Dare County has declared a State of Emergency due to the unprecedented public health threat posed by COVID-19 and determined that restrictions and prohibitions are necessary to protect public health and safety and are also in keeping with the President's Coronavirus Guidelines for America. Visitors and non-resident property owners are prohibited from entering Dare County. View details at   Click here for the latest information on COVID-19. 

Low Risk is Not No Risk

Rumor vs Fact

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MYTH: You can’t buy flood insurance if you are located in a high risk-flood zone?

FACT: You can buy flood insurance no matter where you live in Dare County.   Floods can happen anywhere, even in areas that are outside of the floodplain.  1 in 4 flood losses occur in low-risk X zone properties. 


MYTH: You can’t buy flood insurance immediately before or during a flood.

FACT: You can by flood insurance at any time however there is usually is a 30-day waiting period before the policy is effective 


MYTH: Homeowners insurance policies cover flooding.

FACT: Homeowners insurance does not cover flood.   A separate policy is needed.  Flood insurance policies can be purchased by homeowners and business owners for building and contents.   Residential and commercial renters can also purchase flood insurance for contents and inventory.


MYTH: Flood insurance is only available for homeowners or business owners.

FACT: Renters can purchase flood insurance.


MYTH: You don’t need flood insurance if you are located outside of the flood zone or in a low risk Shaded X or X zone.

FACT: Floods can happen anywhere.  Flood maps do not account for rainfall, elevated groundwater levels, or the naturally low topography of the Outer Banks barrier islands.    Even properties located in Shaded X or X zones can flood.    





  • Where can I get a copy of an elevation certificate for my home or business?

    Check with the Dare County Planning Department. Depending on the date of construction of your home or business, Dare County may have a copy of an elevation certificate on file for your property.  However, the elevation certificate may be an older certificate based on previous versions of the flood maps and may not be up-to-date.  If you have flood insurance, your insurance agent may also have a copy on file.

    Other questions should be directed to Donna Creef,  Dare County Planning Director at 252-475-5873 or by email at

  • What if I don’t agree with the designation of my property on the preliminary maps?

    FEMA provides a 90-day appeal period during which Dare County and property owners can submit scientific or technical information if they believe the flood hazard determinations are scientifically or technically incorrect.   Supporting data submitted in an appeal must be certified by a NC licensed surveyor or engineer.

  • Why are the FIRMs for Dare County changing?

    Flood risks change over time and mapping technologies have also improved for the mapping of coastal flood hazards. The North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Program is a cooperating partner with FEMA and received permission from FEMA to update and revise the flood maps for North Carolina, including Dare County. 

  • Will the preliminary FIRMs affect my flood insurance rate?

    The preliminary FIRMs will not immediately affect flood insurance rates. Only the effective FIRM which has been officially adopted by Dare County and its municipalities can be used to rate flood insurance policies. Questions about potential impacts when the preliminary maps are adopted should be directed to your insurance agent. 

  • What flood zones are on the new maps?

    Zone that corresponds to the 1% annual chance floodplains, base flood elevations established, flood insurance required if associated with federally-insured mortgage.

    Zone that corresponds to the areas of 1% annual chance shallow flooding (usually sheet flow on sloping terrain) with average depths of 1 and 3, elevation required based on flood depth, flood insurance required if associated with federally-insured mortgage. 

    Zone that corresponds to the areas of 1% annual chance shallow flooding (usually ponding) where average depths are between 1 and 3 feet, base flood elevations established, flood insurance required if associated with federally-insured mortgage.    

    Zone that corresponds to the 12% annual chance coastal floodplains that have additional hazards associated with storm waves, base flood elevations established,   flood insurance required  if associated with federally-insured mortgage. 

    Zone that corresponds to areas outside the 0.2% annual chance floodplain, areas within the 0.2% annual chance floodplain, and to areas of 1% annual chance flooding where average depths are less than 1 foot,   no base flood elevations established, no flood insurance required.  

  • Can I use the base flood elevation (BFE) on the preliminary map to construct my new home?

    Until the preliminary maps are adopted, Dare County is required by FEMA to use the base flood elevations established on the effective FIRMs dated September 20, 2006 for new construction and substantial improvements.    Because the information contained on the preliminary maps can be appealed to FEMA and may change as a result of the appeals process, the effective maps will be used for regulatory purposes when approving construction permits.     Dare County will check the preliminary maps when reviewing construction permit applications and advise property owners about any proposed changes on the preliminary maps.   However, the base flood elevations on the 2006 effective FIRMs will continue to be used until the preliminary maps are adopted by Dare County. 

  • When will the preliminary FIRMs be effective?

    Typically, the map update process takes 18 to 24 months to complete once the preliminary maps are released.   Certain procedures must be completed before the preliminary maps can be finalized -- this includes a 90-day appeal period for the maps and a 6-month compliance period in which local governments must adopt the new maps and update their local flood damage prevention ordinances.    The process is established by FEMA in cooperation with the NC Floodplain Mapping Program. For more information on the FIRM process review FEMA publication 495 link below:

  • How can I get additional information about the map update process?

    Community meetings with State and Dare County officials will be held at which property owners and citizens can ask questions and provide comments on the preliminary maps. The times and dates of these meetings will be posted on this website once they are determined later this winter

  • How will I know if the flood zone for my property has changed?

    You can check the effective flood map and the preliminary map at the NC FRIS website. This website can be used to view the effective maps and the preliminary map for properties.  Or you can contact the Dare County Planning Department at 252.475.5873 and the planning staff will assist you with identification of the flood zone for your property.  

  • How can I view the new preliminary flood maps?   is the website for viewing the preliminary maps. Below is a video demonstrating use of the FRIS site and how to access its information and print reports for your property.