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National Flood Insurance Program: What Lenders Should Know

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created by the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968.

 Two subsequent laws, the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994, have made the purchase of flood insurance mandatory for Federal or Federally-related financial assistance for acquisition or construction of buildings in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs).

Flood insurance is mandatory for buildings in FEMA-identified high-risk flood areas, referred to as SFHAs.  Whenever you make, increase, extend or renew a mortgage, home equity, home improvement, commercial or farm credit loan in an SFHA, you must require flood insurance. You may require flood insurance on all loans, even those outside SFHAs.

Ensure that flood insurance coverage is maintained for the term of all the loans on a building. Escrowing flood insurance premiums can help make sure you meet this requirement, and it helps protect you and your borrowers from uninsured flood losses.

Know the amount of flood insurance coverage to require. The required coverage is the lesser of the following: (i) the maximum amount of NFIP flood insurance coverage available, (ii) the outstanding principal balance of the loan, or (iii) the value of the building only. (Land and land values are not covered under the NFIP.)

Notify borrowers in writing of the requirement to buy flood insurance for new and existing loans. If you determine that a home or business is in an SFHA before loan closing, you are required to notify the borrower within a reasonable time prior to the loan closing. If you determine that an existing loan for a home or business is in a SFHA, you are also required to notify the borrower within a reasonable time.

There is no waiting period for flood insurance to go into effect when it is purchased in connection with making, increasing, renewing or extending a loan. In most other instances, there is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect.

For more information about the mandatory purchase of flood insurance requirements, and other related topics, read the .

Flood insurance and the mandatory purchase laws help protect your investments as well as your borrowers’ against uninsured flood losses. Floods can occur in unexpected areas of the country. Make sure you and your borrowers are protected from uninsured flood losses for their homes, businesses and belongings by following these requirements.

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