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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.
Several areas of flood hazards are commonly identified on these maps. One of these areas is the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), which is defined as an area of land that would be inundated by a flood having a 1% chance of occurring in any given year (also referred to as the base flood or 100-year flood). The 1% annual chance standard was chosen after considering various alternatives.
The standard constitutes a reasonable compromise between the need for building restrictions to minimize potential loss of life and property and the economic benefits to be derived from floodplain development. Development may take place within the SFHA, provided that development complies with local floodplain management ordinances, which must meet the minimum federal requirements. Flood insurance is required for insurable structures within the SFHA to protect federal financial investments and assistance used for acquisition and/or construction purposes within communities participating in the NFIP.
Note: Buildings and structures are insurable. The National Flood Insurance Program does not insure land.
If fill has been added and removes a structure or property from a floodplain, you may file for a Letter of Map Revision-based on Fill to consider the elevations.
FEMA encourages communities to use the Elevation Certificate developed by FEMA to fulfill this requirement since it also can be used by the property owner to obtain flood insurance. Communities participating in the Community Rating System (CRS) are required to use the FEMA Elevation Certificate.