Property owners in the state may be in for an expensive surprise due to a federal government initiative they have probably never heard of, called the National Flood Insurance Program Map Modernization Initiative. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and county floodplain managers, are developing new floodplain maps.

If the community you live in is participating in the NFIP and if the map indicates that your property is located in a floodplain, expect to pay hundreds of dollars more per year for insurance if you have a federally insured mortgage. As with many government programs you have no choice as your lender will require the insurance.

The FEMA maps are supposed to indicate if your property is in a 100-year floodplain (a flood so severe that it occurs on average only once in 100 years). The problem is that the maps are usually constructed by a technician sitting in an office and looking at a contour map. For floodplain maps to be accurate they should be checked in the field.

A federal government that has spent itself broke is looking for more revenue; requiring more people to buy flood insurance seems like an easy way to generate more money for the government.

Property owners who believe their land has been inaccurately included in a floodplain will have to hire a licensed professional surveyor or engineer to accurately locate your property on the map and do an elevation survey. It’s not cheap, but will most likely save the property owner money in the long run compared to years of paying for flood insurance. It is important that property owners look out after their own interests as they should not rely on the government to have their best interest in mind.