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Most flood insurance policies currently providing coverage in Florida are underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP is managed by the Federal Insurance & Mitigation Administration which is a part of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). These policies may be issued directly by the NFIP (NFIP Direct) or by various property and casualty insurance companies through a NFIP program called “Write Your Own” (WYO). Through the WYO program, the insurance company issues and services the policy, however the NFIP is responsible for paying any claims arising from the policy. A policy underwritten by the NFIP will always have a NFIP Policy Number listed on the declarations page. Additional information about purchasing or renewing a NFIP Flood Insurance policy may be obtained at FloodSmart.gov. Additional information regarding the NFIP’s newly implemented rating methodology known as Risk Rating 2.0, is available at FEMA.gov/flood-insurance/risk-rating. You may also reach the NFIP Help Center at 800-427-4661.

You can purchase flood insurance through local agents, agencies, and Write Your Own insurance companies. It can also be purchased from the private market through admitted and surplus lines carriers. It can be added to a homeowner’s policy by endorsement or provided by a stand-alone policy.

Flood Insurance Basics

The definition of a flood is the same regardless of whether your policy is underwritten by the NFIP or the private market. “Flood” means a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land areas or two or more properties, at least one of which is the policyholder’s property. For example, flooding in your yard, and in your neighbor’s yard or in the public street meets the requirement for flooding under the policy. Flooding of just one property is not considered to be a covered flood under a NFIP policy unless the area of water displacement is at least two acres. The flood must come from:

  • The overflow of inland or tidal waters; or

  • The unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; or

  • Mud slides, (i.e. mud flows) which are proximately caused by flood, as defined above, and are akin to a river of liquid and flowing mud on the surface of normally dry land areas, as when earth is carried by a current of water and deposited along the path of the current; or

  • The collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or other body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding the cyclical levels which result in flood, as defined above.

Additional information about flood insurance may be obtained at FloodSmart.gov and http://www.floir.com/Sections/PandC/FloodInsurance/FloodInsurance.aspx, or by calling the NFIP Help Center at 1-800-427-4661. You may also review videos to learn what you need to know about flood insurance, how to buy flood insurance, and what factors are taken into consideration when calculating premium, by visiting: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/multimedia/collections/630

If you have problems with, or questions about your flood insurance policy or the claims process:

  • First, contact your insurance agent. The insurance agent who handles your homeowners or renter’s insurance policy may be the same agent who handles your flood insurance policy. If your agent cannot assist you, contact your insurance company.

  • If you have a policy with NFIP Direct (a FEMA logo will be displayed at the top of your Declaration page), call NFIP Direct Customer Care at 800-638-6620.

When calling, you should have the following information available:

  • Contact information (name, telephone number or email address, if applicable)

  • Policy number

  • Name of flood insurance carrier

  • The nature of your request

This information will help the representative answer your questions quickly and efficiently. If you have a policy with NFIP but are not sure what company services your policy or who your agent is, you may contact the FMIX Help Center at 877-336-2627.

For policyholders and other individuals who have questions about disaster assistance, contact FEMA at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) or visit DisasterAssistance.gov.

Type of Policies

STANDARD NFIP FLOOD INSURANCE POLICIES: If you live in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), your building and its contents can be covered. You must apply for building coverage and contents coverage separately. A summary of the coverage provided by a Standard Flood Insurance Policy is available at: https://agents.floodsmart.gov/sites/default/files/fema_NFIP-summary-of-coverage_brochure_09-2021.pdf.

Additional information may be obtained at FloodSmart.gov, or by calling the NFIP Help Center at 1-800-427-4661.

PRIVATE MARKET FLOOD INSURANCE POLICIES:
Standard Flood Insurance: Standard flood insurance policies issued by the private market must provide the same coverage, including deductibles and adjustment of losses as the standard flood insurance policy under the National Flood Insurance Program.

Preferred Flood Insurance: Preferred flood insurance policies issued by the private market must include the same coverage as provided under standard flood insurance but:

  • It must include, within the definition of “flood,” losses from water intrusion originating from outside the structure that are not otherwise covered under the definition of “flood”.
  • Include coverage for additional living expenses.
  • Require that any loss under personal property or contents coverage that is repaired or replaced be adjusted based upon replacement cost settlement, up to the policy limits.

