What FEMA's Flood Insurance Maps Mean For You

Flood insurance maps are a great tool for consumers, however, you must know how to read them for proper flood protection coverage. FEMA updates their flood insurance maps periodically, in an effort to provide more information about areas that are susceptible to flooding. The flood insurance maps, or Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are maps that determine the flood risk to your home or business.

Get Adequate Protection
The biggest benefit of a flood insurance map is that you will know the most current assessment of flood potential. The map does not account for natural disasters, but will give a good overview relating to the topography of your home. Being properly informed allows for better flood insurance coverage needs.

Easy Access
The FEMA flood insurance maps are available online. The digital maps give a detailed look at the floodplains and the exact place positioning of your home, according to the flood data. You will need to know your legal address or tax numbers to get the specific details about your home.

Better Planning
City planners and local officials can benefit from the FEMA maps because they can plan for future flooding events. Also, city planners can properly construct new buildings to help avoid disasters or structural damage.

Increase in Premiums
While flood insurance maps generally assist, they can also be a financial burden. Insurance agencies also have direct online access to the flood maps and will be able to keep up to date with the latest information. Increased risk can lead to increased premiums. However, flood insurance has "grandfather" laws in effect. Grandfather laws state if you already have flood insurance, your premium cannot be increased, regardless of any new flood rating reports. The National Flood Insurance Program has done a lot of work in this area to make sure people get the protection they need.

If you are purchasing or refinancing a home, you will be required to secure flood insurance, if the property is located within a flood zone. The insurance premium will vary depending on the risk.

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