Flood Insurance & Other Flood Protection Resources

Required: If you are in a FEMA’s high risk (1% annual chance) flood hazard area, flood insurance is mandatory for properties that have U.S. government-backed mortgage. 

In most cases, it is up to the individual property owner to know their property’s flood risk and determine whether they want to purchase flood insurance. For example, if you pay cash for property ownership in a high-risk flooding zone, you are not legally required to have flood insurance, but are at a higher risk of loss, and it may be prudent to still purchase flood insurance.

Recommended: Just because your home or building is outside FEMA’s high risk (1% annual chance) flood hazard area, it does not mean that your property is not at risk of flooding. In areas where flooding may occur, but with less frequency (medium and low risk), flood insurance is not required, but recommended. There are also things you can do to your property that would allow you to reduce your premiums. Check out the Resources section below!

Presidential Disaster Declaration. The City of Worcester is designated as a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community, which means that property owners (even those located outside the FEMA’s high risk (1% annual chance) flood hazard area) may file claims for federal aid through NFIP after a presidential disaster declaration. However, most cases of flooding do not result in such a declaration, which is why having a flood insurance policy for your property is typically a worthwhile investment.

Types of Policies. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers three Standard Flood Insurance Policy forms. These forms provide policyholders with a description of their coverage and other important coverage information. For more information on how to find out what type of insurance is best suited for you, go to https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program/standard-flood-insurance-policy-forms.

Additional Resources from FEMA - Flood Protection:

As a property owner, renter, or business owner, there are multiple actions you can take to prepare your property from flooding in advance of extreme weather events:

For Property Owners, check:

For Renters: https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/housing-counseling/housing-counseling-disaster-recovery-toolkit/preparing/

For Real Estate Agents: https://www.fema.gov/risk-map-program-information-real-estate-lending-and-insurance-professionals

For Engineers, Surveyors and Architects: https://www.fema.gov/risk-map-program-information-engineers-surveyors-and-architects

For Small Businesses: https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/node/43155

For Everyone: https://www.redcross.org/content/dam/redcross/atg/Chapters/Division_1_-_Media/Denver/Denver_-_PDFs/EmergencyPreparednessChecklist.pdf 

Related Local Regulations:

Worcester Zoning Ordinance:

Regulated areas: FEMA’s high risk (1% annual chance) flood hazard areas - A, AO and AE

Law/Regulation Name and Location: City of Worcester Zoning Ordinance, Article VI – Floodplain Overlay District

Type of work/brief summary: No new building construction or substantial renovations of buildings (over 50% of property’s assessed value), no dumping, filling, excavating, earth transfer or storage of materials or equipment in the designated flood zones. All such construction/activities would need to be elevated so as to be above the floodplain base elevation. See the Ordinance for details.

Purpose of the Regulation is to reduce flood hazard and minimize flood damage, e.g.: To protect the public health and safety, persons and property against the hazards of flooding; to provide for public awareness of the flooding potential; to require that uses vulnerable to floods, including facilities which serve such uses, be protected against flood damage at the time of initial construction; to minimize the need for rescue and relief efforts associated with flooding, and more.

Contact for More Information: Division of Planning Regulatory Services and Department of Inspectional Services.

Wetlands Protection Ordinance & Regulations:

Regulated areas: FEMA’s high risk (1% annual chance) flood hazard area - AE; areas within 100-ft radius of water bodies and wetlands; bordering land subject to flooding (often, but not always, already included in AE zone); isolated land subject to flooding (almost never included in the AE zone); and more. See the Ordinance for more information.

Law/Regulation Name and Location: City of Worcester General Revised Ordinance, Chapter 6 - Wetlands Protection Ordinance; Worcester Conservation Commission’s Wetlands Protection Regulations.

Type of work/brief summary: Any work that causes ground disturbance in the above areas needs to be reviewed and approved by the Conservation Commission.

Purpose of the Regulation is to protect the wetlands, related water resources, and adjoining land areas by controlling activities likely to have a significant or cumulative effect on public or private water supply, groundwater, flood control, erosion and sedimentation control, storm damage prevention, water pollution, fisheries, and wildlife habitat, and more.

Contact for More Information: Division of Planning Regulatory Services, c/o Conservation Commission.