Down and Dirty 30 – Flood Zones



Flood Zones

Flood Zones, Flood Plains and Elevation Certificates

Metro Atlanta is situated among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. At 1,050 feet (320 m) above mean sea level, Atlanta has one of the highest elevations among major cities east of the Mississippi River.

Elevation‎: ‎738 to 1,050 ft (225 to 320 m)

Despite the high elevation, we must still contend with flooding in areas where properties abut bodies of water, most commonly rivers, streams, and lakes. This quick topic will discuss how to approach this issue and prepare you with the basic tools for advising your clients on next steps.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is delivered to the public by a network of approximately 60 insurance companies and the NFIP Direct.

Floods can happen anywhere — just one inch of floodwater can cause up to $25,000 in damage. Most homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is a separate policy that can cover buildings, the contents in a building, or both, so it is important to protect your most important financial assets — your home, your business, your possessions.

The NFIP provides flood insurance to property owners, renters and businesses, and having this coverage helps them recover faster when floodwaters recede. The NFIP also encourages communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations that help mitigate the effects of flooding.

Flood insurance is available to anyone living in one of the 23,000 participating NFIP communities. Homes and businesses in high-risk flood areas with mortgages from government-backed lenders are required to have flood insurance.

REMEMBER: Many people don’t understand just how risky the floodplain can be. There is a greater than 26% chance that a non-elevated home in the Special Flood Hazard Area (“SFHA”) will be flooded during a 30-year mortgage period.

The chance that a major fire will occur during the same period is less than 10%!

See below for more:

  1. Is the Property In a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)?
    1. Visit, search the property address, and receive a report detailing whether the property is in a SFHA.


  1. The below property is an example of a property that is close, but not in a SFHA. This Property does not require flood insurance.

  1. Elevation Certificates
    • Lenders will require Flood Insurance if you are in a SFHA. On every loan application, the Lender will order a Flood Certificate – they typically cost $25 and are enough to confirm if in or out;
    • In the event the Property is on the border, it may be a good idea to pay for an Elevation Certificate. A licensed surveyor runs a field report to determine the flood elevation (in feet or meters) and compares it to the actual elevations of the house;
    • Below are highlighted sections of an Elevation Certificate. The Flood Elevation (in feet) is pulled from the FEMA Flood Maps and highlighted in Section B(9);

    • You must then evaluate B(9) together with C(f) to determine the lowest adjacent (finished) grade next to building – this is the area where flood water would come first (i.e. foundation). This is NOT living space typically.
      • Finally, consider C(a) to determine whether any living space would fall under the Flood Plain.
      • In this example, the living space is above the flood plain, but the foundation is below it…

Question: Do you need flood insurance??


I would recommend to a buyer in this situation to get flood insurance to insure against possible damage to the foundation (i.e. settling). The cost is likely minimal in this situation, but it would vary based on the facts.

The lender may also require flood insurance, though again it depends. I have seen where a Lender might not require it if the Buyer would not otherwise be approved for the loan due to the cost – be careful!


by: CNB Blog