Learn The Basics - Flood Zones Defined

Flood zones are geographic areas that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has defined according to varying levels of flood risk.

These zones are depicted on a community's Flood Hazard Boundary Map or a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). Each zone reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.

Below are brief definitions of the FEMA flood zones. For comprehensive flood zone definitions, visit the NFIP Web site. If you'd like additional information, contact your agent at 1-877-638-0022 or visit our contact page.

Moderate to Low Risk Areas

In communities that participate in the NFIP, flood insurance is available to all property owners and renters with moderate to low risk.

Zones B, C, and X
Areas with less than a 1% chance of flooding each year; areas that have less than a 1% chance of sheet flow flooding with an average depth of less than 1 foot; areas that have less than a 1% chance of stream flooding where the contributing drainage area is less than 1 square mile; or areas protected from floods by levees. No base flood elevations or depths are shown within these zones.

High Risk Areas

In communities that participate in the NFIP, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply to all A zones.

Zone A
Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding and a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Because detailed analyses are not performed for such areas; no depths or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.

Zone AE and A1-A30
Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding and a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. In most instances, base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.

Zone AH
Areas with a 1% annual chance of shallow flooding, usually in the form of a pond, with an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 feet. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.

Zone AO
River or stream flood hazard areas, and areas with a 1% or greater chance of shallow flooding each year, usually in the form of sheet flow, with an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 feet. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Average flood depths derived from detailed analyses are shown within these zones.

Zone AR
Areas with a temporarily increased flood risk due to the building or restoration of a flood control system (such as a levee or a dam). Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements will apply, but rates will not exceed the rates for unnumbered A zones if the structure is built or restored in compliance with Zone AR floodplain management regulations.

Zone A99
Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding that will be protected by a Federal flood control system where construction has reached specified legal requirements. No depths or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.

High Risk - Coastal Areas

In communities that participate in the NFIP, mandatory flood insurance purchaserequirements apply to all V zones.

Zone V
Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. No base flood elevations are shown within these zones.

Zone VE and V1 - 30
Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.

Undetermined Risk Areas

Zone D
Areas with possible but undetermined flood hazards. No flood hazard analysis has been conducted. Flood insurance rates are commensurate with the uncertainty of the flood risk.

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