Customized Flood Insurance: Customized flood insurance policies issued by the private market must include coverage that is broader than the coverage provided under standard flood insurance.

Flexible Flood Insurance: Flexible flood insurance policies issued by the private market must cover losses from the peril of flood and may also include coverage for losses from water intrusion originating from outside the structure which is not otherwise covered by the definition of flood. Flexible flood insurance must include one or more of the following provisions:

  • An agreement between the insurer and the insured that the flood coverage is in a specified amount, such as coverage that is limited to the total amount of each outstanding mortgage applicable to the covered property.
  • A requirement for a deductible in an amount authorized under s. 627.701, including a deductible in an amount authorized for hurricanes.
  • A requirement that flood loss to a dwelling be adjusted based upon replacement cost settlement or adjusted on the basis of the actual cash value of the property.
  • A restriction limiting flood coverage to the principal building defined in the policy.
  • A provision including or excluding coverage for additional living expense.
  • A provision excluding coverage for personal property or contents as to the peril of flood.

Supplemental Flood Insurance: Supplemental flood insurance policies issued by the private market may provide coverage designed to supplement a flood policy obtained from the National Flood Insurance Program or from an insurer issuing flood insurance policies described above. Supplemental flood insurance may provide, but need not be limited to, coverage for jewelry, art, deductibles, and additional living expenses.

Waiting Period

Regardless of the type of flood policy you purchase, there is generally a standard 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase before a new flood policy goes into effect. The 30-day waiting period does not apply if:

  • The initial purchase of flood insurance occurs in connection with the making, increasing, extension, or renewal of a loan regardless of whether the lender requires the coverage; or

  • The policy is assumed by a new owner of the property.

Additional information may be obtained at FloodSmart.gov, or by calling the NFIP Help Center at 1-800-427-4661.

Eligibility and Flood Maps

A community must apply for admittance to the Flood Program, and request a study of the area’s flood potential. This study results in a Flood Hazard Boundary Map being developed, and limited coverage amounts become available. At this point of the process, the community is said to be in the Emergency Program.

A more detailed study of the community then is completed, resulting in the publishing of a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). This will make higher limits of coverage available, but only if the community agrees to pass ordinances (building construction codes, zoning, etc.) designed to lessen or eliminate future flooding. When these requirements are met, the community is said to be in the Regular Program.

Eligible Building: A structure with two or more outside walls and a fully secured roof, located on a permanent site, with 50% or more of the value above ground level. It must be located in an eligible community.

Eligible Contents: Must be located in a fully enclosed building or secured to prevent floatation out of the building. Certain specific property in basements and under elevated floors of buildings is excluded from coverage.

Please note: There are some structures and contents excluded from coverage. There are also limitations on some personal property.

Additional information may be obtained at FloodSmart.gov, or by calling the NFIP Help Center at 1-800-427-4661.

Manufactured Homes and Travel Trailers

Before the NFIP can insure manufactured homes, also known as mobile homes or travel trailers, they must meet certain conditions:

  • The manufactured home must be built on a permanent frame, transported to a site in one or more sections, and attached to a permanent foundation;

  • NFIP only covers a travel trailer when it has the wheels removed, is built on a frame, and is attached to a permanent foundation that a community regulates under its floodplain management and building ordinances.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Claims

NOTE TO CONSUMERS: The forms noted in this section must be downloaded via Internet Explorer.

Florida residents with a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy must file a “Notice of Flood Loss” with their flood insurance company promptly.

All policyholders with a flood loss are also required to submit a “Proof of Loss” directly to the flood insurance company, within 60 days after the date of the flood loss. If your policy was issued by a Write Your Own program-participating insurance company, please contact the insurance agent or carrier directly to find out the proper address for submitting your Proof of Loss.

If your policy was issued by FEMA through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Direct Servicing Agent, the only addresses to which your Proof of Loss must be sent is the following:

Regular Mail:
NFIP Direct
P.O. Box 913111
Denver CO 80291-3111

Overnight Mail:
NFIP Direct Servicing Agent
6240 Sprint Parkway, Suite 200
Overland Park, KS 66211

What to Do Before an Adjuster Visits

  • Take pictures of the damage.

