Important Updates

Insurance Coverage

FEMA uses several different codes to indicate the flood risk on the FIRM maps. Find out more at Knowing the Codes.

Flood insurance premiums through the National Flood Insurance Program are based on these codes. Property owners can find out what area they are in based on the City's Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM). To find out more about current premiums, visit:

Flood insurance through NFIP can cover just the building, just the contents, or building and content together. For more details on what is covered, visit About the National Flood Insurance Program: Coverage from the NFIP.

While some areas are more likely to flood, flooding can happen anywhere! Moderate-to-low risk areas still account for approximately 20% of NFIP claims and receive 1/3 of disaster assistance from flooding.

Are you affected?

According to FEMA, the City of Columbia has 840* active flood insurance policies. Visit City FIRMS: Find Your Risk to find out if your property is in the floodplain.
* As of July 24, 2014.

Building Above Base Flood Elevation (BFE)

Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is defined by FEMA as the water surface elevation resulting from a flood that has a 1% chance of equaling or exceeding that level in any given year.

Anything built at or below BFE has at least a 1% chance of being flooded. Buildings set above BFE have a reduced chance of flooding. Buildings with an Elevation Certificate that shows the lowest finished floor is at or above BFE typically qualify for significant reductions in flood insurance premiums. The graphic below demonstrates how much a residential customer might save in their flood insurance premiums by building at or above BFE.

Under the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, You Could Save More than $90,000 over 10 years if You Build 3 Feet above Base Flood Elevation

Under the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, You Could Save More than $90,000 over 10 years if You Build 3 Feet above Base Flood Elevation

City Participation in the National Flood Insurance Program

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a voluntary program for communities. The City of Columbia has participated since 1981. This participation allows property owners and renters in the City to purchase flood insurance through the Federal program. It also means the community is eligible for Federal disaster relief funds following a catastrophic flood.

As part of its participation in NFIP, the City has a floodplain management ordinance requiring any new buildings or substantially improved buildings to be built using techniques to reduce chances for flooding. For details, see City Floodplain & Floodway Regulations.

Ali Khan

Floodplain Manager
1136 Washington St.
Columbia, SC 29201


Office: (803) 545 3400