Why You Need Flood Insurance – What is Your risk?

Dorchester County has over 1,700 miles of shoreline bordering the Chesapeake Bay and major stream tributaries such as the Choptank River, Marshy Hope and Wright’s Branch. The majority of the County, 55.8%, is within the 100-year floodplain. Residents are at risk from tidal flooding, strong winds, storm surge and heavy rains that can cause destructive flooding in both waterfront and inland areas.

Most homeowners’ insurance policies specifically exclude damage caused by flood waters or from rising water from inadequate drainage and wind-driven rain. You can purchase National Flood Insurance at any time. There is usually a 30-day waiting period after premium payment before the policy is effective. Homeowners can include contents coverage in their National Flood Insurance Policy. Residential and commercial renters can purchase contents coverage. Business owners can purchase flood insurance coverage for their buildings and contents/inventory.

Floodplain Map
Displays the Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) for Dorchester County. These coverage areas are determine by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Information about flood risk and flood insurance, visit FloodSmart.gov.

In the event of an emergency, please visit the Department of Emergency Services web page.

Flood Gauges for Dorchester County: Bishop’s Head, Cambridge, and Salem.

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) 

NFIP Website: http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program

Fortunately, flood insurance is available to Dorchester County homeowners of property located in the floodplain through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The NFIP offers flood damage protection to communities, such as Dorchester, that have worked to manage and reduce the dangers of local flooding.

NFIP coverage is available to any Dorchester County owner or renter of insurable property.  It does not matter whether your flood risk is high or low. If you would like to purchase flood insurance, please contact any licensed property insurance agency or broker.

How do I buy Flood Insurance? Click here to find out more.

Click here to see recent changes to the NFIP.

Community Rating System (CRS)

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS: (1) reduce flood losses; (2) facilitate accurate insurance rating; and (3) promote the awareness of flood insurance.

Dorchester County has a score of 6 in the Community Rating System. For CRS participating communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted in increments of 5%; i.e., a Class 1 community would receive a 45% premium discount, while a Class 9 community would receive a 5% discount (a Class 10 is not participating in the CRS and receives no discount). The CRS classes for local communities are based on 18 creditable activities, organized under four categories.

Maryland Flood Insurance Rate Maps website is a comprehensive portal that will assist anyone with flood insurance information and flood risk information for Maryland communities. 

Additional NFIP Information

Answers to Questions about the National Flood Insurance Program, FEMA 387: Handbook (pdf)

Myths and Facts about the National Flood Insurance Program: Brochure (pdf)

Summary of Coverage: Handbook (pdf)

Summary of Coverage: Brochure (pdf)

Summary of Coverage for Commercial Properties: Brochure (pdf)

Property Protection Information

Mitigation of Flood and Erosion Damage to Residential Buildings in Coastal Areas, FEMA 257 – Handbook (pdf)

Protecting Building Utilities from Flood Damage, FEMA 348 – Handbook (pdf)

Above the Flood, Elevating Your Flood Prone House, FEMA 347 – Handbook (pdf)

Avoiding Flood Damage, A checklist for Homeowners – Handbook (pdf)

Avoiding Hurricane Damage, A checklist for Homeowners – Handbook (pdf)



What to do After the Flood

After the Flood, what to do next – FEMA Fact Sheet (pdf)

Repairing Your Flooded Home, FEMA 234 – Handbook (pdf)

Where can I find information other than online:

Floodplain information and NFIP brochures are available at the Dorchester County Planning Department and the Dorchester County Library. (available Dec. 1, 2012).

Dorchester County Planning and Zoning Staff can also assist with the following flood map information by calling 410-228-3234.

  • Whether a property is located within a FEMA mapped Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).
  • Flood insurance rating information such as FIRM zone, panel number, suffix, panel date, index date and regulatory base flood elevation.
  • FEMA elevation certificates if available. Dorchester County available elevation certificates for properties within the SFHA.
  • Regulatory provisions that may apply to the property in question.

LOMC – Letter of Map Change

Update – New Online Letter of Map Change (LOMC) Application

On December 17, 2012, FEMA is launching the Online Letter of Map Change (LOMC) – a new way to submit a request to change a property’s flood zone designation. The new Online LOMC application allows anyone to electronically submit required documents and property information when they are requesting FEMA remove their property from a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).

Starting December 17th, applicants can use this new website to request a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) instead of using the MT-EZ paper form. A LOMA is a letter from FEMA stating that an existing structure or parcel of land will not be inundated by the base flood. LOMA-eligible requests must be concerning properties on naturally high ground, which have not been elevated by fill.  FEMA will roll out more features in the coming months!

FEMA website for online change www.fema.gov/online-lomc information sheet about online change click here.

Elevation Certificates

The Elevation Certificate is an important administrative tool of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It is to be used to provide elevation information necessary to ensure compliance with community floodplain management ordinances, to determine the proper insurance premium rate, and to support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Revision based on fill (LOMR-F). As part of the agreement for making flood insurance available in a community, the NFIP requires the community to adopt floodplain management regulations that specify minimum requirements for reducing flood losses. One such requirement is for the community to obtain the elevation of the lowest floor (including basement) of all new and substantially improved buildings, and maintain a record of such information. The Elevation Certificate provides a way for a community to document compliance with the community’s floodplain management ordinance.

Click the links below to access issued elevation certificates by year:

2011-2013 Elevation Certificates

2014 Elevation Certificates

2015 Elevation Certificates

2016 Elevation Certificates

2017 Elevation Certificates

2018 Elevation Certificates

Dorchester County Floodplain Ordinance (pdf) County adopted Floodplain Management Regulations.

Additional Links: