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What Is Flood Zone AE? Your Risk and Insurance Costs

The Federal Emergency Management Agency developed flood zones to identify flooding risks different communities face. Flood Zone AE has a high flooding risk due to their low elevations and proximity to floodplains, lakes and rivers.

Although standard homeowners insurance pays for damages from windstorms, fires and other perils, home insurance doesn't cover flood damage. Flood Zone AE is a Special Flood Hazard Area that has a 1% chance of an annual flood, or 26% during a 30 year mortgage period. FEMA requires Zone AE residents with federal mortgages to buy a flood policy.

Below, you'll learn about Flood Zone AE and the risks you should consider when shopping for flood insurance coverage.

What Is Flood Zone AE?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency developed flood zones to determine each community's flood risks. Flood Zone AE are low-lying areas that have a high risk, because of their proximity to floodplains, rivers and lakes. Zone AE replaces Zones A1-A30 on FEMA's new Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) format.

Flood Zone AE locations have a high flooding risk.

Zone AE is a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), which has a 1% annual flood risk, or a 26% chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. This 1% probability is FEMA's base flood or 100-year flood value.

FEMA also assigns a base flood elevation (BFE) to Zone AE areas. BFEs are the heights floodwaters may reach during base flood periods. Locations with high BFEs have greater flood risks and pay higher flood insurance premiums.

Additionally, Flood Zone AE structures must adhere to the following codes by U.S. law:

  • The structures' lowest level must meet or exceed the BFE.

  • Enclosed areas (below the BFE) can't be used as living spaces.

  • Electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems must be above the BFE.

FEMA issues Elevation Certificates that indicate structures meet its standards. ECs can be used for flood insurance discounts.

Insuring Flood Zone AE

Are homes in Flood Zone AE required to have flood insurance?

By federal law, Zone AE homeowners must buy flood insurance because of the high flood risk. Zone AE businesses and homeowners who have federally backed mortgages are also required to get flood coverage.

Is my house in Flood Zone AE?

FEMA's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) can identify your home's specific flood risk and includes your community's premium zones and SFHAs. You can get data about your property's risk in the following ways:

  • Ask for a copy of your property's FIRM panel from your local planning and zoning office.

  • Download a copy from FEMA's Flood Map Service Center.

  • Retrieve National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) data using FEMA's GeoPortal.

How do flood zones affect home insurance costs?

Home insurers consider factors, such as a home's age, construction and square footage when calculating homeowners premiums. Your flood zone doesn't affect your home insurance rates. However, it does affect your flood premiums.

The average price for flood insurance in Flood Zone AE is $1,025.

Under FEMA's new Rating Risk 2.0 System, flood carriers use zones as one of several factors to determine flood insurance premiums. Other variables include your home's foundation and elevation, as well as your area's BFE, flood frequency and risks.

How much is flood insurance in Flood Zone AE?

The average price for flood insurance in Flood Zone AE is $1,025. Here are NFIP base premiums for combinations of Contents Coverage and Building Coverage in Special Flood Hazard Areas, like Flood Zone AE.

Find Affordable Homeowners Insurance Rates

NFIP Vs. Private Flood Insurance for Flood Zone AE

NFIP policies only pay for damages when situations meet FEMA's flood definition. FEMA defines a flood as a partial or complete inundation of two (or more) acres or two (or more) properties (one which a policyholder owns). Their policies don't cover property losses if only one home or property is affected by floodwaters.

FEMA also imposes a strict 30-day waiting period for all NFIP policies. When flooding occurs before coverage starts, the flood policy won't cover property damages. Additionally, NFIP flood policies only cover building and contents up to the coverage limits.

Private flood insurance plans have higher coverage limits than NFIP plans. This coverage is also more affordable. One study found that people save 20 - 40% on their flood insurance plans when they purchase them from a private flood carrier.

What Do Flood Zones Mean in Terms of Risk?

Flood Zone

Flood Risk

Flood Source

Flood Insurance Required?

B and X (shaded)

Moderate 0.2%-1% annual risk of a flood

Levee-protected areas with shallow flooding. Flood depths less than 1 ft.

Available, but not required.

C and X (unshaded)

Moderate 0.2% - 1% annual risk of a flood.

Levee-protected locations with low flood risk.

Available, but not required.

A, AE (A1-A30), AR, A99

High. 1% annual risk of a flood. 26% chance during a 30-year mortgage.

Zones A, AE (A1-A30), AR, A99 have undefined sources of flooding. Zones A1-30 have base elevation flooding.

Available and required.

AH

High. 1% annual risk of a flood. 26% chance during a 30-year mortgage.

Ponds and shallow sources of flooding.

Available and required.

AO

High. 1% annual risk of a flood. 26% chance during a 30-year mortgage.

River or stream flood hazard areas with a 1% or greater chance of shallow flooding each year, usually in the form of sheet flow, with an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 ft.

Available and required.

V, VE, V1-V30

High. 1% annual risk of a flood. 26% chance during a 30-year mortgage.

Coastal flooding and storm surge from hurricanes.

Available and required.

Private flood insurance plans have higher coverage limits than NFIP plans. This coverage is also more affordable.

FAQs

How much can I save by buying a private flood insurance plan?

Private flood insurance is more affordable than NFIP policies and provides greater coverage limits. Homeowners can reduce their rates by 20% to 40% by purchasing flood insurance from a private flood carrier.

What types of flood insurance can I buy for my home?

You can buy flood insurance as an add-on endorsement to your home insurance or a separate flood policy.

Should people in low-risk areas buy flood insurance?

According to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, 25% of flood claims occur in low to moderate-risk flood zones. Homeowners can purchase NFIP plans in all risk areas, but private insurers may not offer policies in higher-risk flood zones.

How To Find Affordable Home and Flood Insurance

Flood Zone AE areas have a higher flood risk because of their low elevations and proximity to floodplains, rivers, lakes and large bodies of water. FEMA requires Zone AE residents to buy flood insurance. The U.S. government also requires Zone AE homeowners with federal mortgages to have flood coverage.

The NFIP offers federal flood insurance, but private flood insurers sell cheaper flood policies. Residents can save 20% to 40% on flood insurance premiums when buying flood insurance from a private company.

If you're unhappy with your homeowners policy and need flood insurance, you can compare prices to find the best value. Get free home insurance quotes from private carriers, who can also sell you a private flood policy if you qualify. Enter your zip code below to get started.

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