Information for Residents

Flood Insurance

Flooding can be an emotionally and financially devastating event.  Without flood insurance, most residents have to pay out of pocket or take out loans to repair and replace damaged items.  With flood insurance, you're able to recover faster and more fully.  Learn more about your options at

Frequently Ask​ed Questions about Purchasing a Flood Insurance Policy

Doesn't my homeowners insurance policy cover flooding?
No. Flood damage is not typically covered by a homeowners insurance policy.

Am I eligible for flood insurance?
You must live in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to qualify for National Flood Insurance. Find out if your community participates in the NFIP and the kinds of NFIP resources available in your community

If my home is flooded, won't federal disaster assistance pay for my damages?
Not necessarily. Federal disaster assistance typically comes in the form of a low interest loan to help cover flood damage, not compensation for your losses. Even then, those loans are only available if the president formally declares a disaster and must be repaid along with any existing mortgage.

I live in a low-risk flood zone. Do I really need flood insurance?
Most likely, yes. It's a good idea to buy flood insurance even if you live in a moderate- or low-risk area. Anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. People outside of high-risk areas file over 20% of NFIP claims and receive one-third of disaster assistance for flooding. When it's available, disaster assistance is typically a loan you must repay with interest. You may qualify for the Preferred Risk Policy (a lower-cost flood insurance policy) that provides contents coverage beginning at $49 per year and building plus contents coverage beginning at $129 a year.

Why do I need flood insurance, even though my community has never been flooded?
Flooding occurs in moderate-to-low risk areas as well as in high-risk areas. Poor drainage systems, rapid accumulation of rainfall, snowmelt, and broken water mains can all result in flood. Properties on a hillside can be damaged by mudflow, a covered peril under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy. Structures located in high-risk flood areas have a significant chance (26 percent) of suffering flood damage during the term of a 30-year mortgage. In a high-risk area, your home is more than twice as likely to be damaged by a flood than by fire. For these reasons, flood insurance is required by law for buildings in high-risk flood areas as a condition of receiving a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender.

Who do I contact if I want to purchase a flood insurance policy?
The National Flood Insurance Program has an arrangement with private insurance companies to sell and service flood insurance policies. A list of private insurance companies that sell and service NFIP flood insurance policies is available to you.

You may also contact your insurance agent or company to find out more about federal flood insurance or find an agent serving your area by contacting FEMA.

Click here to visit the National Flood Insurance Program.

For more information about flood insurance contact:

Whit E. Montague, CFM
State NFIP Coordinator / State Climatologist
Dam Safety & Floodplain Management Section
Arkansas Natural Resources Commission
101 E. Capitol Ave., Suite 350
Little Rock, AR 72201
Office: (501) 682-3969   Fax: (501) 682-3991

Floodplain Maps

FEMA floodplain maps, known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), show areas of high and moderate to low flood risk. These maps are used to set minimum building requirements and to determine flood insurance requirements and rates.

Flood Risk and Flood Zones

High risk areas are identified as a Special Flood Hazard Area [SFHA] on FEMA maps.  SFHAs are labeled as Zones A, AE, AH, AO, or AR.  A property in a SFHA has a 26 percent chance of experiencing a flood during the lifetime of a 30–year mortgage.  If a property is located in the SFHA, flood insurance will be required for federally backed mortgages. These floodplain areas are also subject to specific regulations which provide guidance to minimize potential flood risk.

Moderate flood hazard areas, labeled Zone B or Zone X (shaded) are also shown on the FIRM.  These zones include the areas outside the SFHA, but within the 500-year flood event.  A property at moderate risk has nearly a 6% chance of flooding over a 30-year mortgage. 

Moderate to low risk flood zones account for more than 20 percent of National Flood Insurance Program claims.  The areas of low risk or minimal flood hazard are labeled Zone C or Zone X (unshaded).  Low Risk areas do not mean that a property is safe from flooding! Moderate to low risk flood zones account for more than 20 percent of National Flood Insurance Program claims.

Where to Find Your Floodplain Map

The FEMA Flood Map Service Center (MSC) is the official public source for flood hazard information produced in support of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Use the MSC to find your official flood map, access a range of other flood hazard products, and take advantage of tools for better understanding flood risk.  Find your map at

Protecting Yourself From a Flood

Failing to evacuate flooded areas, entering flood waters, or remaining after a flood has passed can result in injury or death. Flooding is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States.  Visit the websites below to learn more about protecting yourself and your family from floods.

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