FEMA has an online seach engine which allows the general public to search flood maps by address. New home buyers who suspect their home may be in a flood zone may want to input their property address to see if the area was re-classified as a flood zone. FEMA has recently re-drawn some flood maps in the Dallas metroplex area. This has resulted in some areas being reclassified as flood zones that were not previously considered to be in flood zones.
The FEMA online search engine is located at http://msc.fema.gov/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/FemaWelcomeView?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1
Many mortgage lenders to not request a flood certification from FEMA until the underwriting process is nearly complete. This can result in a buyer learning the home they are purchasing is in a flood zone at the last minute, which is a surprise that nobody likes to hear.
Additionally, all mortgage lenders reserve the right to require a home owner to obtain flood insurance if their home is determined to be in a flood zone, even if this occurs months or even years after they purchased the home. The price of flood insurance is set by the government since it is issued by FEMA directly via independent insurance agents. The price varies based on the amount of coverage required, the various deductibles and also the type of flood zone.
For a list of insurance agents that sell flood insurance in the D/FW area, click here. Some, but not all, insurance agents require a home owner to purchase hazard insurance (fire, etc) in order to write a policy for flood insurance. Most agents will also require a copy of the FEMA flood cert before they can provide an accurate insurance quote.