This page provides Risk MAP program and flood hazard mapping related information as it relates to real estate, lending and insurance professionals.
As part of the Risk MAP program, FEMA is working with communities across the country to develop flood hazard maps and other products to accurately show flood risk and to help reduce that risk. You, as a real estate, lending or insurance professional, also play an important role in reducing the impact of flooding in the communities you serve. When it comes to flooding, FEMA recommends that you:
- Know the Risk from flooding in areas you serve;
- Know Your Role when it comes to informing your clients about local flood risk and enforcing mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP); and
- Take Action to make sure you and your clients are fully informed about flood risk and flood insurance requirements in the areas you serve.
Know the Risk
As a real estate, insurance or lending professional, your clients rely on you to inform them of potential risks to their current or prospective home, including flood risk. Make sure you understand the risk from flooding in areas you serve, if flood maps will be changing in the area and what this means for flood safety and insurance requirements. You can find out a property’s flood risk in the following ways:
- View the effective flood map for your location by visiting the FEMA Flood Map Service Center. Read the Product Overview page for different viewing options through Google Earth and the FEMA GeoPlatform.
- Contact your local floodplain administrator (often an official in the zoning or planning department) to learn more about flood risks in your area. Community officials can tell you whether a flood risk project is underway which affects the community.
Know Your Role
As the professionals that home and business owners look to for sound advice when it comes to matters dealing with their largest financial investment, their home or business, it is important for you to understand flood risk in areas you serve, the impact of upcoming map changes and how these may affect your clients.
Congress mandates that federally regulated or insured lenders require flood insurance for all buildings located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) with a federally backed loan. Because insurance agents agree to sell and service flood insurance to property owners, both insurance agents and lenders play an important role in this process.
For more information on the NFIP and resources to assist your clients, visit FloodSmart.gov. Resources that can help you include specialized toolkits, customizable fact sheets and interactive learning tools about flood hazards, flood map changes and flood insurance.
Read below for more ways you can take action.
Real Estate Agents
- Help Protect Your Customer’s New Home provides information you should know about flood risk and flood insurance requirements and what to say to clients. Give the Protect Your Home postcard directly to your clients to help them talk with their insurance agent about flood insurance.
- Some states and local communities have specific disclosure requirements about whether a property is located in a flood zone. Contact your local realtors’ association to learn more.
- Buildings in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) must be built to minimize future flood damage. At a minimum, residences must be built so that the lowest floor (including basement) is elevated to or above the Base Flood Elevation. Other requirements may apply in coastal areas. Make sure your clients know this if they are considering developing land in the SFHA. Also be aware that existing buildings in the SFHA not constructed in accordance with such standards will carry high flood insurance premiums.
Insurance Industry Professionals
- Make sure you are including accurate flood hazard zone classifications in all insurance rating and property disclosure forms for commercial and residential properties. FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center website contains the latest flood maps available and includes search options by address.
- Get information about upcoming training, answers to common client questions and resources about writing policies, managing claims and marketing your business through FloodSmart’s Agent website.
- Significant changes are occurring to the NFIP and flood insurance requirements as a result of recent legislation. Make sure you understand how these changes may impact your clients.
Lending Industry Professionals
- You, as a lender, must inform loan applicants of any flood insurance requirements for a property. You should also make sure people are aware of any upcoming changes to flood insurance requirements as a result of map changes underway in the community.
- Remember that it is your role as a lender to enforce the federal flood insurance requirement for properties with federally backed loans. Failure to do so will result in penalties including significant fines.
- The NFIP offers training for lenders on a variety of topics. To receive advance notice when new training sessions are scheduled, sign up for NFIP Training Updates.
More Resources for Real Estate, Lending and Insurance Professionals
- Risk MAP Program
- Risk MAP Project Lifecycle
- FEMA Flood Hazard Mapping
- Flood Hazard Mapping: Information for Insurance Professionals and Lenders
- National Flood Insurance Program
- Living with Levees: Information for Real Estate, Lending and Insurance Professionals
- Coastal Flood Risk: Information for Real Estate, Lending and Insurance Professionals
- Answers to Questions About the NFIP, FEMA Publication F-084
- FEMA Flood Map Service Center
For flood insurance related questions, contact FloodSmart at 1-888-379-9531. For flood mapping-related questions, please contact a Map Specialist at the FEMA Map Information eXchange through the following methods: