The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) pushes through every possible means to reduce flood risk and flood damage in a community.
Every resident gets to receive the same protection from these disasters and since flooding has become more devastating than in previous years, FEMA is creating ways to properly show communities see the chance of flooding in their area.
Flood maps help set minimum floodplain standards so that your community builds safely and resiliently with help of continuous flood insurance study. A flood map would show floodplain boundaries of different flood zones, different hydrology, land use, infrastructure, and which is a floodway. More important, these flood maps would show what flood zone your property might be sitting in.
These flood maps differentiate and are never a constant map and may take years to develop as these maps would be a direct result of flood insurance study across years of data. There are some cases where FEMA has to revise and remap while making a new map for a county due to recent data coming in on flooding events. You may get a new one in a few years' time since FEMA has to remap the area due to changes in floodplain and base flood elevation levels. It's important to note as well that you can expect where your property's flood zone may be depending on what county you are in.
FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) is generally made to inform the residents of their current position when it comes to the chance of flooding in their area. This is also to ensure that the public knows their flood risks and that their flood insurance premium is priced accurately. The higher your risk of flooding is, the higher your premiums can become.
Flood Zones & Insurance Rates
When it comes to low-risk flood zones wherein the expected maximum flooding is through shallow flooding, flood insurance premiums are the lowest and there's no mandatory flood insurance requirement for properties. This is usually written in floodplain mapping as Flood Zone X.
There are also high-risk areas like Flood Zone A also known as the 100-year flood zone and one of the special flood hazard areas (SFHA). This is because there's a one percent chance of flooding every year. Although this is just the bigger picture presented by FEMA since the past few years have shown how unpredictable flood events have become especially when it comes to disaster, storm, and hurricane seasons.
This also means that you have a 26% chance of being flooded in a 30-year mortgage. Once you're mapped into this flood zone, it's most likely that your mortgage will require you to have a flood insurance policy in effect for your property.
These are just the samples of the flood zones that are commonly seen in a FIRM. So, why is it important to know how this can affect your flood insurance?
As we've mentioned, flood insurance rates will be higher if you're in a higher-risk flood zone. It's also possible that if you're in a high-risk flood zone, some companies may not write a flood insurance policy for your property. We've seen this happen many times for properties that are in a floodway and this can really be challenging for those looking to do their flood insurance purchase with the private flood market.
There's a way to amend the floodplain mapping in your area, however. FEMA has what's called the Letter of Map Change (LOMC) which provides policyholders a chance to lower their flood insurance premiums. This is with the help of an elevation certificate which shows that your property is basically above the base flood elevation.
This is what a flood map is and we encourage every homeowner to be up-to-date when it comes to FEMA's FIRM changes since this will directly impact you for the good and the bad. At the end of the day, the number one priority should be to reduce the flood damage since we really can't control these events. If you have any questions on flood maps, floodplain changes, base flood elevation, flood zone maps, or anything about flood insurance, reach out to us.
Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation and we want to help you protect the value of your property long term. Click the links below to know more and get started: