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Flood Protection Against Intentional or Natural Flooding


Editor's Note: This post was updated May 18, 8:45 a.m.

Over the past few days, as we have continued working with our other federal partners to support Louisiana and other states impacted by the Mississippi River flooding, we have gotten questions about whether or not flood insurance protects against intentional flooding actions, like the U.S. Army Corps' decision to open the Morganza Spillway, and what other forms of aid are available to people currently being impacted by these events.

These are great – and important – questions and we thought it would be helpful to share some of the answers with all of you.

If I live near the Spillway, how does flood insurance apply to me?

Under current law, as passed by Congress, if you live in a high-risk flood zone and have a mortgage from a federally regulated lender, you are required by your lender to purchase a flood insurance policy, which can be through the National Flood Insurance Program, which offers flood insurance at affordable rates to homeowners and businesses. In terms of the areas in Louisiana currently being impacted by the Morganza Spillway, some communities may be in a high-risk flood zone, and some may not. If you're not sure of your current flood risk, go to and type in your address to easily determine your flood risk. Anyone can purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, regardless of your flood risk. Remember – under current law, in most cases, there is a 30 day waiting period between when you purchase flood insurance and your policy takes effect.

If you already have flood insurance, policies under the National Flood Insurance Program cover flood damages to insured buildings and contents, whether caused by an intentional opening of spillways or breaching of levees (or other actions taken to mitigate the impact of flooding), or whether simply caused by a natural flooding event. We suggest locating your policy and proactively contacting your insurance agent to find out what information you may need to have on hand if you need to file a claim.  For general flood insurance questions, a step-by-step guide to filing a flood claim, and more information about flood insurance, visit or call 1-800-427-4661.

Supporting Louisiana's Flood Efforts

In Louisiana, it is still too soon to tell what the total scope of the damages from this flooding will be. As many of you may remember from our previous posts on how the disaster declarations process works, any requests for federal disaster assistance, whether for individual home repair or replacement funds, or for public infrastructure, begin with the governor. In Louisiana, we are currently working with Governor Jindal and his team to support their initial efforts to prepare for and respond to the flooding – and will continue to work closely with them as this flooding event continues. Our Federal Coordinating Officer on the ground, Gerry Stolar, is embedded with the state’s emergency management team, and he and other FEMA staff on the ground continue to stand ready to assist as needed.

And as we always say, we aren't alone – we're part of a much larger team, including other federal agencies. You can read more about how our partners at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are supporting the farmers impacted by the flooding events in Louisiana.

What other types of aid are available to help people being impacted?

We’re also continuing to closely monitor the ongoing flood fight in areas along the Mississippi River where the crest has past, such as Missouri and Tennessee, and in Mississippi, where waters are forecast to crest in the next few days. At the request of the governors, President Obama has declared major disasters for the states of Missouri, Tennessee and Mississippi, including individual assistance in many areas.

We continue to urge everyone who sustained losses due to flooding in designated counties to begin applying for assistance today by registering online at, by web enabled mobile device at, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.

Last Updated: 
06/21/2012 - 19:44


Reading the response on this blog from FEMA, all p...

Reading the response on this blog from FEMA, all persons with flood insurance are covered for the "intentional" event where Corp of Engineers opened levees to reduce risk to other locations. <br />And Crop Insurance will cover loss to current agricultural crops. Assuming, of course, the property owners could afford the premiums. And knowing the "insurance" will only cover a small part of the damage to structures, and will not cover damage to land and growing areas.<br /><br />Who will pay for the local flooded areas infrastructure damage? For example, fund clean up and repair/rebuild the county/state roads, electrical grids, schools,public facilities, drainage ditches, levees, sewers, sidewalks, and so on.The taxpayer base for the area has been so impacted by the intentional flooding of their homes and livelyhood, there will not be a tax base for years. Will FEMA provide the necessary funds to the area for fast recovery? And does FEMA provide SAFE housing and shelter for the impacted property owners? Safe is mentioned as FEMA's trailers in 2004 were known to have severe health issues, even deaths from the fumes.

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