November 22, 2017

National Flood Insurance Program

When the snow melts, the rain pours down, and rivers overflow their banks, many unsuspecting homeowners are overcome by flood waters. The damage to homes and property from flooding is often not covered by traditional homeowner’s insurance. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)—a program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)—is designed to help reduce financial losses to communities and property owners most at risk for flooding and damage.

National Flood Insurance Program

What is the NFIP?

The NFIP is a type of disaster insurance, available to property owners where flood plain management is enforced. The federal government established the NFIP as part of the FEMA in the early 1970s. Since then the program has paid out millions of dollars in flood insurance to qualified residents in communities that willingly participate in the program.

FEMA maintains flood plain and flood insurance maps that help identify those communities most at risk and eligible for federal insurance coverage. When communities apply for participation in the FEMA program they get government resources and support resources to better manage flood risks. They are also required to create a flood management strategy and to adopt and enforce that strategy in accord with the NFIP.

Residential Flood Insurance from FEMA

Anyone who’s ever experienced even a small amount of water in their home knows the financial impact of that damage. Truth is you don’t have to have feet of water flood your home to have major damage. Just a little water can wreak havoc with a home. Simply put: wood, carpeting, flooring, paint, and electricity don’t mix with water. After flood waters recede, you may be stuck with mold, mildew, shot wiring, and more, all of which can make a home uninhabitable.

Flood Insurance for Renters

The NFIP flood insurance is only available to the property owners, which excludes renters. If you know you live in a flood plain or flood prone area, you can buy flood insurance that covers your personal property if the home you rent is damaged by flooding while you live there.

The NFIP Community Resources

To be qualified for federal flood insurance, residents must live in an area identified as a flood plain and one in which their community actively participates in the NFIP program. Residential flood insurance is a small, though critical, part of the NFIP. But community leaders must take steps to enforce management of their flood areas in accordance with FEMA and NFIP requirements. They can do this by:

  • Ensuring zoning laws take the NFIP flood plain map into consideration, locating businesses and homes well outside the flood plain.
  • Ensuring new construction, especially, is well outside the identified flood plain.
  • Exceeding the NFIP flood plain management requirements and opting into the Community Rating System (CRS) that ensures insurance premiums are reduced.

Find out more about the federal government’s flood insurance program at FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program website. (http://www.fema.gov/about/programs/nfip/ )

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