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Return To: Flood Insurance – The Ultimate Guide
If you live anywhere in the United States, you need flood insurance.
Whether you are up on a hill or near the coast, the risk of a flood is everywhere. With climate change and sea levels rising, floods have occurred in many parts of the country. The number of occurrences is enough to cost American homeowners billions of dollars in flood damages.
The numbers should prove to you that getting flood insurance is a wise choice. Where do you get it from and from whom?
Since 1963, the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program has provided coverage for flood damages. FEMA flood insurance has served as a financial buffer to those who have suffered from flood losses and home damage.
In this article, we will talk about FEMA flood insurance. We will also go through how to apply for your FEMA flood insurance policy.
FEMA Flood Insurance Basics
Flood insurance is a key for any homeowner in the United States. With this type of insurance, you can receive coverage for damages to your home brought about by floods.
With FEMA flood insurance, you can also expect continued protection. The only condition is that you continue to pay premiums and renew your FEMA flood insurance policy.
Before going into the application process, it may help to know what FEMA flood insurance is.
FEMA National Flood Insurance Program
In 1963, Congress signed the National Flood Insurance Act into law. Its provisions mandated the creation of a flood insurance scheme to protect homeowners from financial liabilities after floods.
From the provisions of the Act came the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP is voluntary. This means that you can choose to not avail of FEMA flood insurance. The exception to this is for homeowners in high-risk flood zones. We will discuss the details of flood zones later.
- The contents of a home
- Damages to buildings or homes as a result of floods
You cannot apply for FEMA flood insurance directly. FEMA provides its insurance through state-based FEMA agents and FEMA-accredited insurance companies.
How To Apply For FEMA Flood Insurance
FEMA does not provide the NFIP directly to consumers. Since 1983, FEMA has partnered with several private insurance companies in providing the NFIP. These private insurance companies through the Write-Your-Own-Program (WYOP) scheme offer the NFIP to beneficiaries.
A prerequisite for the NFIP is community participation. Communities need to have NFIP status. This status allows a community’s homeowners to apply for FEMA flood insurance.
That said, the first steps to applying for your FEMA flood insurance policy is by:
Once you have done that, you need to fill out a few underwriting forms. One of these forms is the FEMA NFIP Application Form. The FEMA NFIP Application Form is called Form 086-0-1. It is a downloadable two-page form.
This form is a must whether you are applying for your FEMA flood insurance policy or just renewing it. You can find this and many other flood insurance forms here.
FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map
FEMA does not require the same premium payments for its flood insurance policies.
The flood insurance rate you will have to pay depends on several factors. One of these is your location.
The FEMA flood insurance rate map is the basis for insurance rates. It determines the prices of flood insurance according to:
- Hazard areas
- Base flood elevations
The map also guides FEMA’s risk ratings of your area.
Users can access the map on the FEMA site. There, you can check to see your locality’s product ID. You can also use this map to see potential flood hazards for yourself. Doing this can inform your decisions to either relocate or flood-proof your home or building.
FEMA Flood Insurance Requirements
Although the NFIP is typically voluntary, it may be a requirement for a lot of home and business owners.
To apply for the flood insurance FEMA provides, you do not need to meet too many requirements. You need to be aware, though, that you may have to submit documentation about your home or building.
The reasons for this have to do with the types of structures eligible for coverage.
According to FEMA, only certain types of structures can receive FEMA coverage.
Here is a table containing what the NFIP covers and what it does not:
|Covered by NFIP||Not Covered by NFIP|
|Affixed homes or buildings||Unaffixed mobile homes, trailers, or campers|
|Affixed trailers or campers||Buses or vans that were converted into homes|
|Homes or buildings under construction||Residential or commercial areas near or on water|
|Commercial and residential structures above ground (no basements)|
|Contents of the above-mentioned properties|
As well, FEMA sets requirements for community participation. This is why you need to verify your community’s NFIP status.
You also need to submit documents that show the completion date of your home or building. This is because one factor for the insurance rate is the year your property was built.
