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FEMA's Updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps

FEMA Initiated the 90-Day Appeal Period

On May 13, 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) initiated the required 90-day appeal period for the proposed updates to the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS) for Prince William County.  See below for details on FEMA’s map updates.  You can appeal the map changes if you perceive that the modeling or data used to create the maps are technically or scientifically incorrect.  You can submit appeals to FEMA through Prince William County along with engineering data to contest the overall accuracy of the published preliminary FIRM maps.  An appeal must include technical information, such as hydraulic or hydrologic data, to support the claim.  In addition, if you see incorrect information that does not change the flood hazard information, such as a missing or misspelled road name, they can submit a written comment.  You can submit appeals and comments up until August 11, 2011 by email to [email protected].  

After the appeal period, the next step in the mapping process is the resolution of all comments and appeals.  Once they are resolved, FEMA will notify Prince William County of the effective date of the final maps, which is anticipated to be sometime in the summer of 2022.

If you have questions about the appeals process, you can contact the County’s floodplain manager at (703) 792-7070 or FEMA directly at 1-877-FEMA-MAP.

FEMA's Updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps

FEMA has released the Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for Prince William County.  These maps show the projected flood risk of properties, as well as areas that are subject to flooding.  FEMA is revising the maps to incorporate newer topographic information and more current data effecting flood risk.  The FIRMs for most of the County were last updated in 1995 for the riverine areas, and for a limited portion of the County along coastal areas in 2015.  Some properties will be mapped into the Special Flood Hazard Area (100-year floodplain), also known as the high-risk flood zone; some properties are already in the 100-year floodplain and will remain there; and some properties will be mapped out of the 100-year floodplain.  With this map change, the flood risk associated with your property may increase, decrease, or stay the same.

You can view the updated maps and other flood-related information in the County map tool below, as well as on FEMA's website (see links below). You can also review hard copies of the Preliminary FIRMs at 5 County Complex Court; Suite 170; Prince William, VA 22192 on weekdays between 9am and 4pm.

 

 

Flood Insurance Requirements

If you have a mortgage from a federally regulated lender and your property is in the Special Flood Hazard Area (100-year floodplain), also known as the high-risk flood zone, you are required by Federal law to carry flood insurance when these updated flood maps become effect sometime during the summer of 2022.  We recommend that you use this time to contact your insurance agent to get the most favorable rate and learn about options offered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for properties being mapped into higher risk areas for the first time. 

If you do not have a mortgage, it is strongly recommended that you still purchase flood insurance. Over the life of a 30-year loan, you are about three times more likely to have a flood in your home than a fire, and most homeowners’ insurance policies do not provide coverage for damage due to flooding. To learn more about flood insurance rates and what options are available to you, we recommend that you contact your insurance agent. 

If the updated flood maps remove the Special Flood Hazard Area (100-year floodplain), or high-risk flood zone, from your property, then the purchase of flood insurance is not required for structures outside of this area.  However, we strongly recommend that you maintain flood insurance coverage, because the flood risk has only been reduced, not removed. Most property owners can maintain coverage by converting their current flood insurance policy to a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) when they are no longer within the high-risk flood zone. A PRP is available to the owners of buildings that are shown on the effective flood maps to be in the low-risk or moderate-risk zone and have a limited loss history. The premium rating for a PRP offers a significant cost savings, while providing the broadest coverage and the benefits of protection.

An additional resource for property owners, both with and without a mortgage, is https://www.floodsmart.gov, which provides information about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the costs of flood insurance.

For more information on FEMA's updates to the Flood Insurance Rate Maps and flood insurance requirements, please check out the links below.