Flood Insurance

To enable persons to purchase insurance against physical damage to or loss of buildings and/or contents therein caused by floods, mudslide (i.e., mudflow), or flood-related erosion, thereby reducing Federal disaster assistance payments, and to promote wise floodplain management practices in the Nation's
flood-prone and mudflow-prone areas.

Agency - Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security has three primary missions: Prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism and minimize the damage from potential attacks and natural disasters.

Office - Contact the appropriate FEMA regional office, or the State office responsible for coordinating the program's activities.
Website Address


Program Accomplishments

As of February 2008, 20,519 communities participated; 5,584,763 policies in force; and $1,132,441,070,300 insurance in force.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Under the Emergency Program of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), property owners may buy flood insurance at a chargeable premium rate that is generally lower than a normal actuarial rate.

Maximum amounts of such coverage available under the Emergency Program of the NFIP are: $35,000 for a single-family home (higher limits are available in Hawaii, Alaska, Guam and the U. S. Virgin Islands), $100,000 for all other residential structures, plus $10,000 per dwelling unit for any contents; for nonresidential structures, an aggregate liability for any single structure of $100,000 and for contents, $100,000 per unit.

Once a detailed flood insurance risk study has been completed and the community enters the Regular Program, additional coverage on existing properties may be purchased at actuarial rates.

As of March 1, 1995, the maximum coverage available under the Regular Program is: $250,000 for single-family residential structures; 250,000 times this number of condominium units for a residential condominium building, $250,000 for all other residential structures; $100,000 for contents per dwelling unit; $500,000 for non-residential structures; $500,000 for contents of non-residential structures.

Effective October 1, 1983, coverage is no longer available for finished portions of basements with the exception of equipment necessary to make the building habitable, (e.g., furnaces).

Properties built within identified special flood hazard areas after the effective date of the Flood Insurance Rate Map are eligible for flood insurance only at actuarial rates.

Under the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, effective March 2, 1974, flood insurance must be purchased as a condition of any form of Federal or federally-related financial assistance, including Federal grants, disaster assistance, and mortgage loans from federally regulated lending institutions and FHA, Farmers Home Administration, VA or guaranteed mortgages when the improved real property to which the transaction applies is located within identified special flood hazard areas where flood insurance is available.

Communities having one or more identified special flood hazard areas must enter into the National Flood Insurance Program within 1 year of the official identification of their special flood hazard areas or be denied Federal financial assistance for acquisition or construction purposes within those areas.

Federally regulated conventional sources (i.e., banks, savings and loan associations, or similar lending institutions) are permitted to make loans secured by improved real estate or Manufactured Housing located or to be located in the identified special flood hazard area of a nonparticipating community which has been formally identified as flood-prone for more than 1 year, but Federal disaster assistance for acquisition or construction purposes will not be available in the event of flood or flood-related property damage.

The conventional lender is statutorily required to notify the borrower, before making a loan in such an area, whether Federal disaster assistance will be available to the property.

The Coastal Barrier Improvement Act of 1990 amended the Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982 by greatly enlarging the acreage included in the designated coastal barrier resources system unit.

The 1990 Act also added "otherwise protected areas." "Otherwise protected areas" are defined as an undeveloped coastal barrier within the boundaries of an area established under Federal, State, or local law, or held by a qualified organization, primarily for wildlife refuge, sanctuary, recreational or natural resource conservation purposes.

The 1982 Act prohibits the sale of new flood insurance on or after October 1, 1983 for new construction or substantial improvements of structures located on any coastal barrier with the Coastal Barrier Resources System designated by this Act.

The1990 Act prohibits the sale of new floodinsuranceonorafterNovember 16, 1990 for new construction or substantial improvements of structures located on any new coastal barrier within the Coastal Barrier Resources System designated or modified by this Act.

It also prohibits the sale of new flood insurance on or after November 16, 1991 for new construction or substantial improvements of structures located in an otherwise protected area that are not used in a manner consistent with the purpose of the otherwise protected area.

Subsequent pieces of legislation have added or deleted areas.

