Flood Map Modernization

Understanding the Effects of Map Changes

Map Modernization Phases

Digital Flood Insurance Maps


Flood Hazard Information Request - County

Flood Hazard Information Request - Nogales



December – March 2009
90-day Public Comment Period (appeals and protests must be filed during this time).

Spring-Summer 2009
Review and resolution of appeals and protests by FEMA.

December 2009
Maps Revised based upon accepted appeals and protests.

January-March 2010
Second 90-day public reviews and comment period.

April-June 2010
Review and resolution of appeals and protests by FEMA.

June 2011
Final Maps issued by FEMA with Letter of Final Determination; county and communities have 6 months to adopt the new flood maps.

December 2, 2011
New digital flood maps become effective.

Flood Map Modernization: Understanding the Effects of Map Changes



Flood Maps Are Changing

Everyone has some level of flood risk. New flood hazard maps provide an updated picture of what that risk is. The level of flood risk can be different from neighborhood to neighborhood and even property to property. Homeowners, renters and business owners will want to learn how their risk is currently shown, and how it will be shown when the new flood hazard maps (Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps, or DFIRMs) become effective.

Insuring Against Changing Risks

When properties are mapped into high-risk areas (shown as flood zones labeled with letters starting with “A”), construction restrictions and flood insurance requirements may apply. In these areas, known as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), if a property owner has a mortgage through a federally regulated or insured lender, flood insurance will be required once the maps become effective. Some lenders may decide to institute such requirements before the date the maps become effective. Property owners who obtain and maintain flood coverage before the effective date may be able to save through a process known as grandfathering. Insurance agents can provide more information and explain the various flood insurance options.

When properties are mapped from high-risk areas into low- or moderate-risk areas (a zone labeled with the letter “X”), flood insurance will no longer be required once the maps become effective. However, the flood risk has only been reduced; it has not been removed. Property owners can maintain coverage by converting to a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy (PRP), with premiums starting as low as $119 per year. Again, insurance agents can explain the flood insurance options.

Flood Insurance Requirements and Options

When the new maps are adopted, flood insurance requirements will change. However, options exist that will allow property owners to save money while still protecting their property.

If Maps Show…

These Requirements, Options And Savings Apply

Change from low or moderate flood risk to high risk

Flood insurance is mandatory. Flood insurance will be federally required for most mortgage holders.* Insurance costs may rise to reflect the true (high) risk.

Grandfathering offers savings. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has “grandfathering” rules to recognize policyholders who have built in compliance with the flood map or who maintain continuous coverage. An insurance agent can provide more details on how to save.

Change from high flood risk to low or moderate risk

Flood insurance is optional, but recommended. The risk has only been reduced, not removed. Flood insurance can still be obtained, at lower rates. Twenty to twenty-five percent of all flood insurance claims come from low- to moderate-risk areas.

Conversion offers savings. An existing policy can be converted to a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy.

No change in risk level

No change in insurance rates. Property owners should talk to their insurance agent to learn their specific risk and take steps to protect their property and assets.

Flood Risks and Flood Zones

Flood maps refer to areas of high, medium or low risk as “flood hazard zones” and the zones of highest risk as "Special Flood Hazard Areas."

Risk Level

Flood Hazard Zone

High Flood Risk

AE, A, AH or AO Zone. These properties have a 1 percent chance of flooding in any year — and a 26 percent chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage.

VE or V Zone. These properties have a 1 percent chance of flooding in any year and also face hazards associated with coastal storm waves.

Insurance note: High-risk areas are called Special Flood Hazard Areas, and flood insurance is mandatory for most mortgage holders.*

Low or Moderate Flood Risk

Shaded X Zone. These properties are outside the high-risk zones. The risk is reduced but not removed.

X Zone. These properties are in an area of overall lower risk.

Insurance note: Lower-cost preferred rate flood insurance policies (known as Preferred Risk Policies) are often an option in these areas.

Undetermined Risk

D Zone. The Zone D designation is used for areas where there are possible but undetermined flood hazards. In areas designated as Zone D, no analysis of flood hazards has been conducted. Flood insurance is optional and available

* Required for loans provided by federally regulated and insured lenders as well as Government Sponsored Enterprises such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
For General Information, call:
Santa Cruz Flood Control District
Open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Monday through Thursday