As we move out of winter, we should all prepare for what spring has to offer especially when it comes to flood risks. Measuring your risks of flooding nowadays no longer relies on what flood zone you are in, instead, there's a multitude of factors being considered.Flood Map Updates of 2023: Kent County, Michigan

Despite this, flood zones still have a hold on flood insurance especially when it comes to determining which properties are required to carry a flood policy. In this article, we talk about the upcoming flood map changes to Kent County in the state of Michigan.

This new flood map for Kent County is going to take effect starting February 23rd, 2023.

Flooding & Michigan

Michigan is no stranger to flood damage. Just in the last 20 years, the state has seen multiple flood events which ravaged its communities and caused major flood loss.

In 2003, more than 4 inches of rain broke the Silver Lake earthen dike which caused $100 million in damages.

Fast forward to 10 years later, sudden rainfall of up to 9 inches of heavy rain came to the Grand Rapids metro area. This caused the Grand River to crest at 21.85 feet in 2013 which led to $10 million in property damage.

Flood Map Updates of 2023: Kent County, Michigan

The following year 2014, the state saw around 6 inches of rain causing widespread flooding that is estimated $231 million in total property damage to 22,782 affected homes and buildings. These are just a couple of the major flood events which Michigan saw in recent times. Such flood events may impact flood insurance rate maps in any given state or location.

So, what are the upcoming changes to Michigan's Kent County flood maps?

Flood Map Changes to Kent County

In order to understand how these changes can impact you, we first need to have a brief look at what the changes are. When it comes to updating flood insurance rate maps, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would indicate the movements of the property.

Now, it's important to remember here that with the Risk Rating 2.0 update to federal flood insurance, flood zones no longer really determine or impact rates. Instead, it's only a tool being used to determine whether or not a property requires flood insurance.

We label these movements as the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly changes. So, how are these different from one another?

Flood Map Updates of 2023: Kent County, Michigan

The Good

When it comes to the Good changes, this is where we talk about the "in to out" movement of properties with the new flood maps. This means that property owners who are originally mapped into high-risk flood zones will be moved out of them. This change is expected to impact 1,139 properties in Kent County.

Some would refer to this as moving to a Flood Zone X. Now, this simply means that if you're one of the property owners experiencing this change, you will no longer be required to carry a flood insurance policy with your property.

Although this sounds promising especially when it comes to saving money, we still encourage you to maintain that flood protection.

It's important to remember that you are being moved into a low-risk flood zone, not a no-risk one. This is especially true once you consider that with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), at least 25% of their flood claims come from these low-risk zones.

Flood Map Updates of 2023: Kent County, Michigan

The Bad

Next up, is the bad change that some property owners will experience. In FEMA's new flood insurance rate map for Kent County, around 4,492 properties that are not in the SFHA will now be moved into the SFHA or a high-risk flood zone. You can see this moving to flood zone A or some people would say being mapped into a flood zone.

One of the big things that might change when it comes to your flood insurance is that being moved into the SFHA and experiencing this "out to in" movement also means that you will start to see a flood insurance requirement with your property.

In basic terms, in a few days, after this new flood map goes live on February 23rd, you might start to see your mortgage lender or bank requiring you to buy flood insurance for the property.

The Ugly

Lastly, we have the ugly change coming to Ken County, Michigan. This change involves properties that are going to experience the "in to in" movement. Some would refer to this as moving deeper into the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA).

Find My Flood Risk & Flood Rate

The "in to in" movement is what we generally consider as the ugly change that new flood map updates bring as this means that a property is already in a high-risk area and they are being moved deeper into the SFHA; into a higher-risk flood zone.

In the case of Kent County residents, a whopping 6,847 properties will be experiencing this type of movement.

Although this will no longer impact your flood insurance premiums or rates, this type of flood determination movement can still impact you negatively as mortgages will be stricter when it comes to mandatory flood insurance purchases for property owners experiencing this change.

Now that we've covered the changes from this new Hancock flood map, let's talk about how you can fight these changes.

