National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The goal of the program is to help mitigate future losses caused by flooding through community enforced building standards.
Participation in the NFIP is voluntary and is based on a community's agreement to adopt and enforce, at a minimum, the Federal standards for building within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). In exchange, the Federal Government makes flood insurance available as a financial protection against flood losses.
How does the National Flood Insurance Program work?
The U.S. Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. Subsequent passage of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 and the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004 further modified and strengthened the original 1968 Act. The intent of the legislation is to help reduce future flood damage through floodplain management criteria and to provide protection to property owners through an insurance mechanism.
The NFIP is designed so that floodplain management and flood insurance complement and reinforce each other. The partnership is established on the provision that FEMA will make flood insurance available to the citizens of a community, provided that the community implements floodplain management regulations that meet or exceed the Federal minimum requirements.
A "flood" is defined as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder's property) from:
- Overflow of inland or tidal waters; or
- Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; or
- Mudflow; or
- Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood.
In general, homeowners insurance does not provide protection from damages to a structure or to contents caused by flooding and it is necessary for property owners to have a separate flood insurance policy to cover a loss cause by a flood.
How can you participate in the NFIP?
To participate in the NFIP, a community must adopt floodplain management criteria that match the flood risk data that have been provided by FEMA. These minimum criteria are set forth in 44 CFR 60.3(a), (b), (c), (d) or (e). By adopting a resolution and an appropriate level of ordinance or court order, a community can apply to FEMA for participation in the NFIP.
If your community is interested in participating in the NFIP, please visit How can you participate in the NFIP? to be taken to our enrollment information page.
Community Rating System (CRS)
The Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary program that recognizes and encourages a community's efforts that exceed the NFIP minimum requirements for floodplain management. The CRS program emphasizes three goals: the reduction of flood losses, facilitating accurate insurance rating and promoting the awareness of flood insurance. By participating in the CRS program, communities can earn a discount for flood insurance premiums based upon the activities that reduce the risk of flooding within the community. For more information about the CRS program, visit the Community Rating System (CRS) page.