Flood Insurance Rate Maps

Current Flood Insurance Rate Maps

The City provides a map information service enabling all residents to determine the flood zone of a specific property.

Paper copies are available for viewing at the City’s Planning and Development Center.

Electronic maps may be viewed and printed online for free at the FEMA Flood Map Store.

Future Flood Insurance Rate Maps

FEMA, with the cooperation of local communities and consulting engineers, is in the process of converting paper FIRMs into digital format and updating them with the latest data in a process called Map Modernization. This process began in the spring of 2004 for Dallas, Johnson, Ellis and Tarrant counties. Revised preliminary maps for Johnson, Ellis, Dallas and Tarrant counties were submitted to the local communities for review. Since that time, the maps for Tarrant County were finalized and became effective in September 2009. The maps for Johnson County were finalized and became effective in December 2012. The maps for Ellis County were finalized and became effective in June 2013. The maps for Dallas County became effective in 2014. On March 21, 2019, FEMA issued new effective FIRMs for Dallas and Tarrant Counties north of Joe Pool Lake dam.

The City has integrated the current effective FIRMs into its Geographic Information System (GIS). This integration allows property lines and aerial photos to be superimposed over the floodplain delineations for easier floodplain determination.

The updated maps will show areas that have been removed from the mapped limits of the floodplain and new areas that have been included (that were not included before) in the mapped limits of the floodplain.

Flood Map Modernization FAQ

Answers to the frequently asked questions below explain what to do if your property has been determined to be in or out of the mapped limits of the updated floodplain.

Why are Tarrant and Dallas Counties getting new maps?

Flood hazard maps, also known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), are important tools in the effort to protect lives and properties. They indicate the risk for flooding throughout Tarrant and Dallas Counties. However, the maps became outdated. Tarrant County maps were last updated 10 years ago. Dallas County maps were previously updated 5 years ago. Since then, water flow and drainage patterns have changed dramatically due to surface erosion, land use and natural causes. The likelihood of inland and riverine flooding in certain areas has changed along with these factors.

New mapping techniques provide more detailed, reliable and current data on Tarrant and Dallas County flood hazards. The result: a better picture of the areas most likely to be impacted by flooding and a better foundation from which to make key decisions.

Who is responsible for modernizing the maps?

A nationwide collaborative effort across all levels of government has been responsible for updating the nation’s flood hazard data and providing detailed, digital data, in accordance with a multi-year plan created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The effort has evolved as a growing number of industries were impacted by out-of-date flood data.

Tarrant and Dallas County map modernization project was a joint effort with FEMA in cooperation with local associations and private sector partners.

What is a Flood Hazard Map?

Flood hazard maps (also called “Flood Insurance Rate Maps” or “FIRMs”) are used to determine the flood risk to your home or business. The low- and moderate-risk zones are represented on the maps by the letter “X” or a shaded “X”. The inland high-risk zones will be labeled with designations such as “A”, “AE”, “AO”, or “AH”.

What are benefits of the new flood hazard maps?

The new floodplain maps will benefit numerous groups of people in different ways:

  • Community planners and local officials will gain a greater understanding of the flood hazards and risks that affect the City and can improve local planning activities.
  • Builders and developers will have access to more detailed information will have access to more detailed information for making decisions on where to build and how construction can affect local flood hazard areas.
  • Insurance agents, insurance companies, and lending institutions will have easy online access to updates and upcoming changes in order to serve their customers and community more efficiently.
  • Home and business owners will have the ability to make better financial decisions about protecting their properties.

What is a floodplain?

A floodplain is the part of the land where water collects, pools, and flows during the course of natural events. Such areas are classified as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), and are located in a 1% annual chance (100-year) flood zone. The term “100-year flood” is a little misleading. It is the flood evaluation that has a 1- percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year; it does not mean that the flood will only occur once every 100 years.

Is my property located in a floodplain?

All properties are located in a floodplain. However, not all properties are located in the Special Flood Hazard Areas. The updated maps indicating the floodplain as “high-risk” areas are classified by FEMA as Zone A or Zone AE. Zone X (Shaded) is also known as the 0.2% annual chance (500-year) floodplain, which are moderate risk areas for flooding. The remaining properties are located in FEMA Zone X, which is still subject to flooding but has a lower flood risk.

