Participation & Grandfathering


Nearly 20,000 communities across the United States and its territories participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) by adopting and enforcing floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage. In exchange, the NFIP makes Federally backed flood insurance available to homeowners, renters, and business owners in these communities. Community participation in the NFIP is voluntary.

In addition to providing flood insurance and reducing flood damages through floodplain management regulations, the NFIP identifies and maps the Nation's floodplains. Mapping flood hazards creates broad-based awareness of the flood hazards and provides the data needed for floodplain management programs and to actuarially rate new construction for flood insurance.

Flood insurance is designed to provide an alternative to disaster assistance to reduce the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods. Flood damage is reduced by nearly $1 billion a year through communities implementing sound floodplain management requirements and property owners purchasing of flood insurance. Additionally, buildings constructed in compliance with NFIP building standards suffer approximately 80 percent less damage annually than those not built in compliance.

Wide Hollow, Cottonwood, and Shaw Creek Flood Mapping become effective July 17, 2012, check on the status of your flood insurance!

Grandfathering Offers Savings

The NFIP’s grandfathering provision (PDF) offers savings for structures that were built before a flood map was issued for the community, or that were built in compliance with the flood map in effect at the time of construction. The simplest way to grandfather is to purchase a flood insurance policy before the new map takes effect and maintain coverage without a lapse. Check with your insurance agent or local building official, for other qualification.

If a structure was built in compliance with the requirements in place at the time of construction, the zone and Base Flood Elevation (BFE) that was in effect can be used for rating purposes, if either is affected due to a map change. Sometimes using the new zone can provide a better rate than using the older one, so property owner should always ask their agent to look at both options.

How Grandfathering Works

If a policy is obtained before a new map becomes effective, policyholders can retain the rate associated with the previous map’s flood zone and BFE, as long as continuous coverage has been maintained. For structures built after a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) was issued, insurance costs will be based on the zone designation and BFE for the map in effect at the time the structure was built (unless the new map offers a lower rate).

However, policyholders must submit supporting documentation to their insurer that shows the structure was built to conform to standards on the earlier map. Continuous coverage is not required in this case. If a structure was built before the community’s first FIRM was issued and the policy was not purchased prior to the effective date of a new map, policyholders can still save, but policy costs will be defined by pre-FIRM rates associated with their zone designation on the new map.