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The Different 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 zoneā€“it's just a question of whether you live in a low, moderate, or high risk area.

Flood Basics

Risk Level Category 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.
  • 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 lower risk.
  • Insurance Note: Lower-cost preferred rate flood insurance policies (known as Preferred Risk Policies) are often an option in these areas.