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What is Flood Zone AO?

Is your home or business in a Flood Zone AO? Flood Zone AO is included in the classification of flood risk levels created by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Flood Zone AO

Flood Zone AO is a high-risk flood zone often found near rivers and streams. Flood Zone AO has a 1% chance of receiving 30 to 90cm (1 to 3 feets) of flood water depth each year and a 25% chance of experiencing the same type of flood at least once over a period of 30 years.

Floods in Zone AO tend to be shallow and come in the form of a sheet flow over sloping terrain, where water slides across the surface of the ground rather than being absorbed.

Since many areas designated as Flood Zone AO are close to coastal areas as well as rivers and streams, the risk of overflow during rains and storms increases the risk of flooding.

What is the base flood elevation of Flood Zone AO?

The base flood elevation (BFE) is the height at which flood waters are expected to increase during a 100-year flood.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assigns BFEs to most but not all Special Flood Hazard Area (SHFA). For Flood Zone AO, coastal areas are mapped using flood depths rather than BFEs, but BFEs appear in areas near rivers or streams. Flood depths range from one to three feet, and BFEs vary by location.

Are homes in Flood Zone AO required to have Flood Insurance?

Homeowners in Flood Zone AO with a federally backed mortgage must have flood insurance. Federal or licensed lenders can only finance a mortgage if you have Flood Insurance.

Even with the requirement in place, damage to your property can be very high if your home is hit by a flood. With climate change, the probabilities of this happening are increasing every year. While flood insurance doesn’t stop damage from happening, having the peace of mind that damage can be repaired without draining your savings is priceless.

How do you find the risk of the area you live in? 

In addition to official sources from FEMA and NFIP, we know that some zones are not yet mapped or registered as risk.

That’s why we’ve written the article 6 Flood Questions to Ask Before Moving to help you determine your risks and the type of Flood insurance you’ll need, or even what kind of improvements can be made to your home to stay safe in the event of an unexpected flood.

If your home is in a Flood Zone AO

Taking steps to mitigate flood damage is a good way to keep your flood insurance premium more affordable. Here are some ways to reduce your flood risk:

  • Make sure your garden slopes away from your house.
  • Move water-sensitive equipment to higher floors.
  • Install a backflow valve.
  • Position gutters to keep water away from your home.
  • Speak with your county water service representatives to make sure your area’s flood protection systems are up to date.

The high probability of flood damage in the AO Flood Zone means constant vigilance when it comes to property maintenance and safety equipment. Another way to protect yourself is to elevate your home.

Combine these tips with quality coverage to ensure your home survives the next flood in your area.

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