Flood Insurance Program - FEMA's Flood Insurance Document
NFIP: This community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP makes federally backed flood insurance available for all buildings, whether they are in a floodplain or not. Flood Insurance covers direct loss caused by surface flooding, including a river flowing over its banks, a lake or ocean storm, and local drainage problems.
The NFIP insures buildings, including mobile homes, with two types of coverage: structural and contents. Structural coverage is for the walls, floors, insulation, furnace and other items permanently attached to the structure. Contents coverage may be purchased separately provided the contents are in an insurable building.
Mandatory Purchase Requirement: The mandatory purchase requirement applies to all forms of federal or federally related financial assistance for buildings located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). This requirement affects loans and grants for the purchase, construction, repair, or any publicity or privately owned building in the SFHA, including machinery, equipment, fixtures, and furnishings contained in such buildings.
Financial assistance programs affected include loans and grants from agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, Farmers Administration, Small Business Administration, and Federal Emergency Management Agency. The requirement also applies to secured mortgage loans from financial institutions, such as commercial lenders, savings and loan associations, savings banks, and credit unions that are regulated, supervised, or insured by federal agencies such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of Thrift Supervision. It also applies to all mortgage loans purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac in the secondary mortgage market.
How it works: Before a person can receive a loan or other financial assistance from one of the affected agencies or lenders, there must be a check to see if the building is in a SFHA. The SFHA is the base (100-year) floodplain mapped on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). It is shown as one or more zones that begin with the letter "A" or "V."
Copies of the FIRM are available for review in most local government building or planning departments. Many lenders and insurance agents have copies, also. It is the agency's or the lender's responsibility to check the FIRM to determine if the building is in a SFHA, although many communities provide assistance.
If the building is in a SFHA, the agency or lender is required by law to require the recipient to purchase a flood insurance policy on the building. The requirement is for structural coverage equal to the amount of the loan ( or other financial assistance) or the maximum amount available, whichever is less. The maximum amount available for a single-family house is $250,000.
The mandatory purchase requirement does not affect loans or financial assistance for items that are not covered by a flood insurance policy, such as vehicles, business expenses, landscaping, and vacant lots. It does not affect loans for buildings that are not in the SFHA, even if a portion of the lot maybe flood prone. While not mandated by law, a lender may require a flood insurance policy for a property in any zone on a Flood Insurance Rate Map.
For more information about NFIP, please visit FEMA’s website.
*Information reprinted from CRS Coordinator’s Manual 2002 FIA-15/2002