Since standard homeowners insurance doesn't cover flooding, it's important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S.
In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to help provide a means for property owners to financially protect themselves. The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP. Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding.
The NFIP Partnership
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which works closely with nearly 90 private insurance companies to offer flood insurance to property owners and renters. In order to qualify for flood insurance, a community must join the NFIP and agree to enforce sound floodplain management standards.
The NFIP, a federal program, offers flood insurance, which can be purchased through property and casualty insurance agents. Rates are set and do not differ from company to company or agent to agent. These rates depend on many factors, which include the date and type of construction of your home, along with your buildings level of risk.
Coverage from the NFIP
Building Versus Contents Coverage
Flood insurance protects two types of insurable property: building and contents. The first covers your building, the latter covers your possessions; neither covers the land they occupy.
Building coverage includes:
- The insured building and its foundation
- The electrical and plumbing system
- Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
- Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
- Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished flooring
Contents coverage includes:
- Clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
- Portable and window air conditioners
- Portable microwaves and dishwashers
- Carpeting that is not already included in property coverage
- Clothing washers and dryers
The two most common reimbursement methods for flood claims are : Replacement Cost Value (RCV) and Actual Cash Value (ACV). The RCV is the cost to replace damaged property. It is reimbursable to owners of single-family, primary residences insured to within 80% of the buildings replacement cost.
All other buildings and personal property (i.e. contents) are valued at ACV. The ACV is the RCV at the time of loss minus physical depreciation. Personal property is always valued using the ACV.
Use the Summary of Coverage (PDF 108K) for more details on what's covered.
When is Insurance Required?
What to Expect
Congress mandated federally regulated or insured lenders to require flood insurance on properties that are located in areas at high risk of flooding.
Below you'll find the insurance requirements for your flood risk area. If you're not sure which area your property is in, take your Risk Profile to learn more.
Residents of High-Risk Areas
Homes and buildings in high-risk flood areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to have flood insurance. These areas have a 1% or greater chance of flooding in any given year, which is equivalent to a 26% chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.
Residents of Moderate-to-Low Risk Areas
Homes and businesses located in moderate-to-low risk areas that have mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are typically not required to have flood insurance. However, flood insurance is highly recommended because anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. People outside of high-risk areas file over 20% of NFIP claims and receive one-third of disaster assistance for flooding. When it's available, disaster assistance is typically a loan you must repay with interest.
A lender can require flood insurance, even if it is not federally required.
HOW CAN I GET COVERED?
Rate your risk
Estimate your premiums
Find an Agent
One-Step Flood Risk Profile
DEFINING FLOOD RISKS
Flooding can happen anywhere, but certain areas are especially prone to serious flooding. To help communities understand their risk, flood maps (Flood Insurance Rate Maps, FIRMs) have been created to show the locations of high-risk, moderate-to-low risk and undetermined-risk areas. Here are the definitions for each:
In high-risk areas, there is at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. All home and business owners in these areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to buy flood insurance. They are shown on the flood maps as zones labeled with the letters A or V.
In moderate-to-low risk areas, the risk of being flooded is reduced but not completely removed. These areas submit over 20% of NFIP claims and receive one-third of disaster assistance for flooding. Flood insurance isn’t federally required in moderate-to-low areas, but it is recommended for all property owners and renters. They are shown on flood maps as zones labeled with the letters B, C or X (or a shaded X).
No flood-hazard analysis has been conducted in these areas, but a flood risk still exists. Flood insurance rates reflect the uncertainty of the flood risk. These areas are labeled with the letter D on the flood maps.
Determining the Risk
To identify a community's flood risk, FEMA conducts a Flood Insurance Study. The study includes statistical data for river flow, storm tides, hydrologic/hydraulic analyses, and rainfall and topographic surveys. FEMA uses this data to create the flood hazard maps that outline your community's different flood risk areas.
Floodplains and areas subject to coastal storm surge are shown as high-risk areas or Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). Some parts of floodplains may experience frequent flooding while others are only affected by severe storms. However, areas directly outside of these high-risk areas may also find themselves at considerable risk.
Understanding Your Area
Changing weather patterns, erosion, and development can affect floodplain boundaries. FEMA is currently updating and modernizing the nations Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS). These digital flood hazard maps provide an official depiction of flood hazards for each community and for properties located within it.
FEMA has published almost 100,000 individual Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). See your map and learn how to read it so you can make informed decisions about protecting your property, both financially and structurally.
To find an agent enter your zip code Visit www.floodsmart.gov