What are Flood Zones, and Why Does My Flood Zone Matter?

A flood zone is a geographical area designated on a Flood Hazard Boundary Map. Flood zones are intended to be an indication of estimated flood risk, and they are currently used to determine which properties are lender-required to carry flood insurance.
Recent flooding events, such as Hurricanes Sandy, Irma, and Harvey have shown that there are serious misconceptions about flood zones and flood risk. Our goal at National Flood Insurance is to provide you, the consumer, one thing and one thing only – knowledge. 

By understanding your flood zone and your true level of flood risk, you will be better informed of how you can protect your home, assets, and family in the event of flooding. 


Is my Flood Zone the Best Indication of My True Flooding Risk?
Not by itself. Many maps currently used to determine flood zones are decades old and unfortunately don’t anticipate future trends including climate change, rising sea levels, new construction, erosion, population changes, and commercial property growth. Therefore, properties that appear to be in moderate- to low-risk areas could very easily be more susceptible to flooding.

In September 2017, 40-50% of Houstonians who live outside of FEMA’s current mapped high-risk flood zones still found their homes underwater due to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

What Is The Difference Between a Low-risk and High-risk Flood Zone?
Moderate- to low-risk
(Zones B, C, and X)
Zones FEMA has mapped as areas of moderate to minimal flood hazard. These areas are typically protected by levees or are in shallow flooding areas.
Low-risk, however, does not mean a flood won’t occur. In fact, about 25% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate- to low-risk zones. This does not include the many properties in zones B, C and X that flood every year, and do not carry flood insurance.
(Zones A and V)
Zones FEMA has mapped as areas of high flood risk. Properties located in A and V flood zones have a 1% or greater chance of flooding in any given year, and a 26% chance of flooding over a 30-year mortgage.
This 1% or greater annual chance of flooding is often referred to as a 100-year flood. The term 100-year flood is widely misunderstood to mean that these areas only flood once every 100 years.
What Flood Zones Require Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance is required if your property is in a high-risk area and your mortgage is through a government-backed lender.
If you live in a low-to moderate-risk area, flood insurance is typically not required. It, however, is important to keep in mind that 1/3 of flood insurance claims come from moderate- to low-risk areas and anyone who owns property should carry flood insurance. This is becoming more and more evident with floods occurring in low-risk areas. Carrying flood insurance will guarantee your protection for a very low cost.
Has your home or business been rezoned as a high-risk, A or V flood zone?
If so, flood insurance may now be lender required.
National Flood Insurance can help you determine your new zone, confirm if flood insurance is required for your property, and provide you and your family the coverage you need to stay protected.

Have a question about an upcoming flood zone change or are you ready to get a free flood insurance quote?
During normal business hours, call us by phone or chat live online now.
After hours, please send us an email with your question and one of our agents will reply as quickly as possible.