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What Is Flood Zone C? Your Risk and Insurance Costs

The Federal Emergency Management Agency assesses different flood risks in communities throughout the nation to place them into zones on its Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Flood Zone C locations have a minimal to moderate flood risk.

Although FEMA doesn't require Flood Zone C residents to buy flood insurance, it's always a good idea to carry flood coverage since 25% of these disasters occur in low-to-moderate flood hazard areas every year.

In this short overview, you'll learn more about Flood Zone C and why carrying flood insurance can help protect your home and belongings.

What Is Flood Zone C?

FEMA created flood zones to identify specific flood risks in communities throughout the United States.

According to the federal agency, Flood Zone C is an area of minimal flood hazard that's depicted on FEMA's Flood Insurance Rate Map. Flood Zone C areas fall outside the 1% Special Hazard Flood Areas and the 0.2% annual chance floodplains.

FEMA doesn't require Flood Zone C residents to buy flood insurance, but it's a good idea to be protected.

Insuring Flood Zone C

Are homes in Flood Zone C required to have insurance?

There are no mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements in Flood Zone C, according to FEMA. Flood Zone C homes fall outside of Special Flood Hazard Areas, or places with a 1% annual flooding risk and 26% chance during a 30-year mortgage period.

Is my house in Flood Zone C?

You can learn more about your home's flood risk by using FEMA's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), which displays your community's risk premium zones and SFHAs. You can download data about your property's risk in the following ways:

  • Request a copy of your community's FIRM panel from an administrator in your local planning and zoning office.

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

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

How do flood zones affect home insurance costs?

Your area's flood zone doesn't affect your home insurance rates;  however, under FEMA's new Rating Risk 2.0 system, carriers use an applicant's flood zone as a rating factor when setting flood insurance premiums. New policies starting Oct. 1, 2021 or existing policies renewing on or after April 1, 2022 will follow this new system.

Factors flood insurers consider include your home's foundation and elevation, the flood frequency, risk types and base flood elevation in your area. Flood carriers also charge areas with high BFEs with more expensive premiums (the BFE is the height that floodwaters reach during a 100-year flood).

How much is flood insurance in Flood Zone C?

Prior to Oct. 1, 2021, the maximum amount you can pay for flood insurance in Flood Zone C is $4,530 per year. This is based on the FEMA's maximum coverage limits for $250,000 in building coverage and $100,000 in contents coverage for a single-family home with no basement.

However, FEMA is relying less on flood zone maps and considering additional factors when determining rates, such as historical losses, elevation and more. We've summarized the rates.

Your area's flood zone doesn't affect your home insurance rates.

Below are the basic rates, effective Jan. 1, 2021 — keep in mind, however, that they are subject to change under the new Risk Rating 2.0 methodology. These rates should only be used for comparative purposes.

Building Coverage (Rate per $100)

Contents Coverage (Rate per $100)

$1.12

$1.73

We've summarized below approximately how much you can expect to pay annually based on your building and content coverage needs.

Coverage

Building Coverage

Contents Coverage

$8,000

N/A

$138

$12,000

N/A

$208

$20,000

$224

$346

$30,000

$336

$519

$50,000

$560

$865

$75,000

$840

$1,298

$100,000

$1,120

$1,730

$150,000

$1,680

N/A

$200,000

$2,240

N/A

$250,000

$2,800

N/A

*Fema

Preferred Risk Policies: In Flood Zone C, homeowners qualify for additional savings through FEMA's preferred risk policy. Qualified homeowners need to meet certain eligibility requirements, which will consider the property's flood loss history. Plans start at $207 per year for $20,000 building coverage and $8,000 contents coverage.

Find Affordable Homeowners Insurance Rates

The NFIP vs. Private Flood Insurance for Flood Zone C

The biggest difference between NFIP policies and private insurance plans is coverage amounts. Private flood insurance policies can provide more than $1 million of coverage and are more affordable. One study showed that people who buy private flood insurance can save 20 to 40% on their premiums.

FEMA oversees National Flood Insurance Program regulations and has strict rules for policyholders to qualify for flood coverage. For instance, NFIP insurance only pays for flood damages when situations meet FEMA's flood coverage requirements.

FEMA defines a flood as a partial or complete inundation of two (or more) acres or properties (one which the NFIP policyholder owns). These flood policies don't pay if floodwaters have destroyed only a single homeowner's property since this situation doesn't meet FEMA's flood definition.

What Do Flood Zones Mean in Terms of Risk?

Flood Zone 

Flood Risk

Flood Source

Is 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.

Flood insurance is available, but not required.

C and X (unshaded)

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

Levee-protected locations with low flood risk.

Flood insurance is available, but not required.

A, AE, AR, A1-A30, A99

High. 1% annual risk of a flood. 26% chance over the lifetime of a 30-year mortgage.

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

Flood insurance is available and required.

AH

High. 1% annual risk of a flood. 26% chance over the lifetime of a 30-year mortgage.

Ponds and shallow sources of flooding.

Flood insurance is available and required.

AO

High. 1% annual risk of a flood. 26% chance over the lifetime of 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 feet.

Flood insurance is available and required.

V, VE, V1-V30

High. 1% annual risk of a flood. 26% chance over the lifetime of a 30-year mortgage.

Coastal flooding and storm surge from hurricanes.

Flood insurance is available and required.

People who buy private flood insurance can save 20 to 40% on their premiums.

FAQs

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

Property owners can reduce their flood insurance rates 20% to 40% by signing up for private flood insurance, which have better coverage limits than federal flood insurance policies.

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 areas. So, Zone C residents should consider buying flood insurance to fully protect themselves in a worst-case flooding scenario.

Get Affordable Flood Coverage that Fits Your Homeowners Insurance Needs

Flood Zone C locations are areas with a low to moderate annual flood risk. FEMA doesn't require residents in Flood Zone C locations to purchase insurance to protect their homes. However, you will not be covered for a flood without a flood insurance policy.

Having the right homeowners insurance policy is even more important. Home insurance helps pay for repairs if a fire, windstorm or other peril damages your home is most important. SmartFinancial can help you find the lowest cost policy for your home with or without a flood endorsement. Enter your zip code below and answer a few questions to get free home insurance quotes.

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