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The National Flood Insurance Program aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners, renters and businesses and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. These efforts help mitigate the effects of flooding on new and improved structures. Overall, the program reduces the socio-economic impact of disasters by promoting the purchase and retention of general risk insurance, but also of flood insurance, specifically.
HURRICANES HARVEY AND IRMA NOTE: If you've been impacted by Hurricane Harvey, this page provides resources about how to File Your Flood Claim.
I don't have flood insurance--Why do I need it?
FACT: Floods are the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster and cause millions of dollars in damage every year.
FACT: Homeowners and renters insurance does not typically cover flood damage.
FACT: Floods can happen anywhere--More than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside the high risk flood zone. Check out The Big Cost of Flooding.
FACT: Flood insurance can pay regardless of whether or not there is a Presidential Disaster Declaration.
FACT: Most federal disaster assistance comes in the form of low-interest disaster loans from U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and you have to pay them back. FEMA offers disaster grants that don't need to be paid back, but this amount is often much less than what is needed to recover. A claim against your flood insurance policy could and often does, provide more funds for recovery than those you could qualify for from FEMA or the SBA--and you don't have to pay it back.
FACT: You may be required to have flood insurance. Congress has mandated federally regulated or insured lenders to require flood insurance on mortgaged properties that are located in areas at high risk of flooding. But even if your property is not in a high risk flood area, your mortgage lender may still require you to have flood insurance.
Flood insurance helps more: Check out your state's flood history with FEMA's interactive data visualization tool. Roll your cursor over each county to see how many flooding events have happened. The tool allows you to compare how much FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration have provided in terms of federal disaster aid after Presidential Disaster Declarations to the amount the National Flood Insurance program has paid to its policyholders. It's easy to see that having flood insurance provides a lot more help for recovery.
I have flood insurance--Do I really need to keep it?
You realize your flood insurance policy is about to expire and you’re on the fence about renewing: It hasn’t flooded in your area in years (or ever). And you really could use that extra money to buy something you really want.
DON’T. RISK. IT.
FACT: Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States, affecting every region and state, including yours.
FACT: Flood insurance can be the difference between recovering and being financially devastated.
FACT: The damage from just one inch of water can cost more than $20,000. Check out The Big Cost of Flooding.
FACT: You may be required to have flood insurance. Congress has mandated federally regulated or insured lenders to require flood insurance on mortgaged properties that are located in areas at high risk of flooding. But even if your property is not in a high-risk flood area, your mortgage lender may still require you to have flood insurance.
FACT: If you allow your flood insurance policy to lapse for either more than 90 days, or twice for any number of days, you may be required to provide an Elevation Certificate (if you don't have one), and you may no longer be eligible for policy rate discounts you might have been receiving prior to the policy lapse. It's important to talk with your insurance agent before canceling or not renewing the policy.
FACT: You can file a flood claim even if there is not a Presidential Disaster Declaration.
FACT: Flood damage is not typically covered by homeowners insurance.
FACT: No home is completely safe from potential flooding devastation—why risk it?
FACT: If you live in a high risk flood zone, and you've received federal disaster assistance in the form of grants from FEMA or low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) following a Presidential Disaster Declaration, you must maintain flood insurance in order to be considered for any future federal disaster aid.
FACT: Storms are not the only cause of floods. Flooding can be caused by dams or levees breaking, new development changing how water flows above and below ground, snowmelt and much more.
FACT: Too often, Americans are caught off guard by the emotional and financial costs of flood damage.
Flood insurance helps more: Check out your state's flood history with FEMA's interactive data Visualization Tool. Roll your cursor over each county to see how many flooding events have happened. The tool allows you to compare how much FEMA has provided in terms of federal disaster aid (through its Individuals & Households Program) after Presidential Disaster Declarations to the amount the National Flood Insurance Program has paid to its policyholders. It's easy to see having flood insurance provides a lot more help for recovery.
To renew your policy, call your flood insurance agent. If you don’t have your insurance agent’s contact information, call the National Flood Insurance Program’s Help Center at 1-800-427-4661.