  • Write down a list of your damaged contents.

  • Immediately dispose of flood-damaged items which pose a health risk, such as perishable food items, clothing, cushions and pillows. Cut off and keep a 12-square-inch sample of building materials like carpets and drywall to show your flood adjuster and set aside other damaged personal property items like furniture, televisions and electronics.

  • Have documents related to your damage ready for inspection. This may include contractor’s estimates and repair receipts.

  • Also keep your policy number and insurance company information handy.

What Happens During an Adjuster’s Visit ?

  • An insurance adjuster will contact you within 24 to 48 hours to schedule an appointment.

  • Ask to see the adjuster’s official identification when he or she visits.

  • The adjuster will take measurements and photographs and document your damage. They will provide you with their contact information and if required, the adjuster may revisit your property.

  • After your home is inspected, the adjuster will complete the covered estimate of loss and provide you with a copy of it, along with a Proof of Loss form.

  • A FEMA inspector or flood insurance adjuster will never ask for money, approve or disapprove claims, or tell you whether your flood insurance company will approve your claim.

What Happens After an Adjuster’s Visit

  • The adjuster will collect the necessary information and documentation during the initial visit and will contact the policyholder as the claim progresses to an agreement and closure.

  • If you disagree with the resolution of your claim, ask the adjuster to show how they arrived at the figure(s) and explain the policy if an item was excluded from coverage, even though you feel it should be covered.

  • If the adjuster and insured are unable to come to an amicable agreement, the policyholder may hire an independent contractor to prepare an estimate for flood related damage.

  • Within 60 days after the loss, send the insurer a signed and sworn proof of loss.

Claim Disputes

NFIP Handbook English

Flood claims arising from a NFIP-underwritten policy fall under the jurisdiction of FEMA. Therefore, disputes are not eligible for the Residential Property Mediation Program with the Department of Financial Services. An appeal can be filed with FEMA. Your flood insurance policy should outline the process to file an appeal. In addition, the process is outlined in the NFIP Flood Insurance Claims Handbook. Be sure to document your attempts to settle the claim with the adjuster. If you still disagree, you may explore other options, available only for policyholders who have received a denial letter.

For general inquiries about flood insurance, call the NFIP Help Center at 1-800-427-4661. If after using the above resources or others available to you (i.e. insurance agent, insurance company, etc.), you still need help and answers, please email The Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate (OFIA) at Insurance-Advocate@fema.dhs.gov.

Regulation

The sale of flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program is subject to the rules and regulations of the Federal Insurance & Mitigation Administration.

The Federal Insurance & Mitigaton Administration allows state-licensed insurance companies', agents, and brokers to sell flood insurance. The State of Florida holds these companies', agents and brokers accountable for providing flood insurance customers with the same standards and level of service required of them when selling other lines of insurance.

The coverage provided by the flood insurance policy, claims handling, and the price of the policy is subject to the rules and regulations of National Flood Insurance Program.

Flood Insurance Tips

Verify before you buy! Contact us to verify the license of the agent and the insurance company before you sign an application for a policy.

Prepare a Home Inventory Checklist. A home inventory along with photos and proof of ownership will make it easier to file an accurate, detailed insurance claim in case your home is damaged or destroyed. When you have a loss, it is your responsibility to know what property you have, when it was purchased, how much you paid for it, and how much it will cost to replace it. You should also keep receipts for large purchases or keep the credit card statements that reflect those purchases. You may be asked to prove that you ever owned the item in question. It is always a good idea to take pictures or videos of your property as well.

Keep a copy of your important documents in another location. In the event your home is destroyed, having access to back-up paper and/or digital copies of all your important documents including receipts will be helpful in the event you need to settle a claim with your insurance company.

Don’t delay in purchasing your flood insurance policy. With only a couple of exceptions, there is a 30-day waiting for coverage to start.

If you plan to build your home, the elevation of the property, its proximity to a flood source, construction method and cost to rebuild will all be factors in determining how much you will pay for flood insurance.

Visit FloodSmart.gov/ to obtain additional information about flood insurance.

To determine your flood zone you can enter your address at: FEMA Flood Map Service Center: Search by Address.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Contact Us Or File A Complaint