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Information for Insurance, Lending, and Real Estate Industry Professionals

Find Your Flood Map
 

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Information For

The links below can provide a wealth of useful information for insurance, lending, and real estate industry agents and companies regarding the regionwide coastal analysis and mapping effort undertaken by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in partnership with Federal, State, and regional entities; county and community officials; and private-sector engineering companies.

What You and Your Clients Should Know About the Coastal Engineering Analyses and Maps

  • As the coastal engineering analyses are completed, new or updated versions of digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are produced and presented to community officials and the public at formal meetings and open houses in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. (For more information on the meetings and open houses, see the FEMA Coastal Flood Risk Study Meetings fact sheet.) 
  • Paper copies of the Preliminary versions of the new or updated FIRMs and the associated Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports should be available for viewing at the "Community Map Repository," or "CMR," for each community. 
  • Information on how to locate the CMR and where to find the digital versions of the new or updated FIRMs and FIS reports and earlier versions of the maps and reports is provided in the "Where To View or Download Maps and Reports" section below.
  • The new or updated FIRMs and FIS reports provide more up-to-date and accurate flood hazard information in the coastal areas of each county.
  • The new or updated FIRMs are a vital resource for insurance, lending, and real estate industry professionals who are active in communities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
  • The coastal engineering analyses and resulting new or updated FIRM panels and FIS report materials are the result of a collaborative effort between and among:
  • The new or updated FIRMs and FIS reports provide more detailed, reliable, and current flood hazard data in digital format.
  • With a more up-to-date picture of their community's flood hazards and associated risk, community officials and citizens may make more informed decisions on where to build and to what height above the ground new buildings should be constructed to minimize losses.
  • For some mapped areas, the risk may be higher than some homeowners or business owners thought; for other mapped areas, the risk may be lower.
  • Although the information presented on the new or updated FIRMs and in the new or updated FIS reports is more accurate, some community officials and property owners may not agree with all of the flood hazard information presented. (See Criteria for Appeals of Flood Insurance Rate Maps.)  

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How You and Your Clients Should Use the New Maps and Reports

For Insurance Industry Professionals

  • When the new or updated FIRMs become effective, flood insurance requirements for some clients will change.
  • Options exist that will allow property owners to save money while still protecting their property.
  • It is important for agents and other insurance professionals to know when the changes are taking place and when they become effective.
  • Insurance agents and other insurance professionals should be prepared to discuss options with their clients based on whether:
    • Their clients already have flood insurance policies;
    • The new or updated FIRMs show their structure in a high-risk Special Flood Hazard Area, a moderate-risk area, or a low-risk area;
    • The zone designation for the structure on the new, updated FIRM is the same as the zone designation on the previously effective FIRM; and
    • The Base Flood Elevation for their property has changed.
  • For the latest information on the effective date for each new or updated FIRM, insurance professionals should visit the appropriate State or Florida Study Area page on this Web Portal. 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.
  • Fact Sheets and other resources that insurance industry professionals will find useful are accessible through the Information for Insurance Professionals page on the FEMA website, the FloodSmart.gov website, and an array of links provided on the Coastal Study Resources page.

For Lending Industry Professionals

  • Lenders notified borrowers about the flood hazard zone information shown on the previously effective FIRMs.
  • Lenders also will want to make borrowers aware of upcoming changes in the flood hazard information reflected on the new or updated FIRMs.
  • Lenders also should inform loan applicants of any flood insurance requirements currently associated with the property.
  • As the new or updated FIRMs become effective, lenders should recognize that flood insurance requirements may have changed for some borrowers, even if the flood hazard zone designation has not changed.
  • Both the lenders and the borrowers need to be aware of when the new or updated FIRMs will become final, or "effective", and what the potential effects will be on the flood insurance requirements.
  • Knowing the effective date of the new or updated FIRMs and potential effects of the new or updated FIRMs will help make for a smoother closing.
  • With the assistance of knowledgeable insurance professionals, the lender and borrower can assure the borrower's home or business is properly insured.
  • For the latest information on the effective date for each FIRM, lending industry professionals should visit the appropriate State or Florida Study Area page on this Web Portal. 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 links on the Information for Florida page.
  • Fact Sheets and other resources that lending industry professionals will find useful are accessible through the Information for Lenders page on the FEMA website, the FloodSmart.gov website, and a host of links provided on the  and a host of links provided on the Coastal Study Resources page.

For Real Estate Industry Professionals

  • Home sellers and their agents should always tell a prospective buyer if the property is now, or will be, shown in a high-risk Special Flood Hazard Area on the new or updated FIRM.
  • To help determine the flood risk to a property, real estate agents and companies can locate the property on the Preliminary or final, effective version of the appropriate FIRM panel.
  • Paper copies of the Preliminary and effective FIRM panels should be available in each community at the "Community Map Repository," or "CMR."
  • Information on how to access digital versions of the Preliminary and final effective FIRMs and FIS reports and on how to locate the CMR in each community is provided in the "Where To View or Download Maps and Reports" section below. 
  • Home buyers and their agents also need to be aware of any upcoming changes in flood risk status and the flood insurance requirements associated with a property for the reasons cited above.
  • Many new property owners can save some money if they purchase their insurance policies before the effective date of the new or updated FIRM. 
  • Fact Sheets and other resources that real estate industry professionals will find useful are accessible through the FloodSmart.gov website and through a host of links provided on the Coastal Study Resources page.  

