What Is an A5 Flood Zone?

An A5 flood zone is an area at high risk of flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency assigns flood zone designations based on historical data that includes frequency of flooding in the area and high water levels during those floods. The owner of a property in an A5 flood zone must carry flood insurance on it if she financed its purchase through a federal mortgage program.

FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has systemically tracked historical data on flooding in the United States and has developed a system of designations for areas that are flood-prone.

Flood Zone Designations

Flood zone designations indicate how great the risk of flooding of any particular area is over an extended time period, usually the lifespan of a 30-year mortgage. There are three designations for low to moderate flood risk, 36 moderate- to high-risk designations, 32 high risk-coastal area designations (which take into consideration flooding due to wave action), and one designation for areas of undetermined risk.

A5 Flood Zone

A flood zone designation of A5 is indicates that the area is at high risk of being flooded at least once a year, and furthermore stands a 26 percent chance of being flooded at some point over a 30-year time span. For most high-risk zones, FEMA has compiled databases about how high the flood waters rose in those areas.

FIRM

A Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) is an official FEMA map that outlines flood-prone areas in a community with their concomitant flood zone designations, as well as areas that constitute special hazards to that community. Anyone can request a FIRM of any area by visiting the FEMA website and completing an order form. You can view the map online for free, or pay a modest charge to download the map or to receive a paper map by mail. Locating your property on a FIRM will tell you immediately whether it lies in a flood-prone area, as well as the level of flood risk in that area.

Flood Insurance

FEMA mandates that owners of high-flood-risk properties financed with federally backed mortgages carry flood insurance. Lenders also can require property owners to carry such insurance even if there is no federal requirement. Ordinary homeowners insurance does not cover damages caused by flooding, so property owners must buy special insurance. FEMA has created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to guarantee that property owners can get this coverage. FEMA sets the insurance rates based on the risk of flooding, and the rates do not vary from insurance provider to provider.


Cheyenne Cartwright

Cheyenne Cartwright has worked in publishing for more than 25 years. She has served as an editor for several large nonprofit institutions, and her writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including "Professional Bull Rider Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Oklahoma Christian University and a Master of Arts in English from the University of Tulsa.