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Flood Zones Explained

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

Everyone lives in a flood zone because where it rains it can flood. But what exactly do the flood zones mean? We are going to take a look at where flood zones come from and what the different zones mean for you and your property.


What is a flood zone and where does it come from?

Flood zones are pretty much what they sound like, areas that are at risk for a flood and everyone is in a flood zone. The different zones tell you if you are in a low-risk, moderate-risk or high-risk area for flooding which is important for determining your flood insurance requirements and costs.


FEMA has created flood maps including over 20,000 communities across the country by calculating if an area has a 1% or greater chance of being damaged by a flood event in any given year (also commonly referred to as the 100-year flood). The areas that fall into that category are called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA). If you are in one of these high-risk zones and purchased a home with a mortgage you most likely were required to purchase flood insurance.


Keep in mind that even if you aren't in a high-risk area it doesn't mean you aren't at risk for a flood. About 1/3 of all flood damage occurs to properties in low to moderate-risk zones. It is estimated that 70% of losses from Hurricane Harvey were outside of the mandatory flood coverage purchase areas, meaning they were not in high-risk areas. Remember, water doesn't care where the lines are drawn in a flood map, flooding can happen everywhere.


What do the letters mean?

If you see B, C and X it means you are in a Moderate to Low-Risk Area.

B and X(shaded) are your moderate risks and C and X(unshaded) are your minimal risk areas. In communities that participate in the NFIP, flood insurance is available to all property owners and renters in these zones.


Any zones that include A and V are your High-Risk Areas. These have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. If you own a home or business in these areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders you are likely required to buy flood insurance.


D zones mean it is an undetermined risked, meaning no flood hazard analysis has been conducted yet in that area. That doesn't mean there is no flood risk, it's just uncertain if there is a flood risk.


Flood Map Updates

Flood hazards can and do change due to various reasons including new construction and development within a community, change in weather patterns, additions of dams and levees to name a few. If your community has a map change it's important to be aware as it can change your flood insurance requirements and cost. 1st Direct makes it easy to find out your risk by providing free risk assessments so reach out to us today to find out yours.


Risk Rating 2.0

With FEMA's release of their new Risk Rating 2.0, they now consider more than just your flood zone and elevation when determining your premium, read more about it in Top 3 Questions About Risk Rating 2.0.

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