The City of Ann Arbor is one of more than 20,000 U.S. communities that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP supports local communities in their efforts to reduce the risk and consequences of serious flooding. In order to participate in the NFIP, a community must agree to adopt and enforce sound floodplain management regulations and ordinances. In exchange for these practices, FEMA makes flood insurance available to homeowners, business owners and renters in these communities.
In May of 2017 the City joined a program within the NFIP called the Community Rating System (CRS) which rewards communities for doing more than the minimum floodplain management activities with lower flood insurance rates. The City entered the CRS program at Class 7, which resulted in a 15% discount on all flood insurance policies for the citizens of Ann Arbor. On October 1, 2018 the City improved to a Class 6, resulting in a 20% discount. To maintain or improve this rating the City has committed to continue a higher level of floodplain management and report the results to the CRS program each year.
Who needs flood insurance?
Federal law requires flood insurance policies for properties located in areas at high risk for flooding. If you have a mortgage from a federally regulated lender on a home located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (i.e., within the 100-year floodplain), you must purchase flood insurance. Flood insurance is required because most standard homeowner insurance policies do not cover flood damage.
Though flood insurance is not required outside the 100-year floodplain, it is still recommended for properties where there is potential for flooding to occur.
Flood insurance changes by FEMA
FEMA has updated the NFIP risk rating methodology through the implementation of a new pricing methodology called Risk Rating 2.0. The methodology leverages industry best practices and cutting-edge technology to enable FEMA to deliver rates that are actuarially sound, equitable, easier to understand and better reflect a property's flood risk.
Current NFIP policyholders can contact their insurance company or insurance agent to learn more about what Risk Rating 2.0-Equity in Action means to them.
PHASE I - Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, new policies were subject to the new rating methodology.
PHASE II - All remaining policies renewing on or after April 1, 2022, are subject to the new rating methodology.
Please visit FEMA for more information on flood insurance reforms.
Understanding flood areas
Flooding can happen anywhere, but certain areas are especially prone to serious flooding. To help communities understand their risk, flood maps (Flood Insurance Rate Maps, FIRMs) have been created to show the locations of high-risk and moderate-to-low risk flood areas.
High-risk areas (Special Flood Hazard Area or SFHA)
- Areas are inside the 1% annual flood-risk floodplain area (100-year floodplain)
- Over the life of a 30-year mortgage, there is a 26% chance the property will be flooded
- All homeowners in these areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to buy flood insurance
- Shown on the flood maps as zones labeled with the letters A or AE
Moderate-to-low risk areas (Non-Special Flood Hazard Area or NSFHA)
- Risk of being flooded is reduced, but not completely removed
- Areas are outside the 1% annual flood-risk floodplain areas (100-year floodplain)
- Flood insurance isn’t required, but it is recommended for all property owners and renters
- Shown on flood maps as zones labeled with an X or a shaded X