Flooded Homes

Flooded Homes

We’ve been getting a lot of calls and inquiries lately from people needing a FEMA Elevation Certificate to secure Flood Insurance. In talking with clients, we are often asked:

  1. What are flood zones?
  2. What are flood zone designations and which flood zone designations require mandatory flood insurance purchase?

We hope this article answers at least a few of your questions, but if you have more questions, then please feel free to call us at 401-647-9240 or visit our Contact Page for other options.

What are Flood Zones?

Flood zones are geographic areas that the FEMA has defined according to varying levels of flood risk. These zones are depicted on a community’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Hazard Boundary Map.   Each zone reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.

Source: FEMA

What are flood zone designations and which flood zone designations require mandatory flood insurance purchase?

Everyone lives in at least one of the flood zones defined below.

Flood Map

Sample Flood Map (FIRMette)

Mandatory flood insurance purchase is required if:

  • If you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) or high-risk area and have a Federally backed mortgage, your mortgage lender requires you to have flood insurance.

You should consider purchasing flood insurance regardless of whether or not you live in a FEMA defined SFHA, considering that just an inch of water can cause costly damage to your property:

  • If you live in a moderate-to-low risk area and are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, your flood insurance premium may be as low as $129 a year, including coverage for your property’s contents.

FEMA Flood Zone Designations Defined:

Moderate to Low Risk Areas
In communities that participate in the NFIP, flood insurance is available to all property owners and renters in these zones:
ZONE DESCRIPTION
B and X (shaded) Area of moderate flood hazard, usually the area between the limits of the 100-year and 500-year floods. B Zones are also used to designate base floodplains of lesser hazards, such as areas protected by levees from 100-year flood, or shallow flooding areas with average depths of less than one foot or drainage areas less than 1 square mile.
C and X (unshaded) Area of minimal flood hazard, usually depicted on FIRMs as above the 500-year flood level. Zone C may have ponding and local drainage problems that don’t warrant a detailed study or designation as base floodplain. Zone X is the area determined to be outside the 500-year flood and protected by levee from 100-year flood.
High Risk Areas
In communities that participate in the NFIP, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply to all of these zones:
ZONE DESCRIPTION
A Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding and a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Because detailed analyses are not performed for such areas; no depths or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.
AE The base floodplain where base flood elevations are provided. AE Zones are now used on new format FIRMs instead of A1-A30 Zones.
A1-30 These are known as numbered A Zones (e.g., A7 or A14). This is the base floodplain where the FIRM shows a BFE (old format).
AH Areas with a 1% annual chance of shallow flooding, usually in the form of a pond, with an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 feet. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.
AO River or stream flood hazard areas, and areas with a 1% or greater chance of shallow flooding each year, usually in the form of sheet flow, with an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 feet. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Average flood depths derived from detailed analyses are shown within these zones.
AR Areas with a temporarily increased flood risk due to the building or restoration of a flood control system (such as a levee or a dam). Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements will apply, but rates will not exceed the rates for unnumbered A zones if the structure is built or restored in compliance with Zone AR floodplain management regulations.
A99 Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding that will be protected by a Federal flood control system where construction has reached specified legal requirements. No depths or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.
High Risk – Coastal Areas
In communities that participate in the NFIP, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply to all of these zones:
ZONE DESCRIPTION
V Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. No base flood elevations are shown within these zones.
VE, V1 – 30 Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.
Undetermined Risk Areas
ZONE DESCRIPTION
D Areas with possible but undetermined flood hazards. No flood hazard analysis has been conducted. Flood insurance rates are commensurate with the uncertainty of the flood risk.

Source: FEMA

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About Foster Survey Company

Foster Survey Company

Foster Survey Company is a Rhode Island Professional Land Surveying Company established in March of 1993. We are Registered Licensed RI Professional Land Surveyors serving all of Rhode Island. Our core beliefs are to provide superior professional land surveying services that will benefit you with: Value, Experience, and Quality!