Question: I am thinking of purchasing a home in Hampton Roads, Virginia. I know that there are certain areas in Hampton, James City County, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Poquoson, York County and other nearby areas are prone to flooding. How can I find out if a home I am interested in is in a flood zone ? How can I find out how much flood insurance will cost ? What are flood zones?
Flood zones are land areas identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Each flood zone describes that land area in terms of its risk of flooding. Everyone lives in a flood zone—it’s just a question of whether you live in a low, moderate, or high risk area.
How do I find out whether or not a property is at risk of flooding, and if it is, at what level?
Go to the website http://www.floodsmart.gov and fill out the Flood Risk Profile on the left hand site of the site.
What is a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)?
Land areas that are at high risk for flooding are called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), or floodplains. These areas are indicated on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).
A home located within an SFHA has a 26 percent chance of suffering flood damage during the term of a 30-year mortgage.
What is a Non-Special Flood Hazard Area (NSFHA)?
A Non-Special Flood Hazard Area (NSFHA) is an area that is in a low-to-moderate risk flood zone (Zones B, C, X Pre- and Post-FIRM). An NSFHA is not in any immediate danger from flooding caused by overflowing rivers or hard rains.
However, it’s important to note that structures within a NSFHA are still at risk. In fact, one out of four floods occurs in an NSFHA! Get the facts before you decide that your property is not at risk.
Is there a special risk-rating procedure for coastal high hazard areas (V zones)?
Yes. When calculating the risk of a V zone property, the formula takes into account the ability of the building to withstand the impact of wave action.