Map Change: Keep Your Clients Up to Date

When flood maps change, agents can play a critical role in helping clients understand their new flood risk – whether their flood risk is increasing, decreasing, or staying the same.

When a community’s flood map is updated to reflect current risks, requirements and costs for flood insurance coverage can also change.

Map changes can have long-term impacts, and clients will likely have questions such as:

  • How am I affected?
  • How can I protect my family from the devastating financial and emotional impacts of flooding?
  • Is flood insurance required for my property?
  • Should I retain flood insurance coverage?
  • How will my flood insurance premium be affected?
  • Will this change impact my property’s value?

Map changes near me

If a mapping project is happening in your community, stay in contact with your local floodplain administrator to learn when and where changes are happening.

When a preliminary flood map is released, that map and the current flood map will be available online at FEMA’s Map Service Center. Sign up to receive email notifications when products are updated.

Flood map updates are often publicized by local officials and may receive news coverage. As a result, it’s important to understand your community’s map changes to anticipate possible client questions or concerns.

Changing flood maps also provide marketing and sales opportunities. Identify impacted areas and reach out to residents and business owners to help them understand their flood risk and discuss their flood insurance options.

Map change: Frequently asked client questions

For current and potential clients, flood map changes can be confusing and overwhelming. Review many of the frequently asked questions and answers below:

  • FEMA works with community leaders across the country to identify flood hazards and talk about ways to reduce the impact of those and other hazards. The maps that show flood hazards are officially called Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).

    Flood maps are used for floodplain management, flood insurance rating, and flood insurance requirements. Flood maps generally show a community’s flood zones, Base Flood Elevations (BFEs), and floodplain boundaries; together they show the risk of flooding.

    No matter where you live or work, some risk of flooding exists.

  • High-risk flood areas, also known as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), are areas with the highest risk for floods. If a property is in an SFHA or designated high-risk flood area, federally regulated or insured lenders will require the purchase of flood insurance.

    Moderate- to low-risk areas are also known as Non-Special Flood Hazard Areas (NSFHA). In these areas, the risk of being flooded is reduced, but not completely removed.

    Learn more about flood risk designations and what that means for your clients.

  • Community officials use flood maps to help them understand and communicate the local flood risk, manage their floodplains, and require new and substantially-improved buildings to be built more safely and to mitigate losses from future floods. These efforts make a safer, more resilient community in which to live and work.

    Mortgage lenders use them to help determine a property’s flood risk and decide whether to require flood insurance as a condition of a loan.

    Insurance professionals use the maps to determine a property’s flood risk and insurance cost.

    Developers and builders use them as a part of their location siting and construction decisions.

    Real estate professionals use maps to help clients make informed decisions about buying or selling a property, ensuring that there are no surprises at the time of closing.

    Residents and business owners use flood maps to learn about flood risk as they purchase property and investigate how best to protect their property, financially and tangibly, from flooding.

  • Flood hazards change over time. Updated maps provide a more accurate picture of a property owner’s flood risk. How water flows and drains can change due to new construction and community development, or natural forces such as weather patterns or terrain changes. Also, communities may construct levees and dams, decreasing the flood risk over time.

    To better reflect the current flood risk conditions, FEMA uses the latest technology and data to update and issue new flood maps nationwide to aid communities, property owners, and other stakeholders in taking steps to address flood risks.

  • Anyone can search, view, and download flood maps from FEMA’s Map Service Center. Or, you can check with your local community planning or building permit department.

    To speak with a flood map specialist, contact the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) at 877-336-2627.