Floods occur naturally and can happen almost anywhere. They may not even be near a body of water, although river and coastal flooding are two of the most common types. Heavy rains, poor drainage, and even nearby construction projects can put you at risk for flood damage.
Flood maps show how likely it is for an area to flood. Any place with a 1% chance or higher chance of experiencing a flood each year is considered to have a high risk. Those areas have at least a one-in-four chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.
Floods don’t follow city limits or property lines. Using a flood map, you can see the relationship between your property and the areas with the highest risk of flooding. There is no such thing as a “no-risk zone,” but some areas have a lower or moderate risk.
FEMA’s Flood Maps will be updated in 2022
Policyholders under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can expect big changes soon. The federal government’s voluntary flood mitigation effort for property owners and operators will implement a new methodology for setting premium rates called Risk Rating 2.0.
Under current rating methodology, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sets rates for properties participating in the NFIP according to the flood zone in which the property is located. For years, properties grouped within the same flood zone have paid the same premium rate, resulting in lower-value homes in high-risk areas subsidizing higher value properties in less flood-prone zones. Reversing this inequity was the impetus for FEMA’s decision to establish a new risk rating system.
Risk Rating 2.0 will use additional variables to determine a property’s individual risk, rather than assess the property by the zone in which it is located. This process will consider additional flood risks not included in the current methodology, data collected from new flood mapping technology and the risk mitigation features of the property itself.
FEMA has determined that under one quarter of NFIP policyholders will see a decrease in their monthly premium rates, while 66 percent will only see up to a $10 increase in their rates. 11 percent of policyholders will see assessments beyond $10. The new rates kicked in on October 1, 2021 for new policyholders and are set to begin for April 1, 2022 for existing policyholders.
View the Flood Zone Maps
Residents and businesses in Broward County are encouraged to view the current flood zones map and FEMA’s preliminary flood zones map to better understand their potential flood risk and to help identify steps they may need to take to protect against property damage and loss. We encourage property owners to also use the interactive tools below to see their current flood zone and the preliminary flood zones.
The maps are used by insurance companies for flood insurance purposes and the base flood elevations must be used for all new construction and substantial improvements to existing construction.
Property owners and renters should consider purchasing a flood insurance policy, even if it is not mandated for their location. All areas are susceptible to flooding, although to varying degrees.
Flood Zone Designations
The following flood zone designation determines whether or not flood insurance is mandated.
|Zone AO||Flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to areas of shallow flooding (usually sheet flow on sloping terrain) with average depths between 1 and 3 feet. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.|
|Zone AE||Flood insurance rate zone that corresponds with flood depths greater than 3 feet. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.|
|Zone AH||Flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to areas of shallow flooding with average depths between 1 and 3 feet. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.|
|Zone VE||Flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to coastal areas that have additional hazards associated with storm waves. Mandatory flood insurance requirements apply.|
|Zone X-Shaded(0.2 PCT Annual Chance Flood Hazard0.2 PCT Annual Chance Flood Hazard)Zone X||Flood insurance rate zones that are outside the flood plain or the average flood depths of less than 1 foot. Flood insurance purchase is not mandatory.|
Using the Interactive Map Viewing Tool
You can use the interactive map viewing tool to find out if your home or business is in a flood zone. To use the tool, follow these steps:
- Click on the interactive tool.
- Once the pop-up box designating the approximate location of your address on the map appears, find your house and click it.
- A new pop-up window will appear with the FEMA Flood Designations Preliminary 12/31/2019 (updated 2/25/2021) and the FEMA Flood Designations Effective 8/18/2014 for your address (NOTE: Certain areas of the county have unchanged flood zone designation, and Flood Map Pane will not be updated. If you are within this area, only the FEMA Flood Designations Effective 8/18/2014 will be shown in the pop-up window).
FEMA Flood Maps – Frequently Asked Questions
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 an 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: https://www.floodsmart.gov/.
Where do I contact FEMA?
For questions on flood insurance coverage and rates: 1-800-427-4661
FEMA Map Assistance Center contact: 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627) Open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
How do the changes in the new Preliminary Flood Zone Maps affect you?
