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Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is required by law for any primary building with federally backed funding (e.g., mortgage or business loan) in a flood map zone with an A designation — A, AE, AH, AO, AR, and A99. In Zone X and Zone D, flood insurance is optional

The City and County of Denver recommends that property owners (and renters) consider flood insurance even when it not required, especially in areas that are prone to flooding.

Talk to an insurance agent who has experience with flood policies, and check out the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) website at For other flood insurance questions, call the FEMA Flood Insurance Hotline at 1-800-621-FEMA. After selecting the preferred language, select Option 2 for Flood Insurance.

Basic Flood Insurance Facts

  • Flood insurance is available regardless of whether or not the building is in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).
  • Areas outside of SFHA may be eligible for low-cost preferred risk policy (PRP).
  • Standard homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flood losses.
  • Property owners can insure building only or building and contents.  Renters can insure just their contents, even if owner does not insure the structure.
  • There is a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance policies to go into effect; don’t wait until rainy season to get a policy.
  • Flood insurance has limited coverage in basements; talk to your insurance agent about policy details, including exclusions/restrictions.

The City and County of Denver participates in the NFIP Community Rating System (CRS) program which rewards our stormwater and floodplain management efforts by offering flood insurance discounts to certain policyholders. The City and County of Denver is currently a CRS Class 7 (15% discount) effective May 1, 2017. (Previously it was CRS Class 8, 10% discount.) CRS discounts are available to policyholders located in a SFHA. Preferred Risk Policies (PRP) do not receive a CRS discount because these are already low cost policies.


NFIP Policyholder Letters

Beginning in 2017, policyholders will receive annual letters from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as notification that a review of their property's flood risk has been done.

FEMA Letters: Flood Risk and Policy Options

Zone A
Subject to 1% annual chance flooding. No base flood elevations determined.

Zone AE
Subject to 1% annual chance flooding. Base flood elevations determined.

Zone AE Floodway (cross hatched)
The floodway is the channel of a stream plus any adjacent floodplain areas that must be kept free of encroachment so that the 1% annual chance flood can be carried without substantial increases in flood heights.

Zone AH
Subject to 1% annual chance flooding. Base flood elevations determined. Flood depths of 1 to 3 feet usually in areas of ponding.

Zone AO
Subject to 1% annual chance flooding.  Base flood elevations determined.  Flood depths of 1 to 3 feet usually sheet flow on sloping terrain.

Zone AR
This is an area that was formerly protected from the 1% annual chance flood event by a flood control system that was subsequently decertified, and is currently in the process of being restored to provide protection from the 1% annual chance or greater flood event.

Zone A99
This is an area to be protected from the 1% annual chance flood event by a Federal flood protection system under construction; no base flood elevations determined.

Shaded Zone X
Areas of 0.2% annual chance flood; areas of 1% annual chance flood with average depths of less than 1 foot or with drainage areas less than 1 square mile; and areas protected by levees from a 1% annual chance flood.

Unshaded Zone X
Areas determined to be outside the 0.2% annual chance floodplain.

Zone D
Areas in which flood hazards are undetermined, but possible.