Fighting Flood Zone Changes

One of the first things to keep in mind when it comes to this is that this flood determination is not final. Generally, you can still have your flood zone changed if you feel like you are being mapped into an incorrect flood zone. To do this, you need a letter of map amendment to help you out.

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A Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) is an official document that's issued by FEMA to process the change of a flood zone designation for a property. A LOMA is achieved after a successful application for a Letter of Map Change (LOMC) thru FEMA's official website.

It helps to have the necessary information and documents when applying for a LOMA. One of the helpful supporting documents you can provide is an elevation certification.

Get Elevation Certificate

Although elevation certificates are no longer required — especially with the recent update to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and Risk Rating 2.0 — this can really help a lot in proving the validity of your request to be mapped out of a high-risk area.

Flood Insurance Options

Now, let's talk about your flood insurance options in Kent County. Watch the video below to know the difference between the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Private Flood Insurance market.

Flood insurance is important now more than ever as we face higher risks of floods. You don't want to be blindsided by all that floodwater and find yourself in a lot of losses.

If you want to learn more about flood insurance in Michigan, flood mitigation, or anything related to flood insurance, click below to go to our Flood Learning Center:Flood Insurance Guru - Flood Learning Center

If you are ready to take the next steps to get the right flood insurance coverage then there are three simple steps.

  1. Fill out this form — Get A Quote

  2. Talk with our flood education specialist.

  3. Get back to the important things in your life.

A month from the official launch of the new Risk Rating 2.0 program with FEMA and the NFIP, we equally want to focus on the upcoming changes to flood maps.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be changing the flood zones for multiple states starting this month and for this one, we want to cover the upcoming update to Spencer City in Iowa's Clay County.


Flood Zones in Risk Rating 2.0

Out with the old, in with the new federal flood insurance program with Risk Rating 2.0 and this means that we're past the legacy program which looks at flood zones as a determining factor for your flood insurance rate or flood insurance premium. However, it's still crucial to understand why the Risk Rating 2.0 from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will impact the flood insurance studies and the industry itself.

READ: NFIP Risk Rating 2.0 Update

It's important to keep in mind that Risk Rating 2.0 will only look at flood zones for regulatory purposes. This means flood insurance rate maps (FIRM) and the flood zone changes happening with it will only be used to determine whether or not a property is required to carry flood insurance or not. Basically, the rating flood maps of old are out and the regulatory flood maps of Risk Rating 2.0 is the new standard.


Today, we discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly changes with the flood map updates to Clay County that will start to take effect this November 5th, 2021. We want to focus on how many properties will be impacted by this new floodplain mapping, how many properties are moving into high-risk flood zones, how many are being removed from it, and how many are going deeper into the special flood hazard areas (SFHA).


The Good

Starting with the good changes with this flood map update. We say that this is a good change because a property impacted by this will be removed from the high-risk areas or SFHA. FEMA would call this the "in to out" movement.

When it comes to Clay County in Iowa, about 661 properties will be moved into low-risk zones. This means that if you're one of these houses moving in to out, the insured building written on your flood insurance policy will be in the moderate-to-low-risk flood areas which are Flood Zones B, Flood Zone C, and the famous Flood Zone X.

Since Risk Rating 2.0 only looks at these regulatory flood maps in order to understand the overall flood risk of a property, being in these low-risk flood areas will give you an option to not carry flood insurance to your property.

Despite this, we want to mention that low-risk doesn't mean zero risk. The risk for flooding in these areas is still very much possible although generally, the chance of flooding in these zones is very low. It is still best to carry flood insurance at all times in order to protect your property from any and all flood damage. FEMA even mentioned that 25% of flood insurance claims come from these flood zones. Flood insurance also helps individuals start preparing by lowering their flood risk.

The Bad

Now, let's move to the bad changes coming with this new flood map update. FEMA calls this an "out to in" movement since the flood insurance rate map will take properties that are in the low-risk zones and place them into high-risk zones.

