What You Need to Know About Flood Insurance
Located on a barrier island, the City of Cape Canaveral can experience heavy rainfall events, hurricanes and coastal flooding. Property owners must be aware of the associated risks as floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Staff has developed this web page to serve as a guide for property owners to better understand their risk and to showcase other helpful resources.
You can also call our certified on-staff floodplain manager (321) 868-1220 ext. 114 at the City of Cape Canaveral Building Department, located at 100 Polk Ave., to assist you in determining your property's risk and your specific flood zone. Check the current version of the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) by clicking the link below.
FEMA Flood Map City of Cape Canaveral FAQ
How do cities assess flood risk?
Cities utilize numerous science-based tools to help determine flood risks to residents and property. One of the most useful tools are flood maps developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA’s flood maps are used to inform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
What is the National Flood Insurance Program?
The NFIP is managed by FEMA and is delivered to the public by a network of approximately 60 insurance companies and the NFIP Direct.
The NFIP provides flood insurance to property owners, renters and businesses, and having this coverage could allow for a faster recovery when floodwaters recede. Flood insurance is available to anyone living in one of the 23,000 participating NFIP communities, including the City of Cape Canaveral. Homes and businesses in high-risk flood areas with mortgages from government-backed lenders are required to have flood insurance.
What current FEMA flood map does the City utilize?
FEMA issues periodic updates to its flood maps to all jurisdictions every few years. These maps are used for many purposes, including owner due diligence and flood insurance underwriting. Previous FEMA flood maps were issued in 1988 and in 2014. The current FEMA flood map published for the City of Cape Canaveral was issued on January, 29, 2021. By having regularly updated flood maps, property owners and the City can more easily determine future resilience planning and sensible development strategies.
What is the difference between the previous and current FEMA flood maps?
FEMA’s new flood maps have increased the size of the City’s Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), which is a generalized zone where flooding may occur in the event of heavy rainfall, a hurricane or other natural disaster. But the bigger difference is the new, and very large, area known as the 500-year flood event risk area. This is the first FEMA flood map issued for the City to contain a 500-year flood event area. This area covers most, but not all, of the City of Cape Canaveral.
What is a 100-year flood event? What is a 500-year flood event?
A 100-year flood event is a flood event that has on average a 1% chance of happening in any given calendar year.
A 500-year flood event is a flood event that has on average a 0.2% chance of happening in any given calendar year.
It should be stressed that 100-year and 500-year flood events are independent events. This means that if one of these events occurs, it has no effect on future events occurring. In other words, if a 100-year flood event occurs, that does not mean that property owners are safe for 99 years. Multiple 100-year events can occur within the same year, and, although rare, 500-year flood events can occur over a short timespan as well. Always be prepared!
Why have FEMA’s flood maps changed so much?
With recent enhancements in technology, better flood management practices, and an expanded understanding of flood risk, FEMA implemented a new set of flood maps as part of their Risk Rating 2.0 system. The Risk Rating 2.0 system is an overhaul of the NFIP and will be the largest such overhaul of its type since the program’s founding more than 50 years ago. According to FEMA, it is intended to support the establishment of flood insurance rates via the NFIP “that are actuarially sound, equitable, easier to understand and better reflect a property’s flood risk”.
How will these new flood maps affect my insurance?
According to FEMA, the Risk Rating 2.0 system will bring changes to the NFIP once the system is rolled out on October 1, 2021. These changes could increase or decrease flood insurance rates depending on a property owner’s newly determined risk beginning October 1, 2021. It is recommended that you talk to your insurance agency or a licensed insurance agent prior to October 1, 2021 to find out more.
I live in Cape Canaveral, and never had to have flood insurance before. Will I be required to have flood insurance if I live in the City of Cape Canaveral?
Possibly. While it’s hard to guess what the impacts of the new rating system will be, it’s reasonable to assume that insurance underwriters will be considering this new information in their premiums vs. risks calculations. Staff has been contacted already by a few property owners who stated they have received notices about flood insurance mandates. Again, it is recommended that you talk to your insurance agency or a licensed insurance agent prior to October 1, 2021 to find out more.
What factors go into determining flood insurance policy costs?
A number of factors are considered when determining a person's annual flood insurance premium. These factors include:
- Flood risk (i.e. your flood zone)
- The type of coverage being purchased (i.e. building and contents coverage)
- The deductible and amount of building and contents coverage
- The location of your structure
- The design and age of your structure
- The location of your structure’s contents (i.e. elevated utilities)
For properties in high-risk flood areas built after the first FEMA flood maps, the elevation of the building in relation to the base flood elevation is also a factor.
What do different letters mean in the various flood zones?
Zones A, AE, A1-30, AH, AO, V, VE, or V1-30 are designated as high-risk areas known as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA). In these areas, flood insurance is mandatory for structures with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders. Flood insurance is strongly recommended for all structures in these areas, even if un-mortgaged or otherwise not federally required. Zones B, C, X, or shaded X are designated as moderate- to low-risk areas. Flood insurance is not federally required, but recommended. However, some lenders may require flood insurance, even in these moderate-to-low risk areas.
What is the City doing to help keep flood insurance rates as low as possible?
The National Flood Insurance’s Community Rating System (CRS) is a program designed by FEMA to recognize and encourage community floodplain management. According to FEMA, the program “credits community efforts beyond those minimum standards by reducing flood insurance premiums for the community’s property owners.”
For CRS participating communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted in increments of 5%. A Class 1 community would receive a 45% premium discount, while a Class 9 community would receive a 5% discount (a Class 10 is not participating in the CRS and receives no discount). The CRS classes for local communities are based on 18 creditable activities, organized under four categories: public information, mapping and regulations, flood damage reduction, and flood preparedness. The City of Cape Canaveral is currently a CRS Class 8 community and all flood insurance premiums are reduced by 10% for all policyholders within the Special Flood Hazard Area. Staff has worked hard over many years to reach this level and will continue to work annually to maintain or improve this classification ranking so as to keep flood insurance rates as low as possible.
Other Flood Mitigation Steps
Additionally, City Staff and Council Members are in the process of reviewing the City’s first ever Resiliency Action Plan (RAP), which will create policies geared toward combating and reducing the impacts of various forms of flooding, including: storm surge, sea level rise and coastal flooding. City Council seeks to formally adopt this action plan by June 2021 and begin immediate implementation thereafter.
For more information on FEMA, current City flood mitigation initiatives and the City’s draft Resiliency Action Plan, please visit: