What are Flood Zones? Do I NEED Flood Insurance?

Flood Insurance is easy to get and it should be the most-straightforward type of insurance coverage, but zones continuously change and misinformation circulates like wildfire. When we have discussions about Flood Insurance we’re frequently met actions like “I am not in a flood zone” or “I’m not required to have flood insurance” however the conversation can’t stop there. Every property remains in some kind of flood zone. And floods are the # 1 natural disaster in the United States. With the typical flood claim costing $30,000, we encourage everyone to have this added security for their home and individual valuables.

What is a Flood Zone?

According to FEMA, Flood threat locations are recognized on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) are identified as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). SFHAs have a 1% possibility of flooding in any given year and are in some cases referred to as areas of “100 year flood.”

SFHA Zones consist of:

An area having special flood, mudflow or flood-related erosion hazards and shown on a Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM) or a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) Zone A, AO, A1-A30, AE, A99, AH, AR, AR/A, AR/AE, AR/AH, AR/AO, AR/A1-A30, V1-V30, VE or V. The SFHA is the area where the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) floodplain management regulations must be enforced and the area where the mandatory purchase of flood insurance applies.  For the purpose of determining Community Rating System (CRS) premium discounts, all AR and A99 zones are treated as non-SFHAs.

SFHA Flood Zones discussed even more:

Zone A- Areas subject to a 1% or greater yearly chance of flooding in any given year. Due to the fact that detailed hydraulic analyses have not been performed on these locations, no base flood elevations are shown
Zone AO- Areas subject to a 1% or higher annual chance of shallow flooding in any given year. Flooding is usually in the form of sheet circulation with average depths in between one and 3 feet. Typical flood depths are revealed as stemmed from comprehensive hydraulic analyses.
Zone AH- Areas based on a 1% or higher annual chance of shallow flooding in any given year. Flooding is usually in the form of ponding with typical depths in between one and 3 feet. Base flood elevations are revealed as stemmed from comprehensive hydraulic analyses.
Zones A1-A30- Zone AE is utilized on brand-new and revised maps in place of Zones A1-A130.
Zone AE- Areas based on a 1% or greater annual possibility of flooding in any given year. Base flood elevations are shown as originated from comprehensive hydraulic analyses.
Zone A99- Areas subject to a 1% or higher annual possibility of flooding in any given year, however will ultimately be safeguarded by a flood protection system under building. No base flood elevations or flood depths are shown.


Zone AR- Areas subject to a 1% or greater yearly opportunity of flooding in any given year due to a short-term boost in flood danger from a flood control system that offers less than its previous level of defense.
Zone V and VE- Coastal High Hazard Area. A location of unique flood hazard extending from overseas to the inland limitation of a primary frontal dune along an open coast and any other location subject to high velocity wave action from storms or seismic sources. All buildings should be elevated on piles or columns.
Zones V1-V30- Zone VE is used on new and revised maps in place of Zones V1-V30.
Moderate flood danger locations are also revealed on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and are the areas between the limits of the base flood and the 0.2% yearly opportunity, sometimes described as “a 500-year flood.” Moderate Flood Zones are identified by Zone B and Zone X.

The locations of very little flood hazard, which are locations outside the SFHA and higher than the elevation of the 0.2% yearly opportunity flood, are identified Zone C or Zone X. These moderate and minimal zones are preferred and flood insurance is not required by federal home loan programs, however, we still advise acquiring flood insurance. We have found out from major storms in the past that even homes in these zones can flood, it just takes a specific magnitude of storm.

Preferred and Moderate Flood Zones consist of:

Zones B, C, and X are locations of minimal flood threat from the primary source of flood in the location and determined to be outside the 0.2 percent annual possibility floodplain. (X is used on new and revised maps rather of C).
According to FEMA’s Website, Policyholders outside of high-risk flood locations submit over 20% of all NFIP flood insurance coverage claims and need one-third of federal disaster help for flooding.

It’s important to keep in mind that homeowner in moderate-to-low danger flood locations are likewise qualified for lower costs on their “Preferred Risk (Flood Insurance) Polices.”

Learn what flood zone your residential or commercial property lies in, check out FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center.

Apply Now!

Other Zones:

Zone D- Areas of undetermined, but possible, flood threats
Coastal Barrier Resources System

The Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) of 1982 eliminated the Federal Government from financial participation connected with building and developing in undeveloped portions of designated coastal barriers. Essentially, this act was intended to discourage advancement in hurricane-prone environmentally sensitive seaside barrier locations, both to safeguard wildlife environments and to help mitigate severe losses. This Act made these locations disqualified for federal support along with subsidized flood insurance programs like the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Development can still take place in these areas, as long as private developers or other non-federal parties bear the complete expense.

Properties can be totally or partly in a COBRA Zone which substantially affects flood insurance alternatives for the home owner. The same lending institution requirements can still apply to the property, however whatever portion of the property belongs in the COBRA Zone can be expected to impact the price of the flood insurance coverage premium.

Coastal Barrier Resources System‘s (CBRS) limits are shown on maps that were initially adopted by Congress. With just a few exceptions, only Congress can change CBRS boundaries. The official CBRS maps are maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Do I NEED Flood Insurance?

Every home is vulnerable to flooding and you can’t expect federal disaster help to deliver in a disastrous flooding event. Federal catastrophe assistance is available in 2 kinds: a loan, which need to be paid back with interest, or a FEMA disaster grant, which has to do with $5,000 typically, per household. By contrast, the typical flood insurance coverage claim in 2018 was more than $40,000 so $5,000 is not going to go very far.

I’m leasing. What do I require?

If you’re renting a residential or commercial property, we highly advise a tenants insurance coverage policy but, like a house owner’s policy, it doesn’t consist of flood insurance. It is likely that your landlord has flood insurance coverage for the structure, but that won’t cover your individual possessions. You can include a budget friendly contents-only flood insurance policy that will protect your furnishings, clothing, electronic devices, rugs, art work, and more in case of a flood.

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