This article is part of the "Floodplain" Series
Did you know that 90 percent of all natural disasters in the United States involve flooding? That’s according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federally-subsidized flood damage insurance program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The program was created with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 as a response to the rising cost of taxpayer-funded disaster relief for flood victims and the increasing amount of damage caused by floods.
Flood damage is excluded under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies, and most commercial property insurance policies. One of the goals of the NFIP is to provide flood insurance in flood-prone areas to property owners who otherwise would not be able to obtain it, and to reduce the government’s cost after floods.
Participation in the NFIP is voluntary, but communities who do are eligible for lower flood insurance rates and assistance in identifying flood prone areas. The community is then responsible for adopting and enforcing ordinances that prevent new structures from being flood prone.
In short, the NFIP has become the foundation of flood mapping and flood prevention programs that affect development today. Flood maps generally show a community’s flood zones, floodplain boundaries, and Base Flood Elevation; together they show the risk of flooding.
It is important for those that are affected by floodplain mapping, namely everyone, to know why it is important, and the rationale for why this mapping began.
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