FEMA Flood Insurance Manual
All insurance agents, adjusters, examiners, and sellers must base their practice on the FEMA Flood Insurance Manual.
The Flood Insurance Manual has everything flood insurance professionals need to know. The manual consists of four main sections, excluding the introduction:
|FEMA Flood Insurance Manual Section||Description|
|Section 1: Standard Flood Insurance Program (SFIP) Forms||Contains guidelines and forms for insurance adjusters to assess and evaluate properties for flood risk and coverage eligibility.|
|Section 2: Claims, Processes, and Guidelines||Contains the standard procedures for insurance professionals when dealing with claims, applications, and inspections.|
|Section 3: Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC)||Contains more detailed information on community and individual compliance efforts; this section also contains the costs of certain compliance activities and the coverage for each.|
|Section 4: NFIP Claims Appeals||Contains guidelines on what insurance adjusters can do to handle disputes with policyholders; there are also guidelines for appeal eligibility and the appeal process.|
FEMA-Approved Flood Insurance Providers
Private insurance providers may provide the NFIP under the Write-Your-Own-Program scheme.
There are currently about 60 private insurance firms accredited by FEMA. These insurance firms have insurance agents and adjusters from whom you can inquire and purchase NFIP flood insurance.
You can find the list of insurance providers on the NFIP main site.
We at ALLCHOICE Insurance have also partnered with FEMA-approved flood insurance providers.
Give us a call to gain the flood insurance FEMA has provided policyholders!
Flood Insurance Through FEMA
Many home and business owners are torn between using private flood insurance or choosing FEMA.
With FEMA flood insurance, you can enjoy continued protection and coverage. All you need to ensure is that you pay the yearly premiums.
Often, the NFIP’s rates do not exceed $1,000 yearly. This makes FEMA flood insurance affordable for a lot of people.
As of 2021, FEMA introduced a new rating formula with Risk Rating 2.0
Because the requirements are relatively few compared to private flood insurance, it is also quite accessible.
Steps For FEMA Flood Insurance Application
We talked about the requirements and general steps of the application process earlier.
In this section, we will enumerate the steps in order so that you can easily apply for NFIP flood insurance.
Here are the steps:
- Determine the eligibility of your home (see the table on what the NFIP covers).
- See if your community is a participating member of the NFIP.
- Download and complete FEMA form 086-0-1.
- Find a FEMA flood insurance provider in your locality.
- Submit your completed form 086-0-1 and home or building documents to the provider of your choice.
- Wait 30 days. This is the average waiting time between the approval of your flood insurance and the date of effectivity.
How To Service Your FEMA Flood Insurance Policy
Once your application has been approved, you need to wait 30 days.
After 30 days, your FEMA flood insurance policy will take effect. You will be eligible to make flood damage claims.
An important part of being a policyholder is paying for the premium.
Pay FEMA Flood Insurance Online
The approval of your FEMA flood insurance application comes with a FEMA account. Through this account, you can make payments towards your flood insurance policy.
Using your FEMA flood insurance login details, simply log in to your account. Once you are in, pay using the online form and payment tool. You can make a FEMA flood insurance payment using your credit card. You can also pay by direct debit.
FEMA Flood Insurance Claims
In the event of flood damage to your home, you can make a claim.
To make a claim, you need to follow a few steps. The first is by calling the FEMA flood insurance phone number: 877-336-2627.
Calling this number will start your claim. What follows is an inspection. Using a FEMA flood insurance rate calculator, your adjuster will disclose your coverage. The coverage will depend on his or her assessment of your home and your losses.
After that, you can take stock of your losses and damages. Make a list and document each. Submit this list, and you will receive due payment from the NFIP.
FEMA flood insurance provides you and your family coverage for your losses after a flood. You cannot buy flood insurance directly from FEMA, so get in touch with a reputable insurance provider.
Applying for your FEMA flood insurance policy is straightforward. Once you get approval, you can start enjoying continuous flood coverage for your home or building — all courtesy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Whether you want FEMA flood insurance or private flood insurance, give us a call at ALLCHOICE Insurance. Get a free, expertly-created quotation from us today!