A variety of public data sources are used to estimate flood damages

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Data from the United States Army Corps of Engineers and First Street Foundation’s Flood Model is primarily used to estimate property-specific flood damages.

The data used to calculate annual flood damage costs primarily comes from the First Street Foundation Flood Model and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), with additional property data provided by Lightbox.

Data sources used

The annual flood damage cost estimates refer to how much, on average, a property owner could expect to pay in repair costs from flood damage to their building in a given year. It is calculated based on a property’s flood risks, the likelihoods and depths of flooding projected for a building, and building characteristics, such as property type, elevation, materials, and building value. 

  • The estimated property value data includes the value of the physical building structure as well as the value of the land the property sits on. These values are estimated through a peer-reviewed methodology developed by First Street Foundation® based on a home’s specific building characteristics. 
  • The estimated building structure value and building characteristics for each property come from the National Structures Inventory (NSI) database or Lightbox, a leading provider of commercial real estate data.
  • The historical data on flood damage costs comes from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The USACE data analyzes the relationship between the depth of flooding and the amount of damage caused, based on historical records from FEMA insurance claims.
  • The projected depth and the likelihood of flooding from the First Street Foundation’s Flood Model. 

Additionally, fluvial (riverine) and coastal depth-damage curves from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are applied to First Street Foundation’s Flood Model. Using the same methods as the USACE, First Street Foundation has created a separate peer-reviewed pluvial (precipitation) damage curve to fully account for all types of flood risks. 

Please note, the flood risk damage estimates only include potential structural damage to homes and do not include additional costs to homeowners of replacing the contents of their home, or potential overhead costs associated with storage of property, finding temporary shelter, and other interim costs that may be included in NFIP premium calculations.

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