• Moderate-to-low-risk buildings, which are in zones B, C and X. These areas are outside of the one percent annual chance floodplain, areas of less than one percent annual chance of sheet-flow flooding where average depths are less than one foot, areas of less than one percent annual chance stream flooding where the contributing drainage area is less than one square mile or areas protected by levees.
• High-risk buildings, which are in zones A and V.
◦ Zone A buildings are within a certain floodplain distance from a river, lake or stream.
◦ Zone V buildings are within a certain distance from the coast and exposed to natural disasters associated with the ocean.
For a complete list of sub-categories and to map out which zone your business falls in, visit www.floodsmart.gov, the official website of the NFIP.
If your commercial property is in a high-risk flood area and you have a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender, then you are required to purchase a flood insurance policy. However, the NFIP reports that in 2008, a third of all claims paid were for policies in low-risk communities. Because new land development can increase flood risk by changing natural runoff patterns, it is a good idea to purchase flood insurance even if you are not near a large body of water.