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An overview of flood insurance, the Flood Insurance Manual, flood insurance statistics, and additional information links

National Flood Insurance Program LogoEveryone lives in a flood zone, whether you live in a low-, moderate- or high-risk flood area. You do not need to live near water to be flooded. Floods are caused by storms, melting snow, hurricanes, water backup due to inadequate or overloaded drainage systems, as well as broken water mains. You can protect your home, business, and belongings with flood insurance from the NFIP. Flood insurance is necessary because homeowners insurance does not cover flood losses. Anyone who applies for a federally-funded mortgage/loan or refinancing on an existing home in flood-prone areas will be required to carry flood insurance for the life of the mortgage/loan.

All residents in NFIP participating communities can purchase flood insurance. While it is always a good idea to have flood insurance if you live in a high-risk flood area, it is also a good idea even in lower risk areas, since 25%-30% of flood insurance claims come from areas that are designated low-to-moderate risk areas. To learn more about your property's flood risk, please view FEMA's floodplain maps and/or visit FEMA's FloodSmart website and complete the One-Step Flood Risk Profile box, a red box on the left side of the page.

Flood Insurance Reform

In 2012 and 2104, Congress passed the following Acts, which made changes to flood insurance rates under the NFIP.

  • July 6, 2012 - Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012
  • March 21, 2014 - Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014

The following is a summary of the changes are or will be implemented as result of both Acts. This summary can be found in FEMA's "How Recent Legislative Changes Affect Flood Insurance" fact sheet.

Several provisions of both the 2012 and 2014 laws apply to older buildings constructed before the effective date of the community's first Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) pdf file. Such buildings are referred to as "pre-FIRM." Many pre-FIRM buildings located in high-risk flood zones have flood insurance policies with subsidized rates. Most subsidies remain, although they will be phased out over time. The rate of phaseout will depend on the type of policy. Several charts are included in FEMA's "How Recent Legislative Changes Affect Flood Insurance" fact sheet that explain how premium rates are affected for different policy types.

Refunds

The 2012 law required an immediate move to property-specific, full-risk rates when pre-FIRM properties were sold or new policies issued. Some policyholders saw significant premium increases. The new law allows a return to subsidized rates for most properties-and refunds of the difference paid between the subsidized rate and current full-risk rate. FEMA is working with participating insurance companies to start the refund process by the end of this year.

Rate Changes when Properties are Sold

The 2014 law protects policyholders from significant and unanticipated increases in flood insurance costs that could impact their property sales. Subsidized rates continue to apply, and as of May 1, 2014, both the policy and its subsidized rates can be transferred to the new owner. Grandfathered rates can also be transferred at the time of sale.

Other Provisions of the New Law

Surcharges. A new surcharge will be added to all new and renewed policies to offset the subsidized policies and achieve the financial sustainability goals of the 2012 law. A policy for a primary residence will include a $25 surcharge. All other policies will include a $250 surcharge. This new surcharge will be included on all policies, including full-risk-rated policies and Preferred Risk Policies. The surcharge will be implemented in 2015.

Deductibles. To help homeowners manage their premium costs, the law raises maximum residential deductible limits from $5,000 to $10,000.

For More Information:

For further guidance documents, informational videos, interactive policyholder data maps, and to keep current as FEMA implements these and other changes to the NFIP, go to FEMA's Flood Insurance Reform page.

Policyholders who have questions about their flood insurance policies should contact their insurance agents.

Flood Insurance Manual

The NFIP Flood Insurance Manual contains the procedures and the rating tables set by FEMA that are used by insurance companies (called Write-Your-Own companies) to determine a flood insurance premium. The Manual is revised by FEMA in May and October of each year. Below is a summary of recent and proposed changes to the Manual including rates. Click on the below headings for more details.

For More Information

Please visit FEMA's FloodSmart website to find out about:

  • Flood insurance policies and coverage
  • Finding an agent in your area
  • How to purchase flood insurance
  • How to file a claim

Other helpful information about flood insurance can be found at the following links:

Portable Document Format Symbol Portable Document Format (.pdf). Visit nh.gov for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.


NH Office of Energy and Planning
Governor Hugh J. Gallen State Office Park
Johnson Hall, 3rd Floor  |  107 Pleasant Street  |  Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-2155  |  fax: (603) 271-2615