Will federal disaster assistance pay for flood damage?

Before a community is eligible for disaster assistance, it must be declared a federal disaster area. Federal disaster assistance declarations are issued in less than 50% of flooding incidents. The premium for a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy, averaging a little more than $350 a year, is less expensive than interest on federal disaster loans.

Furthermore, if you are uninsured and receive federal disaster assistance after a flood, you must purchase flood insurance to remain eligible for future disaster relief.

Does the NFIP cover flooding resulting from hurricanes, or the overflow of rivers, or tidal waters?

The NFIP covers flooding that can be caused by any one of the following: 1) the overflow of inland or tidal waters; 2) the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, such as heavy rainfall; 3) the incidence of mudslides, caused by flooding, which are comparable to a river of liquid and flowing mud; and 4) the collapse or destabilization of land along the shore of a lake or other body of water, resulting from erosion or the effect of wave or water currents exceeding normal, cyclical levels.

Is wind-driven rain considered flooding?

No. Rain entering through wind-damaged windows, doors, or in a hole in a wall or the roof, resulting in standing water or puddles, is considered windstorm, rather than flood damage. Federal flood insurance only covers damage caused by the general condition of flooding typically caused by storm surges, wave wash, tidal waves, mudslides (i.e., mudflow), or the overflow of any body of water above normal, cyclical levels.

What is mitigation insurance?

Mitigation is the ongoing effort to lessen the impact disasters have on people and property. Mitigation involves keeping homes away from floodplains, engineering bridges to withstand earthquakes, creating and enforcing effective building codes to protect property from hurricanes and more. For more information on mitigation contact the federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at (312) 408-5500 (in Chicago) or (202) 566-1600 (in Washington, DC) or on FEMA's Web site at

Remember: When a loss occurs, you may file a claim with your agent. Most adjusting services brought into your community following a flood also can provide proof-of-loss forms if you need to file a flood insurance claim. The claim forms must be filed with the NFIP within 60 days.

For general information on the flood insurance program, you may call or write:

Regional Offices

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
Bureau & Statistical Agent
18008 Wolf Road, Ste. 123
Orland Park, IL 60467-5407
(708) 326-3072 Phone
(708) 326-3074 Fax

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
536 S. Clark St. Sixth Floor
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 408-5500 Phone