It’s a good idea to determine the risk your property has of flooding. Is your house next to a creek or storm drain channel? Is it located at the low-point of a roadway or at the bottom of a hill? These are indications that flood insurance may be a good idea.

Mortgage companies usually require flood insurance for homes and businesses in the floodplain. Homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding caused by stormwater.

Keep in mind that people outside of floodplain areas file more than 20% of flood insurance claims and receive about one-third of disaster assistance, when it is available.

For more information about who must purchase flood insurance, download FEMA’s Mandatory Purchase of Flood Insurance Guidelines booklet.

In regard to lowering your premium, you may already be getting a 20% discount because of the steps Austin takes to guard against flooding. In addition, there may be some improvements that you can make to protect your house or business from flooding. For more information, call our hotline at 512-974-2843 or send an email.

An elevation certificate may also be helpful. Prepared by a surveyor or engineer, elevation certificates show the elevation of your home in comparison with the expected elevation of floodwaters. If the certificate shows that the lowest floor elevation in your house is above the expected inundation levels, it should lower your insurance premium. The City may already have one on file for your house or business, but we cannot guarantee the accuracy. Please use FloodPro to look up whether we have a certificate on file or you may contact us by phone or email.

Download these FEMA publications to find out more about protecting your property:

You can look this up on FloodPro, an online tool that shows floodplain maps, models, elevation certificates and floodplain map revision information. Questions? Call 512-974-2843 or send an email.

Risk of Property Damage: If your home is in the 100-year floodplain, it has a 26% chance of being flooded over the course of a 30-year mortgage. There are steps you can take to reduce property damage. For more information, visit, explore our FAQs or call our hotline at 512-974-2843.

Safety: Flooding can be deadly. Monitor the weather, consider purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio and prepare a family disaster plan. Learn more about where the floodplain is located on our interactive floodplain map. For more information about flood safety, visit our Flood Safety and Preparedness page.

Restrictions: Stricter permit regulations apply for any building, remodeling, construction or other development on properties in the floodplain. In some cases, it may be impossible to get a permit. For more information on restrictions, go to Floodplain Development Information.

Depending on how much rain there’s been, Austin’s creeks may be bone dry, gently flowing with water or a raging torrent. The floodplain is the area of land that is likely to be under water when the creek rushes over its banks. In a sense, the floodplain is the full extension of the creek. 

The 100-year floodplain is the land that is predicted to flood during a 100-year storm, which has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. You may also hear the 100-year floodplain called the 1% annual chance floodplain or base flood. Areas within the 100-year floodplain may flood in much smaller storms as well. The 100-year floodplain is used by FEMA to administer the federal flood insurance program and the City of Austin to regulate development.

The FEMA floodplain maps are used for administering flood insurance. FEMA floodplains are based the conditions that existed at the time of the floodplain study, including buildings, parking lots, driveways, bridges, culverts and channel geometry.

The City of Austin regulatory floodplain is used for development and building permits. Its floodplains are based on fully developed conditions. In other words, all of the land area is assumed to be fully built out with the maximum impervious cover currently allowed by zoning. Generally, the regulatory floodplains cover a greater area of land than the FEMA floodplains. In some cases, for example in the urban watersheds, the FEMA and City of Austin floodplains are exactly the same.


The restrictions protect lives and properties. They ensure that development doesn’t cause additional flooding on other properties. In addition, they ensure that the development itself minimizes the risks of flooding. Many of the development restrictions are federal requirements in order for Austin citizens to be able to purchase federally-backed flood insurance from FEMA.