Wells Fargo Takes Over Policy, Decides House On Hill Is On A Flood Plain, Automatically Assesses And Withdraws Money For Flood Insurance

A reader asks:

    I’m looking for some help for my kids. My daughter and son-in-law bought a house a bit over a year ago that sits up on a hillside, approximately 50′ higher than the surrounding area. At some point Wells Fargo bought their paper and then arbitrarily decided they were in a flood plain. Without contacting them, they sold them a flood policy for $1,000 and removed that amount from their escrow account, resulting in a negative balance. To make this up so their homeowner’s and taxes were paid promptly required an additional $200 a month…

The kids are trying to get the flood policy through the same insurance company as their homeowner’s policy at a substantial amount less than Wells Fargo charged them (about 450 annually I believe). The insurance company asked for an elevation certificate and stated that there should be a copy of that in their mortgage paperwork, insinuating that it is required to write flood insurance, or is used as proof of a requirement for flood insurance. There is nothing in their copy of the mortgage paperwork. They called Wells Fargo and requested a copy of that certificate to provide the insurance company and Wells Fargo has nothing. We have contacted the city planner for their area and he is currently looking for any information they may already have on that area. However he did explain that if the city hasn’t surveyed that area the kids might have to hire someone to do the survey themselves and that would probably be another 300 bucks.

I don’t know about flood insurance requirements and can’t find anyone to give me a straight answer. I’ve been reading consumerist for some time now and thought I might throw this out there to see if anyone could offer advice. Our concerns are:

1. Wells Fargo buying the paper and charging $1k for a flood policy without any notification. Flood insurance was not required for the mortgage.
2. Their lack of any evidence to support this house being in a flood plain.
3. What action to take if Wells Fargo is out of their minds and just took $1000 from these kids who are just starting out. That is a lot of money to them with a 2 year old and newborn.

Any advice you and/or your reader’s might offer would be greatly appreciated.


Brett S.

That does sound rather unfair. Any advice or suggestions for Brett’s kids? — BEN POPKEN

(Photo: Getty Images)