Monday, March 25, 2019 / by Skye Leber
There are four floodplain designations used on FEMA maps to identify the potential for flooding in an area, and they fall into one of two categories: high-risk zones and low-risk zones.
- High-risk zones—High flood insurance premiums. Federally related lenders must require that borrowers buy flood insurance if the collateral property is located in one of these zones.
- "V" zone stands for velocity zone. These areas are on coastlines, rivers, and bays. These properties are most likely to flood and have the highest flood insurance premiums. FEMA requires that properties built in a "V" zone elevate the living space above ground level. The lower level must be enclosed only with breakaway materials, not permanent construction. It may not have electrical equipment, electrical outlets, or plumbing fixtures. A licensee who lists a home in a "V" zone must be very cautious if it appears that the owner has performed illegal construction in the lower level.
- "A" zone means that there is a 1% chance the property will flood within a given year or once every 100 years.
- Low-risk zones—Lower flood insurance premiums. Sometimes lenders will require insurance if the property has flooded in the past.
- "B" zone is in the 500-year floodplain, meaning the property is likely to flood once in 500 years.
- "X" zones are not likely to flood.
Each FEMA floodplain zone comes with its own minimum construction codes that must be included in the local building codes. Local governments may not issue a building permit unless the construction meets FEMA standards.
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Information provided by FEMA
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