Flood Zone Facts
- Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.
- In a high-risk area, homes are more than twice as likely to be damaged by flood than by fire.
- Anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. People outside of high-risk areas file over 20% of NFIP claims and receive one-third of disaster assistance for flooding.
Federal law requires that if your property is mapped into a special flood hazard area, and you have a mortgage through a federally regulated or insured lender, flood insurance will be required when new flood maps become effective.
- Some properties that were not previously in a flood zone are in a flood zone on the new maps.
- Other properties that were already in a flood zone will be in a higher risk zone.
- Some properties are in a lower risk flood zone.
Understanding Flood Facts and FEMA Flood Zone Information
Flooding can happen anywhere, but certain areas are especially prone to serious flooding. To help communities understand their risk, flood maps (Flood Insurance Rate Maps, FIRMs) have been created by FEMA to show the locations of high-risk areas, moderate-to-low risk areas, and undetermined-risk areas. Floodplain Definition and Flood Hazard Assessment.
What is a FEMA Flood Zone?
High-risk areas (Special Flood Hazard Area or SFHA)
High-risk areas have at least a 1% annual chance of flooding, which equates to a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. All homeowners in these areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to buy flood insurance. They are shown on the FEMA flood map as zones labeled with the letters A or V.
Moderate-to-low risk areas (Non-Special Flood Hazard Area or NSFHA)
In moderate-to-low risk areas, the risk of being flooded is reduced, but not completely removed. These areas are outside the 1% annual flood-risk floodplain areas, so flood insurance isn’t required, but it is recommended for all property owners and renters. They are shown on FEMA flood maps as zones labeled with the letters B, C or X (or a Shaded X).