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Where To View or Download Maps and Reports

  • Communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program are to keep paper file copies of the FIRMs and FIS reports at their CMRs. Some States and many counties and communities also make the FIRMs and FIS reports available through a State-, county-, or community-maintained website.

  • To locate the CMR, please see the "Community Information" tables that are accessible through links on each dedicated State or Study Area page on this Web Portal or through links in the "Community Contacts" section of the Coastal Study Contacts page.

  • You may view or download digital versions of the new Preliminary FIRM panels and FIS reports from the FEMA Flood Map Service Center Website.

  • You also may view or download current effective FIRMs and associated FIS reports or order digital copies of the previously effective FIRMs and FIS reports from the FEMA Flood Map Service Center website

  • You also may contact a trained Map Specialist in the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) for assistance. The FMIX staff can be reached by telephone, toll free, at 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627), or by email at FEMAMapSpecialist@riskmapcds.com

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Flood Insurance Requirements and Options

  • As the new or updated FIRMs become effective, flood insurance requirements may change.
  • As shown in the chart below, options do exist to save money while protecting property.
  • By sharing these options, insurance, lending, and real estate industry professionals can help their clients be better prepared and make more informed decisions.
If Maps Show... These Requirements, Options, and Savings Apply
Change from low-risk (Zone C or Zone X unshaded) or moderate-risk (Zone B or Zone X shaded) zone to a high-risk SFHA (Zone A, Zone AE, or Zone VE) Flood insurance is mandatory. Flood insurance will be federally required for most mortgage holders. Insurance costs may rise to reflect the true (high) risk.

"Grandfathering" can offer savings. The NFIP has grandfathering rules to recognize policyholders who have built in compliance with the NFIP map in effect at the time of construction (i.e., the previously effective FIRM) or who maintain continuous coverage. Sometimes, though, using the new FIRM can actually result in a lower premium than by grandfathering. For up-to-date information on the grandfathering rules, please visit the FloodSmart.gov website.  
Change from high-risk to low- or moderate-risk zone Flood insurance is optional, but recommended. The risk in the area has only been reduced, not removed. Flood insurance can still be obtained at lower rates. About 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from low- and moderate-risk areas.

Conversion offers savings. An existing policy can be converted to a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy, if the building qualifies. See additional information about the Preferred Risk Policy Extension below.
Increase in the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) An increase in BFE can result in higher flood insurance premiums; however, grandfathering can offer savings. The NFIP "grandfathering" rules are designed to recognize policyholders who have built in compliance with the NFIP map in effect at the time of construction (i.e., the previously effective FIRM). This could result in significant savings. For the latest information on the grandfathering rules, please see the 2017 FEMA fact sheet on the topic.
No change in risk level No change in flood insurance rates. However, this is a good time to review the coverage for a home or business and ensure that the building and contents are adequately covered.

 

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What You and Your Clients Should Know About the Preferred Risk Policy Eligibility Extension

  • FEMA has good news for property owners who have been newly mapped into a  high-risk flood zone.
  • FEMA has introduced cost-saving insurance options through the NFIP that may benefit property owners. 
  • If a building has been newly mapped into a high-risk flood zone, also known as a Special Flood Hazard Area, or SFHA, the property owner may be eligible for significant savings with the NFIP preferred risk option.
  • Policies for insured structures that are being remapped from a moderate-to-low risk flood zone to a high-risk flood zone (i.e., an SFHA) will be eligible for preferred risk premium rates for 1 year after the new or updated FIRM becomes effective. The flood insurance premium rates at renewal will increase no more than 18 percent each year. To learn more about the preferried risk option, please see the fact sheets for homeowners and renters and for business owners.
  • To learn more about how FEMA is easing the financial burden for eligible residents and business owners, please visit the How Can I Pay Less for Flood Insurance? page on the FloodSmart.gov website.
  • 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. FEMA has prepared a series of brochures and fact sheets to help explain the potential impacts of this legislation; the brochures and fact sheets are available from a dedicated web page.
  • Videos regarding the recent legislation also may be useful for you and your customers. 

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Stay Up To Date Through the FEMA Blog and Social Media  

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For Other Available Resources

Additional useful FEMA resources (e.g., fact sheets, information sheets, flyers, brochures) are accessible through the Coastal Study Resources page of this Web Portal.  Links to other resources are provided on dedicated pages for other Federal agencies, State agencies, Florida Water Management Districts, and other stakeholder organizations. FEMA will update this inventory of resources that appears on these pages regularly, so please check back often for the latest materials.

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For Even More Information

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

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