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Flood Resilience for Homeowners, Renters & Business Owners

Learn About Your Community's Flood Risk

Understand Your Property's Unique Flood Risk

Take Action to Reduce Your Risk

Flooding remains the country’s number one disaster and can potentially affect everyone and every property.  This page is a guide to help people to understand and navigate flood risk and provide the needed resources and information to homeowners, renters, and business owners to:

  • R: Reduce Your Risk
  • I: Insure Your Risk
  • S: Share Information on Risk
  • K: Know Your Risk and Your Community's Risk

Below you will find information and resources about protecting your family and property from flooding. You may enter a specific street address you are interested in learning more about and find relevant risks and floodplain information in that area. Basic information about flood maps, flood zones, flood risk, and flood insurance can help you take action to reduce risk.

Learn About Your Community's Flood Risk

FEMA Flood Hazard and Risk Identification Projects

By understanding flood maps, you can broaden your understanding and knowledge of your flood zones and make more informed decisions to reduce your risk.

Visit the Flood Map Service Center to learn more about your maps and your community. This includes links to free resources like flood maps where you can learn more about your community’s risk.

Enter the street address you are interested in learning more about and find out what flood zone it is in.

Flood Zones

Flood zones are geographic areas that FEMA has defined according to varying levels of flood risk.

Use the dropdown feature below to learn more about your flood zone designation.

Definitions of Flood Zone Designations

Zone A

Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding and a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30‐year mortgage. Because detailed analyses are not performed for such areas; no depths or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.

Zone A1-30

These are known as numbered A Zones (e.g., A7 or A14). This is the base floodplain where the FIRM shows a BFE (old format).

Zone A99

Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding that will be protected by a Federal flood control system where construction has reached specified legal requirements. No depths or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.

Find your flood zone on your community’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM).  Visit the Map Service Center, type in your address, and click on the dynamic map button to view your FIRMette.

To learn more about FIRMettes and how to create one, view the How to Find Your Flood Map and Make a FIRMette Tutorial

If you have questions about flood maps and insurance, you may contact the FEMA Mapping and Insurance eXchange (FMIX) to speak to a Customer Care Center Specialist at 1-877-336-2627 or FEMA-FMIX@fema.dhs.gov.

National Risk Index for Natural Hazards

The National Risk Index is an online tool that visualizes community-level risk.  It’s the first tool of its kind that identifies communities nationwide most at risk to 18 natural hazards and shows how certain factors such as social vulnerability, expected annual losses, and community resilience affect those risks. 

The National Risk Index is designed to make it easier for communities themselves to be more informed of the risks they face.  The National Risk Index helps communities to prioritize the projects that make the most sense for them and identify which ones are most likely to mitigate disaster costs and suffering.

To learn more about the National Risk Index for Natural Hazard, please visit the National Risk Index. You can use the interactive National Risk Index Map to visually explore natural hazard risk data across the United States.

Enter the street address you are interested in learning more about and discover the natural hazard risk in that area. The interactive web maps provide data at the county and Census tract level.

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This is an image of the National Risk Index homepage. Picture is a cloudy sky over mountains and greenspace. Text reads: The National Risk Index. Discover the landscape of natural hazard risk in the United States. The National Risk Index Map: Use the interactive National Risk Index map to visually explore natural hazard risk data across the United States. What is the National Risk Index: Gain insight into what the National Risk Index is, how it's made possible, and how it can help.
Click to access the full-sized image.

Flood Risk and Endangered Species Habitat (FRESH) Mapping Tool

When you’re figuring out your community’s floodplain management program, it is important to also consider species conservation. The Flood Risk and Endangered Species Habitat (FRESH) mapping tool provides the species range and SFHA data needed to integrate wildlife conservation activities into your community's floodplain management program.

You can use the FRESH mapping tool to enter a street address and learn more about what threatened and endangered species and critical habitat may be at that location.

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Sample view from the Flood Risk and Endangered Species Habitat web-based mapping tool. Picture shows map, flood guide, and flood hazard areas.
Sample view from the Flood Risk and Endangered Species Habitat web-based mapping tool. Click to access the full-sized image.

To learn more about reducing flood risk, lowering flood insurance premiums, and conserving species and their habitats while enjoying the benefits of naturally functioning floodplains, visit FEMA’s Floodplains and Wildlife Conservation webpage.

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FEMA also provides flood hazard and risk data products that help guide mitigation actions.

Understand Your Property's Unique Flood Risk

FEMA has spent decades investing in high quality data to help inform flood risk and set flood insurance rates.  The flood insurance premium methodology leverages that data – along with cutting edge technology – to obtain a better understanding of a single property’s unique flood risk and incorporate this information into its methodology for pricing flood insurance premiums.

The flood insurance premium methodology uses several flood risk variables when considering risk, including distance from flooding source, flood frequencies beyond the 1% annual chance flood event, river overflow, storm surge, coastal erosion, heavy rainfall, and property characteristics (such as distance to water source, elevation, and the cost to rebuild).  

Watch the video below to learn more about how flood variables impact your flood risk, and cost to insure.

It is important to identify your risk.  When working to understand and address a property’s flood risk, you may want to consider contacting an insurance agent at a participating NFIP insurance provided to find out how this relates to your specific property. Based on what you learn, you may decide if insurance is the best protection for your investment.  To find a participating National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) insurance provider in your state or territory, who can explain how the variables impact your risk, visit the Find a Flood Insurance Provider website.

To learn more about what mitigation actions you may want to consider to lower the risk of flooding, visit Reduce Flood Risk. Using this Reduce Flood Risk Tool, you will answer a series of five questions, and receive a detailed list of mitigation options recommended to reduce flood risk.

This section contains references and links to non-federal resources and organizations. This information is meant solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be an endorsement of any non-federal entity by FEMA, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or the U.S. government.

Take Action to Reduce Your Risk

There are many things you can do now to reduce the risk to your family and property from flooding:

  • Reduce your risk from flooding by buying or building outside of high-risk flood zones (areas beginning with the letters A or V on FEMA flood maps) or consider making changes to your home to protect it against future floods.

    Learn more through the following resources:

Section 3.1.1 in Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your Home from Flooding

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  • Be prepared. Make sure you have a plan and supplies in place for when a flood happens. Visit the Ready.gov Floods page to learn what to do before, during and after a flood to keep you and your family safe.
  • Buy flood insurance. Even if you are not located in a high-risk flood zone, remember that flooding can happen anywhere. One of the best things you can do when preparing for flooding is to buy flood insurance. Flood insurance is available to all property owners, renters, and business owners —even properties outside of the high-risk areas. To get more specific information about your property’s flood risk and the coverages and cost of flood insurance, please contact an insurance agent.
  • Learn about historical flood risk and costs by viewing historical flood impact data to see how floods have impacted your state, according to data from  the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Storm Events database.
  • If you live in a coastal area, you should consider protecting your home against coastal erosion.

Before making changes to your home, contact your community's floodplain administrator (often an official in the zoning or planning department) to understand building and permitting requirements in your community. They can also provide information about federal and state grants and funding that may be available to help you too.