Flood Insurance

“Flooding is America’s most common natural disaster. Yet it’s not covered by most homeowners insurance.”

Regular Homeowners Insurance, as a common practice, does not cover flood damage. Fortunately, Baltimore residents are able to purchase flood insurance because the City is a ‘participating community’ of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) .

Anyone living in or near a flood zone should consider flood insurance before the next flood occurs. Flood insurance, like other property and casualty coverage, is written by licensed insurance agents. The agent who writes your homeowners or property insurance should be able to assist you in determining your eligibility and coverage options.

NFIP Program Description

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), enables homeowners, business owners and renters in participating communities to purchase federally backed flood insurance. This insurance offers an insurance alternative to disaster assistance to meet the escalating costs of repairing flood damage to buildings and their contents.

Baltimore City is a “Participating Community” in the National Flood Insurance Program.

Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage. There are now more than 20,600 participating communities across the United States and its territories.

Federal flood insurance is available for residents and business owners in both high-risk and moderate-to-low risk areas. The insurance is required for buildings in high-risk areas that have loans from federally regulated or insured lenders. This requirement extends to disaster assistance loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA). However, you don’t need to have a mortgage or SBA loan, nor live in a high-risk area to obtain flood insurance. It is available community-wide, with premiums that vary according to the level of risk. In fact, about 25 percent of all flood claims occur in moderate- to low-risk areas, and premiums start as low as $119 per year.

Image comparing Baltimore's new and old floodplains
Sample comparison of Baltimore’s new and old floodplain boundaries. CLICK the photo to interact!

The Baltimore City Department of Planning, located at 417 E. Fayette St., 8th Floor, maintains a repository of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) that you can view to determine whether your property is located in a high-risk or a moderate- to low-risk area. The maps may also be found online at:

http://bmorecity.wix.com/baltcityfloodplain
or
http://msc.fema.gov

If you still have questions after obtaining your flood hazard zone, you may call a Baltimore City Floodplain Manager at 410-396-7526410-396-7526.

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General Program Requirements

Some forms of disaster assistance will require that flood insurance is obtained and maintained for different lengths of time. Refer to those programs to learn their specific requirements. Federal flood insurance, however, is not a disaster assistance program. It is an insurance program established to help property owners to recover more quickly and at less cost. For example, disaster loans have to be repaid along with any other outstanding mortgages; flood insurance payments do not have to be repaid. Flood insurance is available to property owners and renters, even if they have had a claim before, as long as they live in a participating community.


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