Flood Zone X: What You Need To Know

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Bob Phillips
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Are you looking at the cost of insurance or a new mortgage on a home with designations like “Zone A” or “Zone X”? If so, understanding what a flood zone map means, and where you house is within it can be imperative to determining what level of insurance you need.

Each home or building is marked by FEMA with a specific zone, indicating its likelihood of a flood. That information determines what, if any, flood insurance is a requirement for a federally-backed mortgage. Knowing your zone will help you mitigate the risk of flood damage, too.

Key Takeaways

  • The flood zone designation associated with your property will directly affect your flood insurance requirements and rates.

  • Flood Zone X, shaded and unshaded, both have a minimal flood hazard risk higher than 0.2% but lower than a 1% annual chance.

  • Flood Zone X is not required to carry flood insurance, but it should still be considered.

  • There are only two options for coverage: private insurance or the federal NFIP.

  • Without insurance, an inch of floodwater can result in $25,000 in home damage.

What Is Flood Zone X?

Flood Zone X is a designation for any area with a moderate flood risk higher than 0.2% but lower than 1% annual risk of flooding. Buildings designated under Flood Zone X have separate requirements for insurance coverage and slightly lower risks compared to other coastal areas.

Flood Zone X – Shaded

FEMA identifies a list of flood hazard areas, identified as “flood zones.” These flood zones are determined based on the statistical likelihood that a flood event will happen in a given year.

Homes or buildings located in an area that has a 1% annual chance of a flood are labeled as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Flood zone B and X are outside of this.

Flood Zone X shaded is next to an SFHA, in between the SFHA and Flood Zone X Unshaded.

According to FEMA, Flood Zone X shaded area has a minimal flood hazard risk higher than 0.2% but lower than the 1% annual chance of a Flood Zone X shaded area.

Tip: If you are unsure whether your home is in a flood zone, you can use the FEMA Flood Map.

Flood Zone X – Unshaded

Flood Zone X unshaded has the same statistical risks of a moderate flood, but usually has an extra level of protection against flooding such as a levee.

According to FEMA, Flood Zone X unshaded has a minimal flood hazard risk higher than the 0.2% but lower than 1% annual chance of a flood zone X shaded area but is located on the other side of Flood Zone X shaded, away from SFHAs.

Zone X’s Base Flood Elevation

While all of the other designations under the SFHA definitions have set base flood elevations, FEMA has not set a BFE for Zone X because the area is outside the flood risk region.

Are Homes In Flood Zone X Required To Have Flood Insurance?

If you have a mortgage, especially a federally backed mortgage, there are certain requirements for flood insurance if your home is located in a SFHA like Zone A or Zone AE.

Homes in Flood Zone X are not legally required to have flood insurance though because the risk of annual flood is below 1%. However, it should still be strongly considered given the risks.

Since the risk of flood is relatively low in these areas, the premium is not nearly as expensive as something in Zone A or Zone V. It may still be worth getting quotes from several companies, especially if your region has heavy rains in the winter. Even if you aren’t in A, heavy rains can lead to:

  • Drainage problems
  • Water pooling
  • Minor flooding

According to FEMA, just an inch of floodwater can result in $25,000 in home damage. With flood insurance, you can protect your home against this potential risk and financial devastation.

How Much Does Flood Insurance In Flood Zone X Cost?

The cost of flood insurance will vary from state to state but the national average is $819 per year.

The table below provides the average cost of flood insurance in Flood Zone X across different carriers for a 1,000-square-foot house in Florida with $250,000 coverage for the building and $100,000 coverage for personal belongings:

Company Annual Cost
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) $968
Liberty Mutual $981
GEICO $1,634
Farmers $1,102
Progressive $1,311

Is Flood Zone X Good Or Bad?

If you are looking at houses that have a high risk of flood, being in Flood Zone X is technically a good thing because it means you have a moderate risk.

However it also means that you are likely situated next to areas with a high risk and as such you still need to be aware that there is some level of precaution you should take to mitigate flood damage and it might still be worth investing in flood insurance.

NFIP Vs. Private Flood Insurance

If you are interested in flood insurance, there are two options:

  1. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
  2. Private Insurance

NFIP

The NFIP is a federally provided Insurance option managed by FEMA. According to Congressional research, the NFIP provides over 4.7 million policies, offering a total of 1.28 trillion dollars in coverage.

In fact, it was this program, established in 1968, that established the production of a flood zone map to help determine different levels of risk and subsequent management standards to help mitigate that risk in given communities.

Any communities that choose to utilize a NFIP insurance policy must also adopt subsequent land use and control measures as dictated by the flood map. This meansIt is only available in participating communities with relatively low coverage limits particularly for those areas that are at a high risk of flood.

