Flood zones are areas identified by FEMA for use in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). These zones indicate how likely an area is to flood. If you live in one of the areas most likely to flood the A and V zones you will be required to purchase flood insurance for your home. In addition, the maps provide information about your home's "Base Flood Elevation." This measure determines whether or not you may need to elevate your home.
The official flood zone maps can be found on the FEMA website. If you would like to speak to a local expert to examine the maps, contact your local planning, engineering, or public works department.
Reading a Flood Map
The codes on the map can tell you whether an area is likely to flood and how high a home in that area should be elevated to avoid flood damage. A and V zones are both below "Base Flood Elevation" and are likely enough to flood that flood insurance is required. The letters are followed by numbers that show just how likely the area is to flood. The higher the number following the A or V the more likely a property is to flood. (It is better to be in A1 than A30.) B, C, and X zones are considered unlikely to flood because of their elevation, drainage, or levee protection. If you live in a B, C or X zone, you are not required to carry flood insurance, but remember that while you are not required to carry flood insurance on properties located in these zones, any losses you incur that result from a flood can be covered only through the NFIP.