The National Flood Insurance Program is the government supported flood insurance program. Most people think they are just there to collect money and don't understand the benefits.
In this episode of the podcast we discuss 3 benefits of the National Flood Insurance Program and how these benefits are building stronger communities.
Before looking at communities let's look at 3 benefits the National Flood Insurance Program can provide.
- Flood Insurance
- Assistance and Grants
- Flood plain Management Guidelines
One of the biggest benefits of the National Flood Insurance Program is flood insurance. When a community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program property owners get access to flood insurance. These properties might be in high risk zones or low risk flood zones. Just because the flood insurance is available does not mean property owners take advantage of it. It's generally only required if there is a mortgage on a property. So if someone doesn't have a mortgage or are in a low risk area they generally will not cover the flood insurance.
It's important to remember that not having a mortgage does not change the risk of the property flooding. The same goes for low risk zones, low risk still means there is a risk of flooding.
Want to find out what flood zone you are in?
Now that we understand the benefit of flood insurance let's look at assistance and grants. When a community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program they have access to certain grant programs and assistance after a flood. Some of these programs include the hazard mitigation grant program to help reduce the risk of flooding in a community. Then there is the availability of disaster assistance if a presidential disaster declaration is filed.
Disaster assistance and disaster loans can go along way in helping property owners get back on their feet. It's important that this should not replace flood insurance as disaster assistance is never guaranteed. Disaster assistance generally is very limited which is why SBA disaster loans are also available but as we mentioned these generally are only available if a presidential disaster declaration has been filed.
The third benefit of the National Flood Insurance Program is flood plain management guidelines. These are some of the major standards the National Flood Insurance Program uses to keep communities accountable. These guidelines are not recommendations but requirements to be able to stay in the National Flood Insurance Program. It's not uncommon for communities to go on probation or even suspended when they do not follow these guidelines.
So let's get to the real issue how are these benefits helping build strong communities across America?
Let's look at a few communities that are in rebuild mode as a result of disasters. One major city is Nashville Tennessee. In early March 2020 Nashville and East Nashville was hit by a E4 tornado. In areas near Cookeville Tennessee this tornado stayed on the ground for more than 50 miles.
Buildings were destroyed and life was lost. The rebuilding process is going to be a long one for these communities. So how will the National Flood Insurance Program help?
As these communities are rebuilt they will have updated guidelines to follow like not building below the base flood elevation. Also prefirm properties that received more than 50% improvements will no longer be considered prefirm properties. This means that by following the new guidelines the flood exposure on these properties will hopefully be lowered.
This could also mean that elevation certificates are required for properties in special flood hazard areas.
Need to order an elevation certificate? Click here
A smaller city that is seeing some of these impacts from the National Flood Insurance Program is Muscle Shoals Alabama. According to WAAY 31 In early 2019 Muscle Shoals saw major flooding. It caused some neighborhoods like Nathans Estates to be completely under water. Many of these people did not have flood insurance because they were in a low risk flood zone. As a result they have depended on disaster assistance and loans to recover. As a result the recovery has been slow. Like Nashville this could have a major impact on properties that were built before the first flood insurance rate maps were issued.
When flooding occurs in areas like this flood insurance study reports can be requested to study what exactly happened to see if flood zones changed. This is a normal practice to address exposed areas and many times it takes about 3-5 years to see the maps adjusted.
So we have looked at 3 benefits of the National Flood Insurance Program and how these benefits are helping building stronger communities across America. Maybe you have more questions about flood insurance. Make sure to visit our website or check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel.