FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map Update 

Do You Know Your Flood Risk? 

Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States. Community members need to know their risk and use the tools and programs they have, including flood insurance.

Residents can see the new preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) compared to the old paper maps using the Old Paper Effective vs. New Digital Preliminary Data viewer. Residents and their site design professionals can also see more detailed information in the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report and the preliminary versions of the FIRMs here.

To learn more, visit https://msc.fema.gov/portal/home. You may also contact a map specialist at the FEMA Mapping and Insurance eXchange (FMIX) at 1-877336-2627 or FEMA-FMIX@fema.dhs.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions

What changes will we see on the new Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)?

Some buildings may be included in the high-risk area for the first time. This area is known as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). However, some buildings may no longer be in the SFHA.

  • If the building is currently mapped in an SFHA but will be outside the SFHA on the new FIRM, flood insurance is no longer federally required. Flood insurance is still recommended, for both homeowners and renters.
  • Mortgage companies or lenders may still require you to buy flood insurance. 

Can I view my home on the new preliminary FIRM before the Open House?

Yes. You can view an address on the preliminary map at https://msc.fema.gov/fmcv. You can also see the updated preliminary maps compared to the old paper maps using the Old Paper Effective vs. New Digital Preliminary Data viewer. Call the FEMA Mapping and Insurance eXchange (FMIX) at 877-336-2627 to get specific details about your location.


Do I have to buy flood insurance?

Flood insurance rates are determined in part by the FIRM that is in effect at the time. 

  • If the new preliminary FIRM shows your property in a high-risk flood area, and you have a mortgage through a government-backed lender:
    1. You must buy flood insurance. 
    2. This is required once the preliminary FIRM goes into effect. 
  • There is time—updated maps are planned to go into effect in 2025.
  • Wherever it rains, it can flood. Buying flood insurance is a good idea for property owners and renters, even in low-risk areas.. 
  • Find an agent at FloodSmart.gov.

Can I change the new maps?

You can formally appeal information that is on the new maps.  Your local floodplain manager’s office is a great place to find out more about comments or appeals. You can learn more about the appeal process here or via FEMA's Appeals and Comments: Information for Property Owners.

What are FEMA's next steps?

FEMA will soon advertise a formal 90-day appeal period, during which time property owners and residents can submit appeals based on technical or scientific information or comments on base map features to FEMA via their community officials. In the spring/summer of 2024, FEMA will issue a Letter of Final Determination (LFD) to community officials after the 90-day appeal period has elapsed and FEMA has responded to all appeals and revised maps as warranted. The LFD signifies the start of a 6-month adoption/compliance period. At the end of the adoption/compliance period, the new digital FIRM and FIS report will become effective. 

Resources

Mapping Information

  • FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center website is a great source for information. The site includes all of FEMA’s flood maps and data. It also has fact sheets about flood insurance, Risk MAP, ways to mitigate flood risk, and related information.
  • Map specialists at the FEMA Mapping and Insurance eXchange (FMIX) are also a great resource. They can be reached at (877) 336-2627 or FEMA-FMIX@fema.dhs.gov.
  • The https://msc.fema.gov/portal/home website has a map viewer. It gives residents a way to view the maps that affect their specific location.
  • Residents also see the updated preliminary maps compared to the old paper maps using the Old Paper Effective vs. New Digital Preliminary Data viewer.
  • If you feel your property is at risk of flooding, you can still buy flood insurance, regardless of your FEMA flood zone. 
  • FEMA's Appeals and Comments: Information for Property Owners provides information on how to file comments or appeals related to the new maps.

Flood Insurance

  • Flood insurance requirements are based on current effective Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).
  • Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federally underwritten program. It is bought through licensed insurance agents. To learn more about flood insurance, visit the NFIP website at https://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance and http://www.floodsmart.gov.
  • The NFIP provides flood insurance in more than 22,000 communities across the nation that have agreed to adopt and enforce sound floodplain management regulations. 
  • FEMA recommends that all residents and business owners buy flood insurance to help protect their financial investments.
  • Knowing where and when map changes are occurring will help community members know their best insurance options. Preliminary FIRMs can be found at https://msc.fema.gov/portal/home.

General

  • Residents and community members deserve to be informed. Everyone must know their risk, know their role, and act to reduce their risk.
  • Through flood studies and updated maps, communities are getting more precise information about the flood risks where they live and work.
  • Share this information with your friends and neighbors. Know your flood risk and have a plan before a flood or storm event affects your community. Contact your local floodplain administrator and visit https://msc.fema.gov/portal/home, https://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance and http://www.floodsmart.gov to learn more about flood risk and how to prepare.