Residents and businesses can use the new maps to learn their risk and decide the financial steps they need to take to protect against damage and loss
Planners, engineers, builders, and local officials can use the maps to make important determinations about where and how to build new structures and developments
Because Insurance Agents use the Flood Zone Maps to set insurance rates, the flood insurance premium may change for many residents. Therefore, residents should act now to find out how these changes may affect their premiums
What is RISK 2.0?
FEMA is updating the NFIP risk rating methodology through the implementation of a new pricing methodology called Risk Rating 2.0. The new methodology uses the insurance industry best practices and technology to produce rates that are actuarially sound, and better reflect a property’s flood risk. Since Aug. 1, 2021, the current National Flood Insurance Program policyholders can contact their insurance company or insurance agent to learn more about what Risk Rating 2.0 Equity in Action means to them
All new policies beginning Oct. 1, 2021, will be subjected to the new rating methodology and existing policyholders eligible for renewal will be able to take advantage of immediate decreases in their premiums
All remaining policies renewing on or after April 1, 2022, will be subjected to the new rating methodology
What is not changing under Risk 2.0?
The way the premium rates are calculated has changed under Risk 2.0. but these important characteristics of the flood insurance program remains the same:Limited Annual Premium Increases: Existing statutory limits on rate increases require that most rates not increase more than 18 percent per year
Using FIRMs for mandatory purchase and floodplain management
Current Discounts: FEMA is maintaining features to simplify the transition to Risk Rating 2.0 by offering premium discounts to eligible policyholders. This means:FEMA will continue to offer premium discounts for pre-FIRM subsidized and newly mapped properties
Policyholders will still be able to transfer their discount to a new owner by assigning their flood insurance policy when their property changes ownership
Discounts to policyholders in communities who participate in the Community Rating System will continue. Communities will continue to earn NFIP rate discounts of 5 – 45 percent based on the Community Rating System classification. However, since Risk Rating 2.0 does not use flood zones to determine flood risk, the discount will be uniformly applied to all policies throughout the participating community, regardless of whether the structure is inside or outside of the Special Flood Hazard Area
If I miss the deadline for grandfathering my Zone X rate, how can I pay less for flood insurance?
The following actions may assist in reducing or eliminating the future need to have flood insurance:Use a Pre-FIRM rate: Pre-FIRM buildings can be insured using “subsidized” rates. These rates are designed to help people afford flood insurance even though their buildings were not built with flood protection in mind. For more information visit FEMA Flood Insurance
Hire a professional land surveyor to obtain elevation certificates: This can be done for all buildings located within the property, showing that they are higher than the base flood elevation. Savings are substantial if buildings are elevated above the flood plain
To hire a professional land surveyor visit the State of Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website. Using the drop-down menu, please select:License Category (Surveyors and Mappers),
License Type (Surveyor Business or Surveyors and Mappers),
and State (FL)
You will obtain a complete list of surveyors or surveyor business in Miami-Dade County, with contact information and license status
Request from FEMA a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Revision (LOMR): Hire a professional land surveyor to survey the entire property, showing that the areas and structures are higher than the base flood elevation, and apply for a LOMA or LOMR. This FEMA process, if approved, effectively removes the property from the flood plain, classifying higher areas into Zone X. For more information visit FEMA’s website
My property has always been in Zone X. How come it is now in a flood zone?
FEMA periodically updates the Flood Maps when it has been determined that the information in the maps is outdated. Basically, most changes in flood zones in the new maps are the result of better topographic surveys showing the ground elevation in more detail and a different methodology to perform coastal floodplain modeling, with the use of 2D models
How can I apply for LOMA or LOMR?
What is the CRS program and what it does for me?
The NFIP’s Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted, to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS. Unincorporated Miami-Dade County participates in the CRS Program, as a Class 5 Community, which guarantees a 25 percent discount on all flood insurance premiums in flood zones and 10 percent discount on policies outside flood zones, for residents in this area
My property used to be in flood zone, but now it is in Zone X. Do I still need to buy flood insurance?
Everybody should hold a flood insurance policy for their property, since flooding can occur outside of flood zones, due to accidental causes such as infrastructure failure. However, mortgage companies are not mandated to require flood insurance once a property is converted out of a flood zone
You will need to contact your mortgage company and your insurance agent, to request a conversion. The documentation requirements vary, depending on the insurance agent and lender requirements