KAPPA Surveying and Engineering, Inc.

Since 1979

FEMA Flood Insurance Terminology

Terms that are important for you to understand.


LOMA stands for a "Letter of Map Amendment".  A LOMA is issued by FEMA when a home-owner proves to FEMA that their home was erroneously designated as being flooded during the Base Flood.


FEMA stands for the "Federal Emergency Management Agency", a part of the Department of Homeland Security.  This agency has governance over the Flood Mapping of the entire USA.


FIRM stands for a "Flood Insurance Rate Map".  These maps are prepared by FEMA and periodically updated.  The last updates in San Diego County were done in May of 2012.  These maps show properties that are in or near floodable rivers and waterways.  There are differing categories of flooding based on the likelihood of your home being flooded.

If your property is along the edge of a designated flooding waterway, there is a reasonable chance that it can be removed from the designated flood area by proving to FEMA that it is actually above the 100-year flood elevation.


BFE stands for "Base Flood Elevation", which is the water level of calculated flooding from a 100-year storm.  FEMA performs these calculations and prepares the FIRM showing which properties should have flood insurance.

Zone A

This is a common designation for homeowners in floodable areas and is referenced when lenders issue a flood insurance requirement letter to you.  It means that FEMA has calculated that there is a reasonable chance that your home will be flooded during the life of a typical 30-year mortgage.