Flood Insurance

WHAT IS THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM?

In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in response to the rising cost of taxpayer funded disaster relief for flood victims and the increasing amount of damage caused by floods. The NFIP makes Federally-backed flood insurance available in communities that agree to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage. National Flood Insurance is available in more than 19,000 communities across the United States and its territories. The NFIP is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration and Mitigation Directorate. The Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration manages the insurance component of the NFIP, and works closely with FEMA's Mitigation Directorate, which oversees the floodplain management and mapping components of the Program. The NFIP, through partnerships with communities, the insurance industry, and the lending industry, helps reduce flood damage by nearly $800 million a year. Further, buildings constructed in compliance with NFIP building standards suffer approximately 80 percent less damage annually than those not built in compliance. And, every $3 paid in flood insurance claims saves $1 in disaster assistance payments. The NFIP is self-supporting for the average historical loss year, which means that operating expenses and flood insurance claims are not paid for by the taxpayer, but through premiums collected for flood insurance policies.

TOP 10 FACTS EVERY CONSUMER NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM (NFIP)

1. Everyone lives in a flood zone. You don't need to live near water to be flooded. Floods are caused by storms, melting snow, hurricanes, and water backup due to inadequate or overloaded drainage systems, dam or levee failure, etc.

2. Flood damage is not covered by homeowners policies. You can protect your home, business, and belongings with flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program. You can insure your home with flood insurance for up to $250,000 for the building and $100,000 for your contents.

3. You can buy flood insurance no matter what your flood risk is. It doesn't matter whether your flood risk is high, medium, or low, you can buy flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. And, it's a good idea to buy even in low or moderate risk areas: almost 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from low- to moderate-risk areas.

4. There is a low-cost policy for homes in low- to moderate-risk areas. The Preferred Risk Policy is available for just over $100 a year. You can buy up to $250,000 of coverage for your home and $60,000 of coverage for your contents.

5. Flood insurance is affordable. The average flood insurance policy costs a little more than $300 a year for about $100,000 of coverage. In comparison, a disaster home loan can cost you more than $300 a month for $50,000 over 20 years.

6. Flood insurance is easy to get. You can buy NFIP flood insurance from private insurance companies and agents; call yours today! You may be able to purchase flood insurance with a credit card.

7. Contents coverage is separate, so renters can insure their belongings too. Up to $100,000 contents coverage is available for homeowners and renters. Whether you rent or own your home or business, make sure to ask your insurance agent about contents coverage. It is not automatically included with the building coverage.

8. Up to a total of $1 million of flood insurance coverage is available for non-residential buildings and contents. Up to $500,000 of coverage is available for non-residential buildings. Up to $500,000 of coverage is available for the contents of on-residential buildings.

9. There is usually a 30-day waiting period before the coverage goes into effect. Plan ahead so you're not caught without flood insurance when a flood threatens your home or business.

10. Federal disaster assistance is not the answer. Federal disaster assistance is only available if the President declares a disaster. More than 90 percent of all disasters in the United States are not Presidentially declared. Flood insurance pays even if a disaster is not declared.