TAKING ACTION: Requesting a change to your flood zone designation

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Many homeowners in North Alabama pay for flood insurance. Unfortunately, a portion of the people are paying for coverage on a very slim chance their home will ever flood.

On Wednesday, we introduced you to the Stafford Family who live in Athens. They found out just before signing their final documents for their first house that it sat in Zone A.

"Whenever this news came in, I got into panic a little bit," Abigail Stafford said.

The Staffords tried to challenge FEMA three times, only to find out they must pay for coverage.

"It's pretty stressful," Stafford said.

If you believe your home is incorrectly included in FEMA's Special Flood Hazard Area, you can submit an application to FEMA. They will determine whether the property's location and/or elevation should be included. The flood hazard area has an annual one-percent or greater chance of flooding.

If FEMA grants a change to the flood map, the property owner may no longer need to pay flood insurance. FEMA reports it's then up to the mortgage lender to request the insurance mandate be removed.

But, to eliminate any surprise insurance requirements when you're buying a home, geographic information systems coordinators say just give them a call. Each community has someone who can help.

"Give us the address, show us the piece of property that they intend to build on and let us show you where the flood districts are at," Micah Cochran, with the City of Athens, said.

You can find out much more information by visiting FEMA's website: www.fema.gov.

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