What is a Flood Zone Map?
Flood zone maps, also called “Flood Insurance Rate Maps” or “FIRMs” are used to determine the flood risk to properties. The low- and moderate-risk zones are represented on the maps by the letter “X”, "0.2 PCT" or an “X” that is shaded. The inland high-risk zones are labeled with designations such as “AO”, “AE”, or “AH”, and the coastal high-risk zone that has additional risk from storm surge is labeled “VE”.
Who is responsible for updating the maps?
Currently, there is a nationwide effort by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to update the nation’s flood hazard data and provide it in a detailed, digital format. This FEMA effort is referred to as map modernization and has evolved as a growing number of industries were impacted by out-of-date flood data.
What's a floodplain? How do I determine if my property is in one?
A floodplain is the part of the land where water collects, pools, and flows during the course of natural events. Such areas are classified as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), and are located in a 100-year flood zone. The term “100-year flood” does not indicate a zone that will flood every 100 years. The term describes a zone with a flood elevation that has a 1 percent chance of being equaled or exceeded each year; it is not the flood that will occur once every 100 years. The likelihood of a flood occurring within a 100-year stretch of time is high, but there is no way to predict when the next flood will occur. The maps indicate the floodplain as a “high-risk” area, officially classified as an AO, AE, AH, or VE zone.
You can determine if your property is located in the SFHA by using the Broward County’s interactive map viewer. You can also call 954-519-1483 and provide your address and zip code.
What are the benefits of the updated flood hazard maps?
The updated flood hazard maps will benefit numerous groups of people in different ways:
- Community planners and local officials will gain a greater understanding of the flood hazards and risks that affect Broward County and can therefore improve local planning activities.
- Builders and developers will have access to more detailed information for making decisions on where to build and how construction can affect local flood hazard areas.
- Insurance agents, insurance companies, and lending institutions will have easy on-line access to updates and upcoming changes in order to serve their customers and community more efficiently.
- Home and business owners will have the ability to make better financial decisions about protecting their properties.
How do the updated flood hazard maps affect me?
Neighborhoods across Broward County may be affected differently by these map updates. There may be some properties that aren’t affected and their risk remains the same. Other properties may be mapped into a higher-risk area and/or show an updated base flood elevation.
According to FEMA’s flood models, properties mapped into a high-risk area (or SFHA) have a 1 percent annual chance of being flooded and at least a 26 percent chance of being flooded during a typical 30-year mortgage.
Will updated flood maps affect me financially?
When updated flood maps are officially adopted, if your structure is mapped into a high-risk area and you have a mortgage with a federally-regulated lender, you will need to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Private mortgage companies might also require flood insurance if your structure is mapped into a high-risk area. If your property is mapped into a low-or moderate-risk area, you are not required to purchase or maintain insurance, but are strongly encouraged to do so. The cost of properly protecting your home and contents from flood damage is far less expensive than the cost to repair or replace it after a flood has occurred.
Through the National Flood Insurance Program, coverage can often be obtained at significant savings. Insurance rates vary according to zones within the SFHA and the elevation and value of property. The average cost for a flood insurance policy is around $500 per year. Further, homeowners may qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy that covers both a structure and its contents for as little as $171 per year for the lowest amount of coverage available. Coverage for renters starts at just $96 a year. Talk to your insurance agent to determine the appropriate level of protection you need and the money savings options that are available.
For additional information about flood insurance, visit:
How to Save on flood insurance
FEMA: FAQs About Your Flood Insurance Information Packet
When did the current maps become effective?
The current maps became effective on August 18, 2014.