Homeowners in Florida's highest risk flood zones must purchase flood insurance if they live in a community participating in the National Flood Insurance Program and have a federally-backed mortgage. This is a federal, not state, requirement mandated by Congress in the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 and the Federal Disaster Protection Act of 1973.
NFIP requires purchase of flood insurance of homeowners in high- and coastal high-risk flood zones. Some property owners may qualify for a letter of map amendment, which waives the federal requirement. To qualify, the homeowner must have a registered professional engineer or licensed land surveyor complete the application, certifying that the property elevation is at or above the base flood elevation and documenting it with an elevation certificate.
The state of Florida does not require purchase of flood insurance. Its State Emergency Response Team works in coordination with FEMA to help residents prepare for floods, while the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation ensures that insurance companies in the state comply with state statutes.
Mortgage Lender Requirements
Mortgage lenders can require flood insurance in any flood zone, including those in a moderate-to-low risk flood zone where 25 percent of floods occur. They may continue to require flood insurance even if FEMA issues a letter of map amendment.
National Flood Insurance Program
The National Flood Insurance Program provides flood insurance to home and business owners, as well as renters, in participating U.S. communities. It makes available flood insurance policies to cover the building, its contents or both. In non-participating communities, individuals and businesses can purchase flood insurance from private insurers. Homeowners insurance covers many natural hazards but, not flood.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency: Definitions of FEMA Flood Zone Designations
- Cases and Materials on Land Use; David L. Callies, Robert H. Freilich, Thomas E. Roberts; 1994
- Federal Emergency Management Agency: Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) and Letter of Map Revision-Based on Fill (LOMR-F) Process
- Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
- Floodsmart.gov: Why Does My Mortgage Lender Require Me to Buy Flood Insurance?
- FEMA. "Special Flood Hazard Area." Accessed Jan. 16, 2020.
- FEMA. "FEMA Flood Map Service Center: Search By Address." Accessed Jan. 16, 2020.
- FEMA. "The National Flood Insurance Program." Accessed Jan. 16, 2020.
- FEMA. "FInd a Flood Insurance Provider." Accessed Jan. 16, 2020.
Carlie Lawson is a hazards consultant, writer, and model living in Oklahoma. Her articles have appeared in "Keysian," "Movitly," "Weather and Society Watch," "Journal of Regional Studies," "Oklahoma College Press," and "JollyJo.tv." She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in journalism and mass communications, and in film and video studies, and a Master of Regional and City Planning from the University of Oklahoma.