You may be eligible for discounts if you live in a low- to
here for FEMA information about preferred risk policy premiums.
Flood insurance policies are available in three forms:
"Dwelling" (most homes); "General Property"
(apartments and businesses); and "Residential Condominium
Building Association Policy" (condominiums). Flood limits vary
coverage and location.
There are about 19,000 communities participating in the NFIP
(National Flood Insurance Program). Entire communities are
"mapped" and assigned a zone designation. Some zones
more vulnerable than others. You are not required to buy flood
insurance if you do not live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).
However, floods sometimes occur outside these special hazard areas.
Go to FEMA's
Status Book to see
of the communities participating in NFIP.
How to Purchase Flood Insurance
purchase flood insurance, call your insurance agent or
contact one of the many
Own" companies (private companies
that write insurance under a special arrangement with FEMA). If your agent does not write flood insurance, call the National Flood Insurance
Program's (NFIP) toll free number 1-888-CALL FLOOD, ext. 445 to obtain an agent in your area who writes flood
insurance. Premiums may be paid by cash, check, credit card,
or through an escrow account established by your
mortgage lender. Generally, if your lender requires you to
buy flood insurance, they will escrow the premiums and
factor those payments into your monthly payment amount.
Q & A
Who may purchase a flood insurance policy?
NFIP coverage is available to owners/occupants of
insurable property located within a community
participating in the NFIP. Personal property may also be insured against flood loss
as well as Builders (while in the course of construction), condominium associations, and owners of
residential condominium units. (Condominium associations may purchase a master policy
that covers both common building elements and
individual units owned by members of the association.
Residential unit owners may purchase building and
contents insurance to supplement other
insurance purchased by the home owners' association. Non-residential condominium unit
owners may only purchase contents
coverage however, the non-residential condo building
must be insured in the name of the association.
How is flood insurance purchased?
A community must first join the NFIP. A policy may then be purchased from
any licensed property insurance agent or broker representing a Write
Your Own company.
- If a property owner perceives a risk of flooding to an insurable
building, he/she contacts an
insurance agent or broker or Write Your Own (WYO) company.
- The insurance agent completes the necessary forms for the
builder or buyer. If a building is constructed in a SFHA
after the issuance of a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), the builder
(or buyer) must obtain an "elevation
certificate" completed by a licensed engineer, architect, surveyor,
or appropriate community official.
- The agent submits the application,
elevation certification if necessary, and premium to the NFIP or to a
participating WYO company.
How are flood insurance premiums calculated?
Many factors impact the premium rates for flood
insurance coverage. They include: the amount of coverage desired,
location, building age, occupancy, and design, and, the elevation
(for buildings in the SFHAs). The only
buildings in Zones B, C, and X eligible for preferred risk
coverage at a reduced premium are single-family
and 2-4 family dwellings. For these exceptions, there are certain
loss limitations depending on the amount of insurance purchased.
"Presentment of payment" is the receipt of premium. It
is the time that payment is actually received by
the NFIP. Delivery to an insurance agent/broker or mailing a
premium (postmark date) does not
constitute presentment to the NFIP.
What flood losses are covered?
The Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) contains a complete
definition of coverage. Direct physical losses by
"flood" are covered as well as losses resulting
from flood-related erosion caused by waves or currents of water
activity exceeding anticipated cyclical levels and accompanied by a
severe storm, flash flood, and/or abnormal tidal surge, and damages caused by mudslides.
In some cases, NFIP may also pay claims on buildings subject to imminent collapse or subsidence as a result of
erosion so the building can be demolished or relocated before the
damage occurs. Specific requirements must be met for such claims to
be paid, and the amounts of payment are defined by statute.
Does the NFIP apply a deductible to losses?
A minimum deductible is applied separately to buildings and contents. Higher
deductibles reduce policy premiums but will have to be approved by
any lien holder.
What if I want flood insurance, but my community doesn't
participate in the National Flood Insurance Program?
A: Unfortunately, you may not purchase flood insurance. Let your elected officials know
want to be in the NFIP program. Most communities are
willing to develop a plan for floodplain management and adopt flood-resistant construction
practices. A local
petition drive may be necessary.
Note: Flood insurance is mandatory as a
condition of receipt of federal-related financial
assistance for acquisition and/or construction of buildings in SFHAs
of any participating community. Those communities notified as "flood-prone" which do not apply for participation in the NFIP within 1
year of notification, are ineligible for federal or federally-related
financial assistance for acquisition, construction, reconstruction
of insurable buildings in the SFHA. Conventional loans are available
in the SFHA of non-participating communities for these purposes at
the lender's risk.
Participating Insurance Companies
This list identifies most of the
private insurance companies that sell and/or service Federal flood
insurance policies. Your local insurance agent or company should
also be able to provide this information.
Standard Flood Insurance Policy Forms
Go to FEMA's standard insurance policy forms.
Flood Insurance Manual
Go to FEMA's flood insurance manual.