An area in the flood zone with high risk for flooding. Flood insurance is required in this area.
Base Flood Elevation
This is the height that flood water is expected to rise to during a serious flood. And, it’s how high new buildings have to built above the ground to make sure they meet flood laws and aren’t in danger of flooding. In NYC, they have to be built a little 2 feet above this level, to be safe.
A land surveyor will measure the location of your home to see how high it is above sea level, and whether it is above the Base Flood Elevation. It should cost between $500-800 to get one. You can find out more about elevation certificates here.
Federal Emergency Management Agency, the agency that responds to disasters, makes flood maps, and runs the National Flood Insurance Program.
Insurance, required by law for some homeowners, that covers the cost of damage to your home resulting from rising waters. Homeowners insurance does not protect against these risks, even if it includes hurricane and natural disaster protection.
Flood insurance rate maps, or FIRMs
The maps FEMA makes, which show how likely flooding is in different parts of the city.
The area of the city most likely to flood, not just from hurricanes, but even from regular rain storms. Zones with different amounts of danger for flooding get letters: in order from most risk to least they are: V Zone, A Zone, X Zone, and no zone.
Full risk rate
The flood insurance rate for higher risk areas.
The National Flood Insurance Program, which is the federal program that provides flood insurance. It used to be subsidized, but because of the very high costs of large storms like Hurricane Katrina, homeowners will now pay higher costs for their flood insurance.
Preferred risk rate (or preferred risk policy)
This is the least expensive flood insurance rate. You qualify for it if 1) your home is not in a flood zone (no zone letter, or X Zone), but you want to get flood insurance anyway, or if 2) your home has just been added to a flood zone and the current or previous owner hasn’t received two disaster relief payments in the past, or $1,000 or more in flood loss claims, or three losses of any amount.
Standard risk rate (or standard risk policy)
This is the flood insurance rate for homes in medium or low risk zones (X or no letter).
The area in the flood zone with greatest risk of flooding. This area is also at risk for “wave action,” the powerful waves resulting from strong winds that can cause significant damage to a building. Flood insurance is required in this zone.
Areas outside the high-risk flood zone, with moderate risk of flooding. Flood insurance is not required but is recommended in these areas.
This project was created through a collaboration of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), the Center for NYC Neighborhoods, and design studios MMP and Schema.
The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) is a nonprofit that uses the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement, particularly among historically underrepresented communities.
The Center for NYC Neighborhoods is committed to preserving and protecting affordable homeownership in New York. Established by public and private partners, the Center meets the diverse needs of homeowners across the five boroughs. The Center and its Network Partners offer high-quality housing counseling and legal services, free of charge, to New York homeowners.
Manuel Miranda Practice (MMP) is a graphic design studio based in the Lower East Side of New York City. MMP likes helping individuals and organizations graphically articulate their values, ideas, products, services, and spaces to the public.