National Flood Docs

Your glossary for all things flood related.

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

National Flood Insurance Program is the flood policy from FEMA. The NFIP’s mission is to reduce the consequences of flooding by making flood insurance available to property owners and encouraging communities to establish floodplain management programs, by adopting minimum regulations for development in flood hazard areas.

How the NFIP offers coverage

The NFIP offers two options for obtaining coverage:

  • Through Write Your Own insurance companies (also known as WYOs) which are private sector insurance carriers that function under an arrangement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to sell flood insurance for the NFIP, or
  • Through the NFIP Servicing Agent (also referred to as the NFIP Direct since it allows agents to write business directly through the NFIP)

Who can buy flood insurance?

The key to who can buy flood insurance revolves around the concept of community participation and a partnership between the community and FEMA. FEMA makes flood insurance available in communities that agree to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.

In turn, participating communities agree to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). These regulations guide development in a community's flood prone areas. By using better building practices, the community reduces the impact of future flooding.

Community Participation

When a community participates in the NFIP, it participates in one of two phases: the Emergency Program or the Regular Program.

Emergency Program: Entry-level participation phase.

  • Limited coverage
  • Flat rates
  • Basic Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM)

Regular Program: Most participating communities are in this phase.

  • Full participation
  • Detailed Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)
  • NFIP’s full limits of insurance

What communities participate?

FEMA maintains a listing of communities that participate in the NFIP called a Community Status Book. You can view FEMA's list of communities that participate in the NFIP through their Community Status Book;

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