Evaluate the risk
Floods can happen for a multitude of reasons, including a burst pipe, heavy rains, broken water dams, and major storm systems. However, there are locations that are more susceptible to flooding, and homeowners should take more precaution to protect their families and property. We recommend evaluating the risk of flooding in your area by simply searching for your address on the official FEMA Flood Map. This map will give you an interactive chart of the potential risk for flooding.
Understand the map
As you explore the flood map, you’ll notice different zone markings. These indicate the flood risk of a specific region, as well as relevant structures (e.g., bridges, dams, levees, etc.) Some zones are marked by colors. Here’s a quick explanation to help you understand the map better:
- Blue Zones: These are the 1% annual-chance zones. FEMA has determined blue zones are likely to face significant flooding at least once every 100 years. Even though it may not seem like a big deal, FEMA considers this to be high-risk. Take the necessary precautions to to protect and flood-proof your home.
- Orange Zones: These are 0.2% annual-chance zones. FEMA states that orange zones are likely to face significant flooding at least once every 500 years. Since these areas are not as high-risk as blue zone properties, you may see a lower flood insurance rate. However, you may still experience excessive surface runoff after heavy rains, and should still be aware of the potential danger of flooding.
- Yellow Zones: These are areas of undetermined flood risk. If you’re considering to purchase a property in a yellow zone, we recommend researching the flood history of that zone. If possible, ask local residents what kind of flooding they’ve seen over the years, and verify with your appraiser or flood insurance agent that the property in interest is built to withstand the potential risk of flooding.
- Blue with Red Stripes: These are regulatory floodways. These areas will often include a canal or river, and a large floodplain to allow drainage from adjacent flood zones. While these floodplains are typically kept clear, there are exceptions to that rule. If your property is built in, or extremely close to these regulatory floodways, you should take extreme precautions to flood-proof your home.
Whether you are in a high risk zone or not, you may need flood insurance because most homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. If you live in an area with low or moderate flood risk, you are 5 times more likely to experience flood than a fire in your home over the next 30 years. For many, a National Flood Insurance Program’s flood insurance policy could cost less than $400 per year. Call your insurance agent today and protect what you’ve built.