Flood and Elevation Survey
Flood zones and elevation requirements are implemented and regulated through various government programs in order to ensure that property owners are protected from the threat of material and financial loss due to flood conditions. Since flood zones can change, it is important to fully understand FEMA guidelines and current flood maps.
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Flood Zone Types
- Zone A properties are defined as Special Flood Hazard Areas and are required by lenders to have flood insurance.
- Zone A is also broken down into subclasses AE, AH, AO, and A1-A99.
- Zone V properties are defined as Coastal Flood Hazard Areas and are also required to purchase flood insurance.
- Zone V also has subclasses VE and V1-V99.
- Zone C properties are characterized as areas with minimal chance of flooding.
- Zone B properties are areas where flooding may occur once in every 500 years.
- Zone D areas have not been studied enough to be properly classified.
- Zone X areas are a recent addition to the official zoning guide. Properties in Zone X are classified as either Zone B or Zone C. This process also helps minimize confusion when handling flood insurance.
- Base Flood: Floods with a 1% chance of occurring in any particular year.
- Base Flood Elevation (BFE): The measurement of how high flood wateris expected to rise during a base flood.
- Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM): A specific map made and provided by FEMA that shows BFEs, potential flood risk, and active flood risk zones.
- Pre-FIRM: Any buildings and structures that were constructed before the area’s first FIRM.
- Post-FIRM Construction: Any structure that was either built or substantially improved on or after December 31st, 1974.
- Special Flood Hazard Area: Also known as a flood plain, these areas are at high-risk for floods.