What is my BFE?

In this blog, we are taking a real conversation with a client in order to make this information available to our community that has to purchase flood insurance or are curious about flood insurance. Please note that many insurances do not really understand flood insurance and most avoid it if they can. This is why we exist we are experts in this complicated insurance and are here to help. If you are looking for a new flood insurance policy or have had one for many years it is always good to understand how seemingly simple things like your Base Flood could affect your flood insurance premiums. We will also discuss the private flood insurance market briefly but there are more in-depth pages we have for these topics. Links at bottom of page

What is my Base Flood?

Hey, Robert, I am trying to get a BFE for my property, we spoke about it before can you tell me what my BFE is? What is my base flood Elevation?

Hi, Dewitt thanks for reaching out sorry we didn’t get a chance to connect.

My colleague Claudia told me you were looking to get the BFE for the property you have in Arvada.

If you are looking at other properties they might have slightly different levels.

11025 W 68TH AVE ARVADA, CO 80004

BFE: 5412

Attached is the Flood Zone determination. Are you considering pursuing a LOMA or are you looking to elevate the building. Anything I can help on?


Flood Insurance Quote

Hi Robert, sorry I missed your call.  I am trying to figure out how to find base flood elevations for all the houses in Arvada that are in the floodway.  Is this possible?

Are you good at reading maps?

Go to this site.

Put in your address to bring you into the area.

11025 W 68TH AVE ARVADA, CO 80004

The diagonal multicolored lines are the Floodway the light blue is the flood zone.  there are BFE’s numbers on the map that goes across this could give you a better idea.

If you are really looking to GEEK out you can click on this will let you look at the official maps and historical maps for the whole area.

Image of the maps pictured below. Heres the link again. https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search#searchresultsanchor

Flood Insurance Quote

Thank you very much I’ll try it out!

Have fun!!

Sorry to bug you again – what does 5412 mean.  I see 5408 on the map near my property?

Hi, Dewitt no bother, I really think this stuff is cool so I love to chat about it.

The FZD (Flood Zone Determination)  is an official document that is unique for each property – that’s the pdf of what is attached.

On the map in the link, you see you see 5408  that as you mentioned is buy your home. It is just a marker.

On your flood zone determination, the number 5412 which is the BFE (Base Flood Elevation) for your home and is how high the core of engineers believe the floodwaters will come if the area floods.

The only way to figure out where your property your properties’ true elevation is to have a FEMA approved surveyor come out and do what is called an Elevation Certificate.

Ideally, you want to have your home sitting higher than the BFE and this would be the lowest level or the Lowest Agacent grade (LAG).

Call me tomorrow if you want to discuss whether or not an elevation certificate would be right for you. 1-866-990-7482

Your Flood Nerd.

Robert Murphy

Click on this link for a quote https://www.betterflood.com/education/

Flood Insurance Quote

Flooding is the nations Number one cause of financial ruin, and likely the largest claim that for most homeowers without flood insurance will ever face and it happen more then you think.

We never think too much about the creek, stream, brook or river that runs close to our home.

The babbling water sounds nice and it attacks birds and wildlife.

In an instant homes can be destroyed.

Families will have to start over from nothing and oftentimes face bankruptcy ruining their financial future.

Your home can go from your refuge to your worst nightmare.

Disasters are becoming more common across our country.

From 1981 to 2001 it was safe to say that fewer than 20 percent of the US counties will experience a disaster each year. 

Today, that number is about 50 percent. Check out this 2018 report on climate change.

The federal government spends billions of dollars annually from our taxes, to help communities rebuild and prevent future damage.

Report is forcasting more water more flooding
More precipitation more flooding

Flood Insurance Quote

What is Base Flood Elevation (BFE)? Base Flood

Ok, so we are dealing with the government so the answer has to be obscure and not really say anything.

Here is the “official” definition.

NFIP/FEMA definition Base Flood

A flood having a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. The base flood is a national regulatory standard used by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and all Federal agencies for the purposes of requiring the purchase of flood insurance and regulating New development.

Ok now in the Flood Nerds Terms.

What is my home’s BFE?

The base Flood is how high the government believes the floodwaters will rise in the event of excessive rainfall.

Since 1973 when the program started our government commissioned FEMA to map the entire county and identify the areas that are at high risk for flooding.

In doing this they created the Base Flood Elevation and that number is used on flood insurance rate maps.

Flood Insurance Quote

How does the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) impact my flood insurance premiums?

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has had a monlopy for over 50 years. Uses the Base Flood in their flood insurance maps to identify the areas that will be required to purchase flood insurance.

The BFE will also dictate how much your premium will be in the flood zone map.

Other factors include the age of the home and the foundation.

If you are looking for alternatives the Private flood insurance market uses totally different flood insurance rate maps and often times can save up to 50% over the NFIP. We shop all the options in your market to identify the best premium for you.

What is Base Flood Elevation in zone AE

What is a base flood

What is my BFE elevation?

There are basically two ways to figure out your Base flood.

  1. You can fill out our intake form for your property and put in the notes that you are wanting to know what your BFE is. (Intake form here) 

  2.  Or you can go to this site and put your address in to look at your property in relationship to the flood map.

Base flood elevation example

The image below shows the different BFE’s. If you are looking in a flatter state you may have to look around the flood map to find the identifiable BFE.

How high do I have to build above the base flood elevation?

It is a good practice if you are building a new structure in a high-risk flood zone to be about 2 feet above the current BFE.

You should always work with the local flood plain manager to make sure your building is within the FEMA guidelines for building in a flood zone.

What if I have a property without a base flood elevation Zone A, Unnumbered A flood zone

An unnumbered A flood zone without a BFE is a high-risk flood zone but the community hasn’t established a BFE with FEMA. This can be a challenge because without a BFE you will be possibly building a structure that is not elevated or elevated enough.

It is supercritical that you work with your community officials and see if they can come out and do a site-specific BFE.

The good news is in an un numbered A flood zone you can do your own Elevation Certificate you don’t need a surveyor to do one which can save you money in this instance you would fill out Section E on the Elevation Certificate only.

Flood Insurance Quote

Private flood insurance

Lloyds of London Flood Insurance

NFIP vs Private Flood Insurance