The Standard Flood Insurance Policy

What Does It Cover?

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers three Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) forms. These forms provide policyholders with a description of their coverage and other important coverage information.

Direct physical losses caused by "floods" are covered. Also covered are losses resulting from flood-related erosion caused by waves or currents of water activity exceeding anticipated cyclical levels, or caused by a severe storm, flash flood, abnormal tidal surge, or the like, which result in flooding, as defined. Damage caused by mudslides (i.e., mudflows), as specifically defined in the policy forms, is covered.

The Dwelling Policy (http://www.fema.gov/pdf/nfip/dp126.pdf (opens in new window)) is used to insure residential structures and their contents including individual condominium units.

Eligible structures under the Dwelling Policy:

  • Single-family structures
  • 1-4 family structures
  • Condominium units
  • Manufactured mobile/trailer home
  • Townhouse/rowhouse structures
  • Timeshares

The General Property Policy (http://www.fema.gov/pdf/nfip/gpp127.pdf (opens in new window)) is used for other residential and nonresidential structures and their contents.

Eligible structures under the General Property Policy:

  • Other residential structures (apartment buildings, schools, miscellaneous structures)
  • Commercial structures
  • Cooperative associations

The Residential Condominium Building Association Policy (RCBAP) (http://www.fema.gov/pdf/nfip/cp128.pdf (opens in new window)) is used for residential condominium building associations to cover the entire building under one policy, all units, improvements within the units and personal property owned in common is covered with a contents policy.

Eligible structures under the RCBAP:

  • High-rise and low-rise condominium buildings
  • Condominium associations

How much flood insurance coverage is available?

The following coverage limits are available under the Dwelling Form and the General Property Form of the Standard Flood Insurance Policy. Coverage limits under the Residential Condominium Building Association Policy are listed in the NFIP Flood Insurance Manual.

Emergency Program Flood Insurance Coverages
Building Coverage
Single Family$  35,000
Other Residential100,000
Non-residential100,000
Contents Coverage
Residential10,000
Non-residential100,000

Regular Program Flood Insurance Coverages
Building Coverage Basic
Insurance
Limits
Additional
Insurance
Limits
Total
Insurance
Available
Single Family Dwelling$  50,000$200,000$250,000
2-4 Family Dwelling50,000200,000250,000
Other Residential150,000100,000250,000
Non-residential or
Small Business
150,000350,000500,000
Contents Coverage
Residential20,00080,000100,000
Non-residential or
Small Business
130,000370,000500,000

* Under the Emergency Program, higher limits of building coverage are available in Alaska, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.

What Is Covered in My Basement?

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) defines a basement as any area of a building with a floor that is below ground level on all sides. While flood insurance does not cover basement improvements, such as finished walls, floors or ceilings, or personal belongings that may be kept in a basement, such as furniture and other contents, it does cover structural elements, essential equipment and other basic items normally located in a basement. Many of these items are covered under building coverage, and some are covered under contents coverage. The NFIP encourages people to purchase both building and contents coverage for the broadest protection.

The following items are covered under building coverage, as long as they are connected to a power source and installed in their functioning location:

  • Sump pumps
  • Well water tanks and pumps, cisterns and the water in them
  • Oil tanks and the oil in them, natural gas tanks and the gas in them
  • Pumps and/or tanks used in conjunction with solar energy
  • Furnaces, hot water heaters, air conditioners, and heat pumps
  • Electrical junction and circuit breaker boxes and required utility connections
  • Foundation elements
  • Stairways, staircases, elevators and dumbwaiters
  • Unpainted drywall and sheet rock walls and ceilings, including fiberglass insulation
  • Cleanup

The following items are covered under contents coverage:

  • Clothes washers
  • Clothes dryers
  • Food freezers and the food in them

What Is Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) Coverage?

Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) under the NFIP provides for the payment of a claim to help pay for the cost to comply with state or community floodplain management laws or ordinances from a flood event in which a building has been declared substantially damaged or repetitively damaged. When an insured building is damaged by a flood and the state or community declares the building to be substantially damaged or repetitively damaged, ICC will help pay for the cost to elevate, floodproof, demolish or relocate the building up to $30,000. This coverage is in addition to the building coverage for the repair of actual physical damages from flood under the SFIP.

If you have been flooded and the cost of repairs exceeds 50 percent of the structure's pre-flood fair market value and you have flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent about filing a claim under the ICC endorsement of your policy.

When Will My Policy Go Into Effect?

There is a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy can become effective. In most instances, the insurance producer who writes your policy can provide you with the date that your policy should go into effect.