How to Tell if a House Is in a Flood Zone

Written by leonardo r. grabkowski
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How to Tell if a House Is in a Flood Zone
That waterfront view may place you at a higher risk for flooding. (rain image by Nikolai Sorokin from

When buying a home, one of the first things you'll need to determine is if the house is in a flood zone. Purchasing flood insurance is required for homes located in such high-risk regions. Homes in an area deemed high-risk (officially called "Special Flood Hazard Areas") have a higher chance of flooding than homes deemed low-risk; however, being in a low-risk area does not guarantee your security. Although flood insurance is optional for low-risk homes, it should still be strongly considered.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Visit Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program website (see Resources).

  2. 2

    Type the house's street address, city, state and postcode. Click "Go."

  3. 3

    View the property's flood risk rating. A "High Risk" (Special Flood Hazard Area) rating means the property is in a flood zone. In this situation, purchasing flood insurance is mandatory. If the property's risk rating is "Moderate-to-Low," the house is not in a flood zone; flood insurance is recommended, but not required.

Tips and warnings

  • According to FEMA, nearly 25 per cent of flood insurance claims come from "Moderate-to-Low" risk areas. Flood insurance is always recommended as a safety precaution.

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