  1. The maximum coverage for single-family dwellings is $100,000 for personal belongings and $250,000 for building coverage.
  2. The maximum coverage for other residential buildings is $100,000 for personal belongings and up to $500,000 for building coverage.
  3. The maximum coverage limit for non-residential commercial properties is $500,000 for contents and $500,000 for building coverage.

NFIP premiums are tied to actual flood risk rather than flood zones alone. This new risk rating system takes into consideration things like:

  • Flooding from nearby rivers
  • Storm surge
  • Heavy rainfall risks to the area

NFIP policyholders can receive up to $1,000 to purchase avoidance supplies for predicted or imminent flooding such as sandbags and tarps.

Private Insurance

Traditional homeowners insurance policies do not apply to flood damage, and some policies allow the option of paying for additional coverage specifically for flood damage. However, in areas with a high flood risk, insurance companies may or may not offer flood coverage.

Below is a short list of private insurance companies that may offer flood insurance in your area:

  • Allstate
  • Neptune
  • Farmers
  • Liberty Mutual
  • USAA
  • GEICO
  • Safeco Insurance Company
  • Baldwin Mutual Insurance
  • Assurant

Private flood insurance is a unique option provided by private insurance companies that may be cheaper than the federal program and have comparatively more robust coverage. Private flood insurance typically offers full property coverage, which matches all of the designations listed under Coverage A in your homeowner’s insurance policy.

This means that if your current replacement cost for your home is beyond the $250,000 building coverage maximum for a single family dwelling or $500,000 maximum for any other residential building, the NFIP may not be sufficient and a private insurance policy could be a better investment.

Tips To Reduce Flood Damage In Flood Zone X

There are several ways you can protect your home and belongings whether or not you have flood insurance for Flood Zone X.

Tip #1: Have An Inventory

Always have an inventory stored in a secondary location with a list of your household belongings as well as any photos or videos.

Tip: A quick way to take an inventory is to film yourself walking through your home pointing out each of the items in a given room and their value.

Consider sending a copy of your inventory to someone who lives in a different state, such as a friend or family member.

Tip #2: Save Important Documents

Keep important documents in a watertight safety deposit box in your home, including:

  • Birth certificates
  • Passports
  • Medical records
  • Insurance papers

Tip: Make copies of these important documents and consider storing them in a secondary location with your inventory.

Tip #3: Keep Furniture Elevated

If there is a potential flood in your area, you can protect some of your most vulnerable items like your furniture by moving them to the highest floor in your home or even an attic space.

Tip #4: Clear Your Yard

Another thing that can help reduce the amount of flood damage if you live in this area is to keep all of your downspouts and gutters free from debris.

Tip #5: Waterproof Your Basement

Consider investing in a working sump pump and water alarm so that your basement is as waterproof as possible. Remember that sump pumps require power, so a battery backup can be useful in the event that a flood or storm precipitating a flood causes a power outage.

 

Other Flood Zone Designations

The national flood insurance program works under the flood zone designations provided by FEMA to determine areas that would be inundated in the event of a 100-year flood or areas that have a 1% or higher chance of an annual flood.

The flood zone designation associated with your property will directly affect your flood insurance requirements and rates.

Under the SFHAs, there are the following flood zone codes:

  • Zone A
  • Zone AO
  • Zone AH
  • Zones A1-A30
  • Zone AE
  • Zone A-99
  • Zone AR
  • Zone AR/AE
  • Zone AR/AO
  • Zone AR/A1-30
  • Zone AR/A
  • Zone V
  • Zone VE
  • Zones V1-V30
  • Zone B
  • Zone C

Anything with “V” is a coastal flood zone, and a house or building in this area may be flooded by waves coming up from a storm.

Anything with “A”  includes all special flood hazard areas.

Either of these two designations on their own represent a flood Hazard area that doesn’t have a specific flood elevation.

“VE” or “AE” or “A” or “V” followed by a number indicates a flood elevation, which is referred to as the Base Flood Elevation.”

Within “AE” or anything with “A” followed by a number, there might be a form of floodway nearby that, in the event of a significant flood rise, would be used to discharge extra water, something that contributes to the flood risk of any property nearby.

FAQs

What does X mean in a flood zone?

The X is an indicator for moderate risk in a flood zone. This is usually an area that stands between the limits of a 100-year flood and a 500-year flood or has protection by levees.

What is the best flood zone rating?

Zone B is technically the best flood zone rating. These are areas where there are limited hazards, such as areas that are shallow, with average depths of less than one foot of flood space or drainage less than one square mile. These are also areas that have levee protection.

Is flood zone A or X worse?

Flood zone A is worse than X. Flood Zone A means that you are at a high risk of flood, more than 1% but flood zone X is a moderate risk, less than 1%. Flood Zone A is a high risk of flooding and homes in these areas that participate in NFIP must have coverage, as must any federally-backed mortgages.

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