How will the new flood hazard maps affect me?

Neighborhoods across Tarrant and Dallas Counties will be affected differently by these map changes. There will be some properties that aren’t affected – their risk remains the same. Other properties will now be mapped into a higher-risk area. Some properties will be mapped into a lower-risk area than before.

What happens if I move to a high-risk area?

If the new maps indicate the building on your property is now at a higher risk for flooding, you will likely be required to purchase a flood insurance policy if you have a mortgage from a federally regulated lender. If you do not have a mortgage, you have the option to purchase flood insurance. Over the life of a 30-year loan, there is about a 3 times greater chance of having a flood in your home than having a fire*. Standard homeowner insurance policies do not provide coverage for damage due to flooding. Flood insurance is an additional rider.

*FEMA – 2005 National Statistic

What if I move to a low- or moderate-risk area?

When a building moves to a low- or moderate-risk area, there is no longer a federally mandated requirement to purchase flood insurance. However, the risk has only been reduced, not removed. Flood insurance is still recommended.

How might the new maps affect me financially?

If your structure is mapped into a high-risk area and you have a mortgage with a federally-regulated lender, you will likely be required to purchase flood insurance. If your property is mapped into a low- or moderate-risk area, you will not be required to purchase or maintain insurance but are strongly encouraged to do so. The cost of protecting your home and contents from flood damage with a flood insurance policy is far less expensive than the cost to repair or replace it after a flood has occurred without a flood insurance policy.

The City participates in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System (CRS) program, which allows our residents and businesses to purchase flood insurance at a reduced rate. Property owners can purchase flood insurance to protect their buildings and/or contents. Renters can purchase contents-only flood insurance to protect the value of their belongings. Talk to your insurance agent to determine the appropriate level of protection for your situation.

What is the Grandfathering Rule? Does it help me?

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has “grandfathering” rules to recognize policyholders who built in compliance with the effective flood map at the time the building was constructed or those who already had flood insurance policies in effect with the new maps became effective and have maintained continuous coverage.

These rules allow such policyholders to benefit in the premium rating for their building. However, property owners should always use the new map if it will provide you with a more favorable premium.

Renewal of An Existing Policy

When determining the premium you will pay for flood insurance, an insurance agent will rate your flood insurance policy based on the flood map that is in effect on the date you purchase your policy. Flood Insurance policies may then be renewed and still be rated based on the flood map in effect when the policy was initially rated as long as the flood coverage is continuous and the building has not been altered in a manner that would remove this benefit.

Built in Compliance

The NFIP will honor a Grandfather rule for buildings constructed after the first flood map for the community became effective if:

  1. The building was built in compliance with the flood map in effect at the time of construction; and
  2. if the building has not been substantially damaged or altered.

Under this Grandfather rule, the property owner must provide proper documentation to the insurance company.

  • If you wish to keep the zone designation in effect when the structure was built, you must provide a copy of the flood map effective at the time of construction showing where the structure is located or present a letter from a community official verifying this information.
  • In general, for building constructed in high-risk zones after the community’s first flood map was adopted, your rates are based upon the difference between the flood map’s Base Flood Elevation (BFE) and your building’s elevation. If there is a charge in the BFE and keeping the BFE that existed when the structure was first built gives you a better rate, you must provide the agent with an elevation certificate and a copy of the flood map effective at the time of construction. A letter from a community official verifying this information may also acceptable.

When do the maps become effective?

The Tarrant and Dallas County floodplain maps became effective on March 21, 2019 for the area north of the Joe Pool Lake dam. The effective date for the area of Tarrant County south of Joe Pool Lake dam is September 25, 2009. The Dallas County area south of Joe Pool Lake dam is July 7, 2014. The Ellis County effective map date is June 3, 2013.

Where can I find more info about this process?

The following is a list of resources and contact information if you have further questions regarding the current effective maps:

Website Resources:

Other Resources:

Visit www.FloodSmart.gov for more information about how to protect against flooding and the steps local residents may need to take to ensure that they have proper insurance coverage to protect their investment.