Flood Zone A
What Is Flood Zone A?
Some areas are more prone to flooding than other areas, and that’s true for places designated as Zone A. Flood zone A refers to low-lying areas close to lakes, ponds and other large bodies of water. Because of its low elevation and proximity to water, flood zone A is a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as designated by FEMA’s flood maps.
SFHAs have a 1 percent annual chance of flooding (this is also called a 100-year flood or base flood). In other words, homes in these areas face a one percent risk of serious flooding each year. Over the course of a 30-year mortgage, there is a 26 percent chance of flooding.
Zone A is further broken down into other flood zones that are named to designate how the area might be flooded: Zone AE, AH, AO, and A99. All zones in Zone A have the same base flood insurance rates, but premiums vary based on the home’s unique qualities and elevation.
What Is Zone A’s Base Flood Elevation?
Zone A doesn’t have a determined base flood elevation (BFE), which can make new construction in these areas tricky. Base flood elevation is the height to which floodwaters are expected to rise during a 100-year flood. This is an important benchmark when building new structures with flood-proofing features. BFE is also used to calculate flood insurance premiums. Generally, the higher the BFE, the more likely the area is to face severe flooding, and the higher the premium.
Even without parcel by parcel mapping, this zone is considered to be a volatile area because it’s near lakes, rivers, streams, or other large bodies of water.
Are Homes in Flood Zone A Required to Have Flood Insurance?
It depends on your mortgage. If you have a federally backed mortgage, like an FHA, USDA, or VA loan, you’re required to have flood insurance if your home is in a Special Flood Hazard Area. That includes flood zone A.
While a 1 percent chance of a flood in any given year doesn’t sound like a big risk, lenders know that major storms and hurricanes are causing more and more flooding each year. You’ll want to make sure you protect your home and what’s inside.
Keep in mind that it only takes an inch of standing water to do thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home and your belongings. Even if flood insurance isn’t required by your lender, if you live in Zone A, it’s smart to have flood insurance.
Remember, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover water damage from floods. It can cover damage from burst pipes in your house but not damage from storm surges or rising water.
The NFIP vs. Private Flood Insurance
Many assume that because the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is backed by a federal agency, its insurance is comprehensive. But the truth is the policy can be limiting, starting with what the NFIP counts as a flood. A certain number of homes in a specific area must be affected by the same problem. If your home is an isolated incident, your NFIP policy may not cover the flood damage.
Additionally, the NFIP policy has a 30-day waiting period for its coverage to take effect and only covers the home up to $250,000 and belongings to $100,000.
By contrast, our flood insurance endorsement can be added to your homeowners policy immediately – there’s no waiting period. Plus, we match your flood limits to your homeowners policy limits so you get more coverage.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost in Zone A?
Our flood coverage is cheaper than the NFIP in most of Florida. For example, for flood zone A, our average premium is $241. The NFIP’s average for flood zone A is $2,841 a year.
Tips for Homeowners in Flood Zone A
If your home is in flood zone A, it’s smart to:
- Make sure the lowest floor elevation is at or above the base flood elevation.
- Don’t use enclosed areas below the lowest floor as living space.
- Keep all electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning equipment above the BFE.