Elevation certificates and homes "outside" the floodplain
If an elevation certificate shows that the dirt around your home’s foundation is higher than the projected 100-year flood then you are eligible to apply to FEMA for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). A LOMA establishes a property's location in relation to the 100-year floodplain. LOMAs are usually issued because a property has been inadvertently mapped as being inside the floodplain, but is actually on natural high ground above the base flood elevation.
If FEMA’s review of your Elevation Certificate and LOMA Application determines that your home is on high ground above the 100-year floodplain, the LOMA will eliminate the mandatory flood insurance purchase requirement that was put in place as a condition of having federally-back financing. However, your mortgage lender can still require flood insurance as a condition of your financing, regardless of the location of your home. At that point, you would need to discuss this with your lender.
How do you know if you have good reason to suspect your home is higher than the 100-year floodplain? Currently, you can find LOMAs on FEMA’s Map Service Center website, but several bureaus at the City of Portland are also working to get all the LOMAs and Elevation Certificates online too. Once that happens, residents will be able to look on Portland Maps to see nearby elevation details, which can help area-residents make the decision if they want to hire a surveyor to get an Elevation Certificate, which is the first step in the LOMA process.