National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was federally initiated in 1968 to provide affordable flood insurance nationwide. Designating and regulating development in floodplains is intrinsically linked to the NFIP. Learn more about the NFIP and its relation to the adoption of the new floodplain maps.

What is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)?

The NFIP is a FEMA program that aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures by providing affordable insurance to property owners and having communities adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations.

Why is flood insurance necessary?

Flood insurance is highly recommended for any property located in or near the floodplain as it provides important funds that assist with flood damage recovery.

Owners of property within the floodplain who hold a federally-regulated mortgage are required by law to have flood insurance. Even if not federally required, a lender can require flood insurance. Visit the NFIP website for key points on how flood insurance can help you.

When should flood insurance be purchased?

The sooner flood insurance is obtained, the better.
After the 30 day waiting period following the purchase of flood insurance, your house is insured against damages resulting from a flood event irrespective of whether your house is located in the regulatory floodplain.

If you anticipate your property might be included in the FEMA regulatory 100-year floodplain now or in the future, obtaining flood insurance before this occurs is not only a good idea because of the mapped risk, but will also result in lower premiums over a longer period. For example:

  • If the CWCB draft floodplain maps indicate your property is within the floodplain where previously it was not and you purchase flood insurance now before FEMA adoption, once FEMA adopts the new maps, your policy can be renewed at the same lower rate during the first year the property is mapped within the FEMA regulatory floodplain. After the initial 1-year period, your insurance rates will transition to a full-risk rate with annual increases of no more than 18%.
  • If you do not have flood insurance at the time your property is mapped into the FEMA regulatory floodplain, you are eligible for lower rates for the first 12 months only. After one year, your rates will jump to the full-risk rate.

To purchase flood insurance, try contacting your current insurance agent. If your agent doesn’t carry flood insurance, you can request an agent referral by contacting the NFIP at 888-379-9531.

What is “Grandfathering?

  • Under NFIP statutory grandfathering, buildings located in Emergency Program communities and Pre-FIRM buildings in the Regular Program are eligible for subsidized flood insurance rates.
  • Under NFIP administrative grandfathering, Post-FIRM buildings in the Regular Program built in compliance with the floodplain management regulations in effect at the start of construction will continue to have favorable rate treatment even though higher Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) or more restrictive, greater risk zone designations result from Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) revisions. Policyholders who have remained loyal customers of the NFIP by maintaining continuous coverage (since coverage was first obtained on the building) are also eligible for administrative grandfathering.

How can insurance rates be reduced?

There are several methods to reduce insurance rates. One method is to mitigate risk – this may involve filling in basements, installing flood vents in the crawl space, raising the dwelling above the base flood elevation, or raising heating/cooling systems or other mechanical items. Other methods include increasing the deductible or, in some circumstances, applying for a Letter of Map Change with more precise information that shows your property or house is actually outside the floodplain.

Why did I receive a letter from FEMA regarding my flood insurance?

In an effort to clearly communicate flood risk to individual property owners in accordance with requirements set forth in the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA, Section 28), FEMA is reviewing the flood risk determination for every policyholder insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and contacting each policyholder to explain how much flood risk impacts insurance premium rates. If you received this letter, it was because your flood insurance policy was recently renewed. For more information, visit FEMA’s website or read their Frequently Asked Questions regarding FEMA Communication under the HFIAA.

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Flood Recovery
Katie Arrington, Assistant Recovery Manager


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Boulder, CO 80302
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Boulder, CO 80306