What Is Flood Zone AH? Your Risk and Insurance Costs
Flood Zone AH is an area on a flood zone map with a 1% annual chance of flooding with average flood depths of one to three feet. If you live in Zone AH, you are required to buy flood insurance if you have a government-backed mortgage. However, private mortgage lenders will likely enforce flood insurance purchase requirements, as well. Flood policies in A zones purchased from the National Insurance Flood Insurance Program cost, on average, $1,706.45 per year.
What Is Flood Zone AH?
Flood Zone AH is a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) with a 1% annual chance of shallow flooding. Base flood elevations (BFE) — how high water is expected to rise during flooding — typically range from one and three feet. When looking at a flood zone map, you should be able to find the BFE for different locations within Zone AH.
Homeowners within an AH flood zone designation with a government-backed mortgage are required to carry flood insurance. Private mortgage lenders may also require you to purchase flood insurance, as well.
Insuring Flood Zone AH
Flood insurance is purchasable through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which operates under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Building coverage (covers the structure of your home) and personal property coverage (e.g., furniture, electronics) are available and are purchased separately.
You may also purchase flood insurance in the private marketplace at a cheaper price along with homeowners insurance.
The NFIP vs. Private Flood Insurance for Flood Zone AH
The advantage of NFIP flood policies is that they are widely available, even to homeowners in an area with a high risk of flooding, like Zone AH. However, there are some advantages to purchasing a flood insurance policy in the private insurance marketplace:
Higher coverage limits: The NFIP sells up to $250,000 of building coverage and $100,000 of personal contents coverage for a single-family dwelling. A private insurer may offer coverage limits beyond the NFIP maximum for the same if not lower cost.
Replacement cost value for personal property: The NFIP only insures your personal property at actual cash value (the value of the item, minus depreciation). You may be able to purchase replacement cost coverage with a private flood policy to get reimbursed for the item's current market value if it suffers flood damage.
Are Homes in Flood Zone AH Required To Have Flood Insurance?
Homeowners in Zone AH are required to carry flood insurance if they have a government-backed mortgage loan. There is no federal or state requirement if your home is financed with a private mortgage loan, but private mortgage lenders may require that you carry flood insurance as a condition of closing on the loan.
The flood insurance requirement is in effect to protect the lender's investment. Since the home is located in a zone with a high risk of flooding, flood insurance will help cover some of the rebuilding costs following a covered flood loss.
Flood Insurance in Low-Risk Flood Zones
There is generally no flood insurance requirement in low-risk FEMA flood zone designations, but flood insurance may still be worth considering. Flooding in low-risk zones is only reduced, not eliminated. According to FEMA, just one inch of flooding can cause $25,000 in damages and your home is five times more likely to experience flooding than a fire over the next 30 years.
Without flood insurance, you are responsible for the full cost of rebuilding and replacing lost items following a flood event.
Is My Home in Flood Zone AH?
You can access online flood maps through the FEMA website to learn about the various flood zones in your area. The map tools have a "search by address" feature that makes it easy for you to locate your local flood insurance rate map and either view or download it.
How Do Flood Zones Affect Home Insurance Costs?
FEMA implemented Risk Rating 2.0 in 2021 as the new methodology for calculating NFIP flood insurance premiums. Prior to this methodology, flood zones were the major determining factor in insurance rates. Now, flood zones will no longer be used in calculating flood insurance premiums. Instead, the NFIP will consider specific property features, such as:
Height of lowest floor relative to base flood elevation
Replacement cost value of the home's structure
Flood zones will still be used for distinguishing SFHAs on flood maps and indicating which homes are required to be insured against floods if they have an outstanding government-backed mortgage.
How Much Is Flood Insurance in Flood Zone AH?
An NFIP policy for a home in flood Zone AH costs, on average, $1,706.45 per year ($142.20 per month), according to February 2022 by FEMA. The actual cost will vary based on coverage limits, location and more.
To demonstrate the differences in cost by location and zone, let's look at how much flood insurance would cost in Texas:
Avg. Annual Premium*
Avg. Monthly Premium
All A Zones
All V Zones
*NFIP policies that include building and personal property coverage
Source: National Flood Insurance Program
Homes in high-risk zones like Zone A and Zone V are significantly more expensive to insure against floods than low-risk zones, like Zone X.
Private Flood Insurance
Private flood insurance policies may be preferable if you want higher coverage limits or replacement cost coverage on your personal belongings. You may also find lower rates by choosing a private insurer.
Below are sample rates in Texas provided by The Flood Insurance Agency, a private flood policy provider:
Annual Premium Quote*
All A Zones
All V Zones
X, B, C Zones
Source: The Flood Insurance Agency (TFIA)
*For $250,000 building coverage and $100,000 personal contents coverage
What Does a Flood Zone Mean in Relation to Risk?
FEMA uses letters to determine the flood risk each zone poses to homes in that area.
Zones preceded by the letters B, C and X are moderate- to low-risk flood zones. There is no flood insurance requirement for homes with government-backed mortgages in this area. If you live in a zone with the letters A or V, then you are in a high-risk zone, also called a Special Flood Hazard Area. Flood insurance requirements apply for homes with government-backed mortgages in this area.
Tips for Homeowners in Flood Zone AH
Below are some tips for protecting personal property inside your home:
Create an inventory of all your personal property.
Store expensive valuables and important documents in waterproof containers above the base flood elevation.
Elevate utility systems (e.g., furnaces, water heaters) at least 12 inches above the BFE, if possible.
Consider replacing carpeting with water-resistant tiles.
Seal basement walls with waterproofing compounds.
Install flood vents in enclosed areas (e.g., foundation walls, garages) to mitigate structural damage by pooling water.
Consult with a plumber to ensure your sewage doesn't back up.
The following outdoor tips can help preserve your home's structure and outdoor furniture:
Anchor outdoor furniture to prevent them from being swept away during a flood.
Seal cracks and gaps in windows, doors and gaps around pipes.
If building a new home, elevate your home with stilts or piers and build it away from water sources, like rivers and shorelines.
Improve water drainage by landscaping your yard to slope away from your home and detached structures.
Coat your walls in water-resistant sheathing.
Make Sure You're Protected From Floods
Flood insurance is required if you live in Zone AH, but you may still want to consider flood insurance after considering the potential consequences of a flood. With one inch of floodwater causing up to $25,000 in damages and up, flood insurance can help ensure that your home's structure and personal property are covered.
An NFIP policy is one solution to securing flood coverage but a private policy may be a better value if you qualify. With potentially higher coverage limits and lower premiums, you'll be covered for less. Shopping around for homeowners insurance and flood policy at the same time can save you even more money – up to 40%. Just enter your zip code below or call 855.214.2291 to get started on your free insurance quotes.
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