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Information for Homeowners, Renters, Business Owners, and General Public

Find Your Flood Map

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The links below can provide a wealth of useful information for homeowners, renters, business owners, and the public regarding the coastal analysis and mapping effort undertaken by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the support of Federal, State, and local partners.



W​hat You Should Know and Why

  • Floods can - and do - occur in coastal areas of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
  • Flooding occurs not only in the high-risk areas known as Special Flood Hazard Areas, or SFHAs, but also in low- to moderate-risk areas.
  • In fact, about 20 to 25 percent of all flood insurance claims nationally come from areas designated as low- to moderate-risk areas.
  • When FEMA releases new or updated flood hazard maps - that is, digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) - some property owners will learn that their flood hazard, and the associated risk, is higher than they thought; others will find that their hazard/risk is not as high as they thought.
  • Others may find out that the flood elevations in the vicinity of their property have changed.
  • The new FIRMs will reflect current flood hazards resulting from a seried of in-depth, large-scale studies that re-examined the flood hazards and risks in the affected coastal counties.
  • Homeowners, business owners, and renters should understand their flood hazards as depicted on the updated FIRMs and take action, where possible, to mitigate (i.e., reduce) the associated flood risk.
  • Changes in the flood zones shown on the FIRM panels may affect whether flood insurance is required and how much flood insurance premiums will cost.
  • You may obtain status information, including information on how to view or download the Preliminary versions of the updated FIRMs and associated Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports, from the appropriate State or Florida Study Area page. Links to the State pages are provided at the top of each page of this Web Portal. Links to the Florida Study Area pages are accessible through the Information for Florida page.
  • If your community is participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), paper copies of the Preliminary versions of the FIRMs and FIS reports are to be kept on file at community offices referred to as "Community Map Repositories." 
  • You may obtain information on the Community Map Repository for your community from the "Community Information Tables" that are accessible via links in the “Community Contacts” section of the Coastal Study Contacts page
  • Some States and communities have made the FIRMs and FIS reports accessible in digital format through their own official websites.
  • You may also view or download digital copies of both the Preliminary and effective versions of the updated FIRM and FIS report for your community on the FEMA Flood Map Service Center website.
  • Having a more up-to-date picture of the local flood risk will allow citizens, with the help of community floodplain administrators, or FPAs, to make more informed decisions about where to build and to what height above the ground new building should be constructed.
  • You also may obtain contact information for the community FPAs from the "Community Information Tables" referenced above. 

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How You Should Use the New Flood Hazard Maps Once They Are Completed

  • When the FIRMs are adopted by the affected communities in each county, they will be used for flood insurance and floodplain management/development purposes.
  • Even before the FIRMs are adopted, FEMA encourages you to view the FIRM panels for your community at one of the locations cited above so that you can see how the flood hazards and associated risks have changed since FEMA issued the previously effective FIRMs.
  • You also may want to view the FIRMs to help you make more informed decisions about where to buy property or where to construct a new building.
  • Also, a property that may have been mapped as being in a low- or moderate-risk area (labeled Zone B, Zone C, or Zone X) on the previously effective FIRM may be shown in an SFHA, labeled Zone A, Zone AE, or Zone VE, on the updated FIRM. (The SFHA is the area that has a 1-percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year.) 
  • If your structure is mapped as being in an SFHA, and you choose to purchase flood insurance before the new FIRM becomes effective, you may be able to obtain a lower flood insurance premium rate than if you wait until after the new FIRM becomes effective. Therefore, you should discuss the benefits of purchasing an insurance policy now with your insurance agent or company. 
  • You should also be aware that the U.S. Congress has instituted some changes in how flood insurance premiums are calculated through passage of recent legislation, including some changes that went into effect as early as April 1, 2015.
  • FEMA has prepared a series of brochures and fact sheets to help explain the potential impacts of this legislation. Existing materials are accessible through the Flood Insurance Reform page on the FEMA website; as new materials are developed, they will also be posted here. 
  • Videos regarding the reform legislation also may be useful.
  • You should discuss these potential impacts with your insurance agent or company before taking any action.
  • Additional resources for flood insurance policyholders and potential policyholders is available from the Information for Policyholderspage on the FEMA  website and from the website.  page on the FEMA website and from the website

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Steps You Can Take

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Stay Up To Date Through the FEMA Blog and Social Media

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If You Need More Information

If you need more information or have a question, several other options are available.

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