What do I need to know if my building is in the floodplain?

Buildings in special flood hazard areas shown on Flood insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) may be damaged when flooding occurs. Some buildings flood frequently, while others get damaged by only the more severe events.

If your home is in the 1% annual chance floodplain, it has a 26% chance of getting flooded over a 30-year period. This means it is about five times more likely to get damaged by flood than by a severe fire.

You should know that usually you can get flood insurance, if available, by contacting your regular homeowners insurance agent. FEMA and others recommend that everyone in special flood hazard areas buy flood insurance. If you buy a home or refinance your home, your mortgage lender or banker may require flood insurance. But, even if not required, it is a good investment especially in areas that flood frequently or where flood forces are likely to cause major damage.

Another thing you should know is that your community may require permits for remodeling, improving, expanding, or rebuilding your building. In order to reduce long-term flood damage, the National Flood Insurance Program requires that buildings that are substantially improved or substantially damaged become compliant.

This means if the cost of the improvements or repairs is more than 50% of the market value of the building, you will have to make it compliant with the rules for floodplain construction. Usually, this means lifting it off the foundation and elevating it above the predicted flood level. If you carry a flood insurance policy and have major flood damage, you may be eligible for up to $20,000 more to help pay for the cost of this work.

Show All Answers

1. What do I need to know if my building is in the floodplain?
2. What documents does FEMA need from my insurance company?
3. What is a flood?
4. What is a Special Flood Hazard Area?
5. What is a Flood Insurance Study (FIS)?
6. What elevation is used when rating a structure for a flood insurance policy?
7. What is earthen fill and how does it affect the floodplain?
8. What is an elevation certificate?