RI Flood Zone Changes 2013 | RI Flood Maps 2023

RI Flood Zone Changes 2013 | RI Flood Maps 2021


UPDATE:  As of April 1, 2023 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will have a new system that all towns, commercial and residential real estate will need to comply with going forward.  There will no longer be designated flood zones (i.e. A, AE, AV, etc.) but will now take into account climate impact on tide and water rises.  The new program is called Risk Rating 2.0 and will incorporate third-party, commercially compiled catastrophe flood models and replacement cost data for property.  This new risk rating rates each home by itself (rather than flood zone).


It was a matter of time that the RI flood zone changes 2013 took effect for all RI flood maps.  It is here.

The Rhode Island flood zone changes 2013 are now available for viewing at your Towns’ planning and/or building office.   It is another shuffling of the papers, RI Flood Zone Changes 2023pinpointing of demarcation marks/boundaries and just plain coastal water changes making the new 2013 flood zone changes defined.

FEMA revised RI flood maps are in the Town Halls in the Planning or Building departments for RI homeowners.  One thing about RI coastal real estate is that you have plenty of ocean and Narragansett Bay waters to impact your real estate.


Unfortunately, it seems that you need to go down to the Town Hall to see where your property stands now…are you in, out or no change to the RI flood zone changes being projected for October 2013.  Honestly, your  insurance company may have a better handle on what flood zone you are in or not so give your agent a call.
I have gone to the town hall to review the RI flood zone changes 2013 for my coastal neighborhood.  The maps are on line for the town access and the staff prints out the Firm (need to know which one you are on or they can locate it for you), legend of all the dots and slashes on the map and then you hope to figure it out.


If you have never looked at a RI flood zone map you should.  So much of RI is impacted by water that is a good learning lesson.  Yes, elevation does matter on flood zone.  Honestly, I have been told my neighborhood is over 16 feet above sea level on my street but RI flood map changes may show something else.  The better way to determine this height level is to have a civil engineer (I have a good one to recommend if you are in need) calculate it for you with an elevation certificate. Especially if you want to challenge your insurance company on the flood zone.


There have been increases and decreases in my area of North Kingstown since the last RI flood zone Firm was done in 2010.  All of the changes are color coded which does help as long as you can identify your street and location. Unlike town plat maps, flood maps do not overlay onto plat maps.  So a bit of interpolation, which can be off, is needed to find your property.  All of southern RI real estate is impacted here as I’ve shared on other flood posts.  In fact, you can be in a high risk flood zone if you are by a stream or river too.  Sorting your property location out is an important part of any home buying or selling process.


Flood zones and ground water overlays (including aquifers) also impact the type of OWTS (onsite wastewater treatment systems) you can install.  The denitrification systems that are required in flood zones cost approximately twice the cost of one in a non high risk flood zone (AE or VE).  So there is more than just flood maps to look at but also RI Department of Management’s Ground Water / Aquifer maps for the communities you are buying into.  Although it may not impact on the buying of a property, it may impact you when selling.  As a coastal RI real estate agent, I stay informed to keep my clients in the know on all of these changes.


Where I have seen the RI flood zone changes from FEMA in the revised flood plains of 2013 are increases in two areas:  wind velocity zones and in special flood hazard areas.


Oh yes, there have been special flood hazard decreases too.  Your mortgage company will tell you via mail informing you that you now must have flood insurance on your home.  If you don’t have a mortgage, be aware that your home insurer may not contact you.  Do your due diligence and see what flood zone you may or may not be in Always get the flood insurance you need and protect your home.
[UPDATE:  As of October 2013, the RI purchase and sales agreement has a flood insurance addendum that is now part of the home sales contract.  Buyers it is important to do your due diligence here.  Ensure that if you are in doubt of the current flood zone (having no current elevation certificate) that you make the true determination of it a contingency as part of the purchase reement.]


FEMA has also allowed wise homeowners who always carried flood insurance on their home (needed or not) to be ‘grandfathered’ in their flood insurance premium.  This allows upon sale of the property for the new buyers to have a lower cost premium that will increase over a number of years.  Always consult with a knowledgeable flood insurance specialist locally.


Meaning that it will rise negligibly and can pass to a future buyer of the home.  This can save thousands of dollars for a new home buyer wanting a waterfront or coastal RI home.

As I have noted in other flood zone posts the government is eliminating subsidies on flood insurance for secondary residences, continual loss properties, business properties,and properties that have repeated flood claims where insurance payments have been greater than market value.  All this was suppose to be in effect in 2014 forward  through the next 4 years (25% increase each year until no subsidy amount for flood insurance exists).


I have had a number of RI waterfront property owners contact me about possibly selling their homes now.  It is a big decision to make.  If you need a market analysis on your home, please call me, Ginny Lacey Gorman, RI waterfront real estate agent at 401-529-7849 today.  I can help you, if you are my client, well with your RI coastal real estate options.


As the global waters rise, it will be part of our changing lives in RI waterfront properties so let’s be prepared.  RI flood zone changes 2023 and flood maps 2023 are here.
Ginny Lacey Gorman is a Rhode Island coastal real estate agent who lists and markets RI waterfront real estate and can be reached at 401-529-7849 or email me at Ginny@RiHouseHunt.com.  If you would like to know what your home is worth email me as your best interest will always be my priority!


  1. Joan glasheen317@cox.net says

    I live at 25 Rosedale Court. Is that in a Rhode Island flood zone? It is far from any water.

  2. Richard Barker says

    I have flood insurance but my company does not transfer flood insurance. does the FEMA grandfather clause still apply for a new owner who wishes to purchase insurance.

    • says

      I have messaged you privately Richard…you did not tell me where your property is. All flood insurance in Rhode Island comes through FEMA whether you go through a broker or not. It is something that must be established for all RI coastal home buyers prior to having a signed & sealed sales agreement on a property…or not care if it is insurable.