We all live in a flood zone. The question is, ‘what is our risk of flooding?’ Even someone that does not live near a body of water may be susceptible to heavy rainfall, water main breaks, or other sources of water less commonly thought of as sources of flooding. Flood insurance rate maps help explain the zone (high, moderate, low risk) in which your property falls.
Flood insurance must be purchased from a regular insurance agent through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Regular homeowner’s insurance does not cover damages caused by flooding. It is important to note that there are different types of flood insurance. For example, some policies cover only the structure while other policies also include content. Your insurance agent will be able to explain the differences. Insurance rates are based on the risk of annual flooding and determined through Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). More information on NFIP can be found here and common myths about flood insurance can be found here. Information on the 2014 flood insurance reform can be found here.
If you would like to better understand the recommended flood risk designation of your property (high, moderate, low risk) assigned by the NFIP, access your flood maps on FEMA.gov. Be sure to note the map file date. Many maps are outdated. This article offers further explanation on how to read your map as well as information on what to do if you feel your map is inaccurate or out of date.
For a more in-depth presentation on the National Flood Insurance Program and how to read Flood Insurance Rate Maps see this EDEN webinar.