Also, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to make technical revisions and modifications to the boundaries of such units as may be necessary.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Flood insurance can be made available in any community (a State or political subdivision thereof with authority to adopt and enforce floodplain management measures for the areas within its jurisdiction) that submits a properly completed application to FEMA including copies of enacted floodplain management measures consistent with the National Flood Insurance Program regulations.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Residents, business, and property owners in applicant community, in which like States can insure municipal structures.


Same as Applicant Eligibility. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination


This program is excluded from coverage under 44 CFR Part 13 and E.O.


Application Procedures

Community officials must submit an NFIP eligibility application form, which is available from the FEMA, together with: copies of adopted floodplain management measures meeting the minimum standards of 44 CFR Section 60.3(a), 60.3(b), 60.3(c), 60.3(d), and/or 60.3(e), as appropriate for the type of flood hazards identified; a list of any incorporated communities within the applicant's boundaries; and estimates of population and, by kind, of buildings situated in the known flood-prone areas of the community. Such Applications should be submitted to the Mitigation Directorate, FEMA, Washington, DC 20472. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110.

Award Procedures

FEMA reviews the application and if complete, designates the community as participating. The community is informed of its admission, and notice is published in the Federal Register. Residents and property owners may then purchase flood insurance through any property insurance agent or broker.


Communities with one or more identified special flood hazard areas must enter the program within 1 year after the identification of those areas or else prohibitions against Federally related financial assistance for acquisition or construction purposes in identified special flood hazard areas take force. Once the community does qualify, after the prescribed date, these prohibitions are removed. Adequate floodplain management measures must be in effect within 6 months of the date that the special flood hazard area is identified and within 6 months of the date flood water surface elevations are provided.


National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

For complete applications, a maximum of 10 working days is allowed for review and notification.


Communities are allowed to appeal flood-prone identification and are also given an opportunity to appeal proposed flood elevation determinations for new construction and substantial improvement of existing structures in the special flood hazard areas. Notice of the proposed elevations is published in the Federal Register and is sent directly to the local governments. Following notification to the local government, the notice of proposed flood elevation determinations is published twice during a 10-day period in a prominent newspaper. The local community and its individual residents then have 90 days following the second newspaper notice to submit any scientific or technical data that tend to negate or contradict FEMA's findings. If a conflict in data exists and cannot be resolved at the community level, the community consolidates all individual appeals for review by FEMA. FEMA shall resolve the appeals by consultation with officials of the local government, or by submission of conflicting data to an independent scientific body, or by administrative hearings.



Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements


Length and Time Phasing of Assistance


Post Assistance Requirements


Every two years to FEMA on progress of the floodplain management program.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have an audit made for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards is exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


Specific elevation information on proposed new construction or substantial improvements in the area of special flood hazard. Backup data for biennial report.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Insurance) FY 07 $128,084,050; FY 08 est $138,000,000; and FY 09 est not available.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Claims paid: $1 to $1,900,000; $24,920.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Regulation 44 CFR 59 et seq. Publication, "Answers to Questions About the National Flood Insurance Program," "Mandatory Purchase of Flood Insurance Guidelines," "Elevated Residential Structures," "Guide To Flood Insurance Rate Maps," "Flood Insurance Manual" (agents manual), "National Flood Insurance Program. Application Forms," "Manufactured Home Installation in Flood Hazard Areas," "Coastal Construction Manual," Alluvial Fans: Hazards and Management," "Floodplain Management in the United States: An Assessment Report," "Design Guidelines for Flood Damage Reduction" and "Repairing Your Flooded Home," "Technical Bulletin Series (FIA-TB)" "Answers to Questions About Substantially Damaged Buildings," "Reducing Losses in High Risk Flood Hazard Areas," "Design Manual for Retrofitting Flood- Prone Residential Structures" and "Flood Proofing Non-Residential Structures."

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Contact the appropriate FEMA regional office, or the State office responsible for coordinating the program's activities.

Headquarters Office

Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), c/o 245 Murray Lane - Bldg. #410, Washington, DC 20523. Telephone: (800) 621-FEMA(3363).

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