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What Does Flood Zone AE Mean?
Flood zone AE is one of the several zones that is considered as a high flood risk area. Typically, these zones might include the areas near water bodies. ScienceStruck, here, will explain to you what flood zone AE means.
ScienceStruck Staff
Last Updated: Sep 27, 2018
"We are seeing a significant number of properties moving out of the VE and AE zones. We're trying to be more accurate whether a property needs to be shown in a flood zone or a property needs to be pulled out."
― John Dorman, Floodplain Management Director, North Carolina
The FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is responsible for determining the risk of flood in the U.S. It charts geographical maps that depict the flood-prone areas. These areas are classified into zones based on certain factors, and flood zone AE is one of them.
According to earlier conventions, the zones were classified in a different manner. As of today, the numbering has changed, and the AE zone is one of the designations that belong to the A zones. The following paragraphs elaborate further on this topic.
Flood Zones
  • Certain areas have been classified by the FEMA to be high risk flood areas. These areas are called zones.
  • FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Programs state that the V-zones are areas with the highest flood risk.
  • They are the most hazardous, and generally, properties next to the beach fall under this category.
  • Next, we have the A zones, which again are high flood risk areas.
  • The A zones also cover the AE, AR, A1-A30, AH, and AO zones.
  • The X zones are the areas with least flood risk.
  • D zones are the areas where flooding may be possible, but they haven't been studied yet.
Flood Zone Definitions
Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)
It is a high risk flood area. Flood zone AE falls under this category.

Non-Special Flood Hazard Area (NSFHA)
It includes those areas that fall under a low to average flood risk.
Flood Transition Area
As declared by the FEMA, it is an area near the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and may be subject to development regulations.

Floodway
A floodway is defined as the area beside a water body that has certain restrictions placed on it, since it is needed to move the flood downstream, out of houses.
Floodway Fringe
The floodway fringe is the portion of the flood area that lies on either side of the floodway.

Outside Flood Area
Area located outside the SFHA, considered to be an average flood risk area.
Flood Zone AE
  • As mentioned earlier, it is one of the high risk areas.
  • Flood zone code AE is set by the local planning office.
  • Buying a flood insurance is mandatory for this area.
  • The local planning office also examines every new and old structure to ensure that they all meet the standards set by the NFIP.
Base Flood Elevation (BFE)
✧ Base flood elevation is the flood water elevation above the mean sea level, as predicted by the FEMA. This is done using hydraulic analysis.

✧ Every high flood risk area needs to have their houses constructed above the base flood elevation level, and these building requirements hold true for the AE zone as well.
✧ Every new construction must begin above this level; for example, if the BFE is 4 feet, the floor or any horizontal member of the new construction must be above 4 feet.
Flood Maps
✧ The planning department of every community has a floodplain map.

✧ Or, a flood map can be obtained from the Map Service Center of the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).
High Risk
✧ Zone AE represents 1% annual chance of flooding

✧ This area is also called the 100-year floodplain.

✧ Since it is a high risk area, buying flood insurance is mandatory.
Flood Zone Insurance
  • Flood zone insurance is compulsory for people staying in the hazardous zones. They need to be a part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for the same.
  • Most banks are a part of the NFIP, and the federal government provides flood insurance in order to reduce renovation costs.
  • The premiums for flood insurance are relatively higher than the other insurance premiums.
  • Also, remember that based on the risk, flood maps are changed periodically―could range from 6 months to a year. Accordingly, this change will affect your insurance.
  • For flood zone AE insurance, you need to refer to the declared BFE of those areas.
  • Again, several other factors come into picture―the type of construction, the amount of coverage purchased, the deductible, etc.
If you are staying or planning to buy property in flood zone AE or any other major flood risk area, be sure to stay safe. Get flood insurance coverage and keep note of the changing BFE, lest your premium suddenly increases.