a good realtor should check every home you express an interest in for flood insurance purposes BEFORE you start writing a contract. maps are readily available as well as web site subscriptions. the flood insurance only protects the lender in the event the home is destroyed beyond habitability and the security for their mortgage floats away. i dont recall any homes totally destroyed by flooding in the area, and the premiums you pay here will go to pay for knuckleheads who live on major waterways and flood every few years. it does have a serious impact on the value of a home even if it never flooded. a $1200 a year premium (premiums are based on your mortgage amount and the flood zone classification) translates into about $15,000 in buying power for a home outside the flood plain.