There are 767 property owners that will experience this movement in the upcoming floodplain map. This means that if you're impacted by this bad change, the regulatory standpoint of Risk Rating 2.0 when it comes to flood zones will kick in due. Property owners that are included in the out-to-in movement will now be required to carry flood insurance regardless if they insured residential properties or commercial ones.

High-risk areas like flood zone A or 100-year floodplain generally mean that the properties in this area will have a 26% chance of floodwater inundating during a 30-year mortgage. 

The Ugly

Lastly, we have the ugly changes coming to Clay County and its cities like Spencer City. The ugly change is something that FEMA calls an "in to in" movement. This is because this will impact properties that are already in the SFHA and will be mapped into a higher-risk flood zone. We could also say that this is like moving your insured property from a flood zone A to a flood zone AE.

Generally, this indicates that the impacted properties are very likely to get inundated by any flood event. Unlike low-risk flood zones, these flood zones experience more devastating flood due to their proximity to a water source.

About 3105 properties are expected to experience this in-to-in movement on the flood maps. Just like the bad change or out to in, this also means that you will be required to carry a flood insurance policy for your property. This number may be due to the base flood depths getting worse due to multiple factors.

Now that we have covered the good, bad, ugly changes, and how this can impact your flood insurance purchase, let's talk about your flood insurance options in Spencer City, Iowa.



The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is purely managed by the federal government since this is FEMA's answer to flood insurance. An NFIP flood policy can get you flood coverage on both your dwelling and the contents within it.

When we say dwelling, this simply pertains to either the residential property or commercial building that you're trying to insure with NFIP and FEMA; contents will be more about the personal property and items you have inside the insured building.

There is a coverage limit when it comes to federal flood policies. Flood damage to buildings will be covered to a maximum of $250,000 for residential policies and can only go up to $500,000 maximum if it's for a commercial property. Regardless of the type of property you have written, you can expect to get a $100,000 maximum contents coverage from an NFIP policy.

There's also what's called the Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage. This is a $30,000 additional coverage for your property in order to make sure that there are flood mitigation efforts made on the property according to the federal government's standards.

Generally, this can include sandbagging your property, installing floodproofing walls, raising your lowest floor from the base flood elevation levels, and putting flood openings. The labor that goes into making these mitigation efforts happen will also be covered under the ICC.


There are also perks with your participating community in Sibley. A participating community gets access to federal flood insurance and disaster assistance, but more importantly, you also get to work with your community on raising your Community Rating System (CRS) score. The CRS measures and rewards the overall flood mitigation efforts done by the community according to FEMA's standards on floodplain management. Simply put, the higher your CRS score is, the bigger the flood insurance discount you'll get from FEMA and the NFIP.

You can start enjoying your NFIP policy after a 30-day waiting period from the flood insurance purchase.

The Private Flood

If the federal flood insurance option doesn't really work for you then you can manage this new floodplain mapping through the private flood insurance market. It's important to note that this market will solely be managed and provided by private insurance companies which generally means that the red tapes FEMA and NFIP has to go through won't be there.

The first thing you'll immediately see with the private flood market is that there are significantly shorter waiting periods for your flood policy. Once you have everything settled and paid for, a private flood insurance policy can take effect on 7 or up to 14 days maximum. 


Another good thing coming out of private flood insurance is that there are no coverage limits. This means that you won't really need to stress over how to get covered for a $500,000 home since it will be fully covered by your policy. This is the same with contents coverage and you'll also get additional coverages like replacement costs, additional living expenses, and loss of use.

Fair warning, it's a known issue in the private insurance market in general that they will do moratoriums when there are risks that are too high for their comforts. This simply means that they will either put a stop or take a break from providing flood insurance policies to a certain area that has higher risks. There's also a chance that you might not get to buy flood insurance from them once they decide to non-renew your policy.

At the end of the day, the choice of where you'll be getting flood insurance depends on you. What's really important is that you know your flood risks and have enough protection from all possible outcomes of a flood event such as flood loss and flood damage.

Click the link below to access our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer your questions on flood insurance and beyond.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation and we want to help you understand flood risks, your flood insurance, and mitigating your property long-term. 

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