What Is Flood Zone B? Your Risk and Insurance Costs
Zone B is a low-risk flood zone with a 0.2% (one in 500) chance of experiencing a flood in a given year. On newer maps, Zone B has been replaced with Zone X. There are no federal laws requiring homes located in Zone B to purchase flood insurance, but the extra coverage may still be worth it. Find out why below.
What Is Flood Zone B?
Flood Zone B is an area designation on a flood insurance rate map with a 0.2% chance of flooding from severe storm activity or local drainage problems. Also called a 500-year flood zone, Zone B has a one in 500 chance of being flooded in a given year. Zone X has replaced Zone B on newly revised flood maps.
There is no federal requirement for purchasing flood insurance if your home is located in Zone B.
Insuring Flood Zone B
While there are no mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements in Zone B, you may still want to buy flood coverage just to be safe. Flood insurance policies can be purchased from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). NFIP policies offer up to $250,000 of building coverage (your home's structure) and $100,000 of personal property coverage (e.g., furniture, electronics, clothes) for a single-family dwelling.
The NFIP Vs. Private Flood Insurance for Flood Zone B
Flood insurance is also purchasable in the private marketplace, which may carry certain advantages, such as:
Higher coverage limits: Private flood insurers may offer policy limits that exceed the NFIP's maximum of $250,000 of building coverage and $100,000 of personal property coverage.
Replacement cost coverage on personal belongings: The NFIP insures your personal property only at actual cash value (item's value, minus depreciation). A private policy may offer replacement cost coverage, which will reimburse you for losses at the item's current market value.
Are Homes in Flood Zone B Required To Have Flood Insurance?
There is no federal requirement to purchase flood insurance if you live in Zone B. However, you may still want to consider flood insurance anyway.
While Zone B has minimal flood hazards, the flood risk is only reduced, not eliminated. Just one inch of floodwater can cause up to $25,000 in damages according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage and you may have to face these costs yourself if you do not have flood insurance.
Is My Home in Flood Zone B?
The Flood Map Service Center (MSC) has online flood maps where you can enter your address to find out information about FEMA flood zone designations in your area.
How Do Flood Zones Affect Home Insurance Costs?
Risking Rating 2.0, implemented in 2021, is the new methodology for calculating NFIP flood policy premiums. The new rating system no longer considers flood zones. Instead, the following factors carry more weight when determining flood insurance rates:
Height of lowest floor relative to base flood elevation
Replacement cost value of the home's structure
Historical flood event losses
Flood zones are still used to distinguish Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) that would indicate whether homes are federally required to purchase flood insurance if they have a government-backed mortgage.
How Much Is Flood Insurance in Flood Zone B?
The average cost for NFIP policies in Zone B cost is $605.23 per year according to February 2022 data by FEMA. Actual costs will vary by your home's property details, location and more. Since Zone B is a low-risk flood zone, costs are notably lower than high-risk zones, like Zones A and V.
See below how Zone B's lower costs compare to high-risk zones A and V.
Avg. Annual Premium*
Avg. Monthly Premium
All A Zones
All V Zones
B, C, X Zones
*NFIP policies that include building and personal property coverage
Source: National Flood Insurance Program
What Does a Flood Zone Mean in Relation to Risk?
Low- and moderate-risk flood zones are those with letters B, C and X. There are no federal flood insurance purchase requirements in these zones. High-risk SFHAs are labeled with the letters A or V. If you live in these zones, you will need to buy flood insurance if you have a government-backed mortgage.
Tips for Homeowners in Zone B
Even though Zone B is considered a low-risk flood zone, there is still a chance you can experience flood damage. The following tips can help you protect your property:
Store expensive valuables and important documents in waterproof containers.
Consider replacing carpeting with water-resistant tiles.
Seal basement walls with waterproofing compounds.
Avoid pooling water by installing flood vents in enclosed areas (e.g., foundation walls, garages).
Consult with a plumber to ensure your sewage doesn't back up.
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.
Landscape your yard to slope away from your home and detached structures.
Coat your walls in water-resistant sheathing.
Consider Flood Insurance, Even in Low-Risk Zones
Even though Zone B is a low-risk zone, the costs of not having flood coverage are significant — just one inch of floodwater can cause $25,000 in damages to your home. SmartFinancial can help you get the coverage you need.
On top of shopping around for flood insurance, compare homeowners insurance coverages and rates to ensure you're getting the best value overall. Just enter your zip code below or call 855.214.2291 to get started on your free insurance quotes.
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