FIRMs are used by communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to regulate development in high risk flooding areas. Building standards for a particular structure will depend on the type of flood zone the structure is located in (e.g. VE, AE, AO, A, X, etc.) and may change if the flood zone changes for the structure. The GLCFS includes the development of regulatory “VE Zones” and informational Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LiMWA) areas, also known as Coastal A Zones. Both zones identify higher wave action that can cause additional damage to flooded structures. Because of the higher risk, structures in these zones are subject to more restrictive building standards to ensure the safety of residents of the dwelling. To learn more about these new flood zones and how they will impact building standards and floodplain management in the Great Lakes region, please refer to this FEMA factsheet.
The finalized effective FIRM determines where flood insurance is required for federally backed mortgages and the insurance rates that will apply. The flood risk (flood zone and the structure’s lowest flood elevation in relation to the 1-percent annual chance flood) for any structure as identified on the FIRM will determine insurance requirements and rates. For more information about flood insurance rates and requirements, contact your local insurance agent or visit the NFIP’s website.
Remember, even if your structure is not located in a flood zone on the maps, your property is still at risk from flooding: Twenty (20) percent of all flood insurance claims are located outside Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA). Flood insurance is available at a discount outside a SFHA. Consider purchasing flood insurance today to make sure your home or business is protected. Learn more by contacting your insurance agent or visiting the NFIP’s website.