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Flood Zones

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  • An SUV driving through a flooded neighborhood
Page Updated: 
July 20, 2020 at 07:41 AM

National Flood Insurance Program

Martin County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which enables residents to obtain flood insurance through the NFIP. Through the NIFP, the county adopts FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), which determine the cost of flood insurance and set construction standards in various flood zones.

COMMUNITY RATING SYSTEM (CRS)

Martin County also participates in a voluntary program under the NFIP called the Community Rating System (CRS). Joining the CRS enables communities to earn insurance premium reductions for their residents for floodplain management activities that a community implements.

Martin County has improved its rating within the CRS to a class 6, which equates to a 20% discount on flood insurance premiums for structures located within the higher risk Special Flood Hazard Area.

What are Flood Zones?

Flood zones are geographic areas that the FEMA has defined according to varying levels of flood risk. These zones are depicted on a community's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Hazard Boundary Map. Each zone reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.

Flood zones are NOT the same as evacuation zones, though they are often mistaken for each other. Flood zones and evacuation zones are very different and measure conditions that may not occur at the same time.

Flood zones vs. evacuation zones – what's the difference?

Flood Zones:

These zones are determined by FEMA to indicate a property’s risk for flooding and have nothing to do with hurricanes or other emergencies. They are used to determine flood insurance premium rates and some building code requirements.

Higher-risk flood zones are designated by the letters A and V. These zones are known as the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Flood insurance is required in these zones if a homeowner has a federally-backed mortgage.

The moderate to low-risk flood zone is designated by the letter X (X-shaded and X-unshaded). Every property is located in a flood zone (unless it has been unstudied or undetermined).

Evacuation Zones:

These zones are determined by the National Hurricane Center and indicate areas that will be affected by storm surge, which officials may order evacuated during a hurricane.

Evacuation zones in Martin County are identified as AB, CD and E, and some areas of the county are not located in any evacuation zone.

How do I determine my flood zone?

To find out which flood zone your home or property is located in, you can perform a property search via the county's FEMA Flood Zones Map. Once the map is open, enter your address in the search area or use the tools to navigate to a property of interest.

For questions regarding flood zone determination, call the County Floodplain Coordinator at (772) 288-5956 or select the "Contact Us" button on this page to submit an inquiry.

Flood insurance – do you need it?

Homes with a federally-backed mortgage which are located in a high risk/special flood hazard area must have flood insurance, although, all property owners are encouraged to obtain flood insurance – regardless of their designated flood zone. All zones can flood for a variety of reasons.

There have been multiple instances of homeowners in low to moderate risk flood zones (Flood Zone X) who have experienced significant flooding. If you own a home in Martin County, please discuss the need to purchase separate flood insurance coverage with your insurance agent.

The typical homeowner’s insurance policy does not include coverage for damage resulting from flooding, even if hurricane winds and rain caused the flood to occur.

Changes to Flood Insurance Rate Maps 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued an updated Flood Insurance Study and associated digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps that were adopted by Martin County Board of County Commissioners and became effective on March 16, 2015.  This study included analyses for rivers, streams, and creeks but did not include a coastal flood risk analysis.

In 2011, FEMA initiated a coastal flood risk study for east coast and central Florida. The study focused on the areas that affect Brevard, Indian River, Martin, and St. Lucie Counties.  The study included an analysis of storm surge, wave hazards through modeling, and mapping.

The results were incorporated into an updated Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps for these counties. The 5 volumes of the FIS report can be read via the links below.

FEMA combined its coastal risk study with its current flood maps, which became effective on February 19, 2020. To view what effect the flood maps may have on your property, view the FEMA Flood Zones Map.

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