Cover photo of a flood map

What Flood Maps Mean for You

What is a flood map?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) works with communities across the country to identify flood hazards and promote ways to reduce the impact of those and other hazards. Flood maps are used for floodplain management, flood insurance rating, and to determine flood insurance requirements.

Flood maps generally show a community’s flood zones, floodplain boundaries, and Base Flood Elevation; together they show the risk of flooding.

No matter where you live or work, some risk of flooding exists. To find your community’s flood map, visit the FEMA Flood Map Service Center, then type in your address and search. You may view, print and download flood maps, open an interactive flood map (if available), and view all products related to your community.

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Did you know? More than 20% of flood insurance claims come from outside high-risk areas.

Why do flood maps change?

Flood hazards change over time. How water flows and drains can change due to new land use and community development or by natural forces such as changing weather, terrain changes, or wildfires. To better reflect the current flood risk conditions, FEMA uses the latest technology to update and issue new flood maps nationwide to aid communities, property owners, businesses, and other stakeholders in taking steps to address flood risks.

Find out if your community has pending or preliminary map changes underway. When your community’s flood map is updated to reflect the current risks where you live, requirements for flood insurance coverage and the costs of your policy can also change. Want to receive an alert when your community’s flood map changes? Sign up to receive email notifications when products are updated.

What flood map changes mean for you

If your community is in the process of updating its current flood maps in partnership with FEMA, it’s important to know your flood risk so you can take steps to protect your home or business.

During a map change, your property may experience one of the following flood risk changes:

  • An increase in flood risk. If you’re experiencing an increase in flood risk – moving from the moderate- to low-risk flood area to the high-risk flood area – flood insurance is required if you have a federally backed mortgage. Contact your insurance agent to find the lowest cost option for your home. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for cost-savings. You must have a policy in place within 12 months of the new map effective date to take advantage of this option.
  • A decrease in flood risk. If you’re experiencing a decrease in flood risk – moving from the high-risk flood area to the moderate- to low-risk flood area – flood insurance is now optional but strongly recommended. Remember that more than 20% of all flood claims happen in moderate- to low-risk areas. Protect the life you’ve built with a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy starting at less than $325 a year.
  • High-risk changing to a higher-risk. Flood insurance costs are higher for higher-risk areas. However, there is a way to save money. If you purchase and maintain coverage before the map change takes effect, you’ll lock in your current lower-risk zone for future rating.
  • Flood risk stays the same. If there is no change in your flood risk, talk to your insurance agent to ensure your home and possessions are properly covered. Note that most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage due to flooding. If you don't have coverage, it’s critical that you learn about your flood risk and take steps now to protect yourself.

Be sure to learn more about your flood risk and secure the insurance protection you need.

Where can I learn more?

Get answers to your flood map questions online or by talking with someone from FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center.