One year ago this week, I received a letter from Androscoggin Bank with whom I have a home mortgage with, informing me that FEMA had made flood map revisions and I was now living in a Zone A flood zone. I had moved into my current home in July 2005 and the orgiginal paperwork with the purchase of my home clearly stated that I wasn't in a FEMA flood zone. After an intial shock and denial, I looked into how to challenge this ruling.

I first called the bank and they suggested that I call my home owners insurance. I found out that you can't shop for flood insurance, it's a standard price and I was informed that I would have to pay $455 per year and it had to be paid in full within the 30 days... and not in installments. That was in addition to my regular home owners policy. That $455 dollars was going to hurt with the cost of heating my home and I honestly didn't think I was in a flood zone. I then proceeded to contact both Senator Snowe and Collins' offices and both were very helpful. They asked me to write letters to them and they would look into it. I also went on the FEMA website and it seemed like it would cost more money to challenge the ruling than to pay the $455.

I did manage to find a phone number to call FEMA and the lady I talked with was extremely helpful and agreed with me. She went above and beyond and ended up talking with Senator Collins' office and contacted my bank and insurance company to inform them that the initial letter stating my home was in a Zone A flood zone was incorrect. It turned out a small part of the road I live on was in the new flood zone and I was not. This all came to a conclusion just a few days before the $455 was due. I can only image if I had paid that money and tried to get it refunded to me.

If you are experiencing this and you think it's incorrect, take the time to contact FEMA and Senator Collins and Snowe. The feeling of winning this was very satisfying.