct question.

  34. What will President Bush's disaster declaration mean for flood insurance?

  35. Anyone living in a mapped 100-year flood plain who receives federal assistance will have to buy flood insurance as a condition of getting that help.

  36. Won't disaster assistance pay for damages?

  37. No. It only offers loans to help cover uninsured flood damage. It doesn't compensate people for their losses.

I found some very general info by searching through the official government website:   

On the other hand, I found more detail about our property by searching the FEMA website.  It determined that our risk was “Moderate to Low” You can learn more about your property by following the steps below.  Once you know a few key facts, you can determine your flood risk zone. 

  1. Step 1:  Determine the legal description of your lot. This info can be found on your Certificate of Survey or Lot Sketch. For example: Lot 8, Block 2, Victor Gardens East.

  2. Step 2:  Look up the Flood Zone Map for your area (see below): Click here to view the PDF: Flood Insurance Rate Map- Community Panel # 2705040010C  The map is old (1982), but it’s the important one that relates to our zone.

  3. Step 3: Look for the Letter of Map Changes (LOMC) that relates to your lot’s legal description and the Map Panel 2705040010C. Click here for FEMA’s Map Service Center     Follow these steps:         a. Click on the “How do I find a LOMC” link         b. Click on “Find a LOMC by Map Panel ID” link         c. Enter the Map Panel ID Number 2705040010C into the search field         d. Click on the “Show LOMC” link         e. Look through the PDF’s in the list to find the most recent information about your lot.   I suggest starting with the latest first.  I found ours in the 5/24/07 document.

Although flood insurance is not mandatory in our zone, according to the Pioneer Press article, it should be available to those who want it.  It should also be noted that the City of Hugo participates in the National Flood Insurance Program.