Who can buy flood insurance?
If you are a renter or homeowner (residential policy); or business owner (non-residential policy) and your property is located in a NFIP-participating community, you can purchase a policy. Contact your insurance agent to find out if your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program.
Flood insurance from the NFIP is only available in participating communities. Ask your agent if your state and community participate, or look it up online in the Community Status Book.
How can I buy flood insurance?
Find an insurance agent near you. The agent who helps you with your homeowners or renters insurance may be able to help you with purchasing flood insurance too.
You can only purchase flood insurance through an insurance agent; you cannot buy it directly from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If your insurance agent does not sell flood insurance, you can:
- Contact the National Flood Insurance Program’s Help Center at 1-800-427-4661 to request an agent referral.
What do I need to know when I buy a flood insurance policy?
- Ask your agent the right questions.
- Know what is and is not covered. Contents are not covered by a building/structure flood policy. You'll need another policy for contents within the building.
- What you need to know about your deductible.
- There is typically a 30 day wait period between when you buy a flood insurance policy and when it goes into effect, but there are some exceptions.
- There is a congressionally-mandated surcharge added to all National Flood Insurance Program policies.
How do I renew, change or pay for my flood insurance policy?
Your flood insurance agent can help you make changes to, pay for, or renew your flood policy. If your lender requires you to have flood insurance, contact them directly to ask questions about renewing or changing your policy. Your payments could be included in financial transactions associated with your mortgage.
My Question is About Flood Maps--What should I do?
Find out if your community has a recent or upcoming flood map change. When your community’s flood map is updated to reflect the current risks where you live, requirements for flood insurance coverage and the costs of your policy can also change.
Find your community’s flood map (Type in your address and choose "Interactive Map")
Request a review of your flood zone designation (If you believe the zone your insurer or lender has determined for your property is incorrect.)
My home or business just flooded--What should I do?
Flood claim appeals and guidance (please note--you cannot appeal a claim until you receive a denial [for some or all of your claim amount] from your insurance company.)
What Should I Know and do Before, During and After a Flood?
The National Flood Insurance Program Desk Reference is in three distinct sections:
- Before the Flood
- During the Flood, and
- After the Flood
Community and state leaders, insurance industry professionals, as well as policyholders, renters, homeowners and businesses will find its resources helpful. We have organized this guide to provide succinct information in an easy-to-navigate document and included important, key contact information. To ensure it can be updated as the program evolves, this document has been published electronically.
Before it floods--What can I do to prepare for or even reduce flood damage? And can doing these things lessen how much I pay for flood insurance?
What you pay for flood insurance has a lot to do with how much flood risk is associated with your building. It makes sense to reduce flood risk no matter what, but in some instances reducing flood risk can also lead to lower flood insurance costs. Below are some resources to help, but discussing your policy options with your insurance agent is the best place to start.
Reducing Flood Risk to Residential Buildings that Cannot be Elevated explains things that can be done to better protect a building from flood damage, and in some cases implementing these changes will reduce the cost of your flood insurance.
Communities enrolled in the NFIP's Community Rating System can get discounts on their flood insurance, learn more here.
The Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting can help you decide the right method to mitigate future damage and loss by considering various factors, such as hazards to your home, permit requirements, technical limitations, and costs. This guide also helps you develop a flood protection strategy.
The Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage, for eligible properties that are required to be in compliance with local floodplain requirements, can help pay for elevating a building after a flood. Another way to get help with the cost of elevating your building would be through one of FEMA's various grant programs. The grants are administered by states, and each state decides which projects it will fund and for how much. Contact your local floodplain manager for more information.
To learn more about elevating your property, read Elevating Your House.
Did you know? An elevated home, like the one shown on the 5 Ways to Lower Your Flood Insurance Premium, with a first floor elevated 3 feet above the base flood elevation, can expect to save 60 percent or more on annual flood insurance premiums.
Did you know? Elevating just one foot above the Base Flood Elevation often results in a 30% reduction in annual premiums.
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