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About CRS

The National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP's) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes communities for implementing floodplain management practices that exceed the Federal minimum requirements of the NFIP to provide protection from flooding.

In exchange for a community's proactive efforts to reduce flood risk, policyholders can receive reduced flood insurance premiums for buildings in the community. These reduced premiums reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from community efforts toward achieving the three CRS goals:

  1. Reduce flood damage to insurable property
  2. Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP
  3. Encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management

Participation in the Community Rating System (CRS) is voluntary. By participating, communities earn credit points that determine classifications. There are 10 CRS Classes: Class 1 requires the most credit points and provides the largest flood insurance premium reduction (45 percent), while Class 10 means the community does not participate in the CRS or has not earned the minimum required credit points, and residents receive no premium reduction. The CRS Classes are based on completion of 19 creditable activities organized into 4 categories:

  1. Public Information
  2. Mapping and Regulations
  3. Flood Damage Reduction
  4. Warning and Response

Read more about CRS Classes, credit points, and premium reductions.

See CRS Creditable Activities to learn more about CRS activities.

More than 1,200 communities from all 50 states participate in the Community Rating System (CRS). Roseville, CA, is the only CRS Class 1 community. More than 70 communities have a CRS Class 5 or better ranking, meaning premiums for residents in high-risk areas are reduced by at least 25 percent. Click here to view a list of FEMA CRS communities, including Class rankings and insurance premium reductions.

The Community Rating System (CRS) program provides communities with credits for 19 floodplain management activities categorized by public information, flood hazard mapping and regulations, flood damage reduction, and flood warning and response efforts.

The 2013 National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System Coordinator's Manual describes the activities, including the specific services provided by communities and the types of regulations, projects, or programs implemented by communities. Click here for a list of the 19 CRS program activities.

About the CRS
Your Community and the CRS
Joining the CRS
The Benefits of the CRS
Where Can I Get Help with My CRS Questions?


About the CRS

What is the Community Rating System (CRS)?

The National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP's) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes communities for implementing floodplain management practices that exceed the Federal minimum requirements of the NFIP to provide protection from flooding.

In exchange for a community's proactive efforts to reduce flood risk, policyholders can receive reduced flood insurance premiums for buildings in the community. These reduced premiums reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from community efforts toward achieving the three CRS goals:

  1. Reduce flood damage to insurable property
  2. Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP
  3. Encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management

How much of a flood insurance premium reduction can a community earn?

Flood insurance premium reductions are determined by a community's CRS Class. Policyholders in a CRS community can receive premium reductions from 5 percent to as much as a 45 percent for an insured building in a CRS Class 1 community.

What are CRS Classes?

Each CRS-participating community is assigned a Class number ranging from CRS Class 1 to 10, based on credit points it earns for implementing various floodplain management practices. A CRS Class 1 is the most favorable classification, and CRS Class 9 is an introductory Class. A community with a CRS Class 10 designation no longer participates in the CRS.

See CRS Classes, Credit Points, and Premium Discounts to learn more.

How many communities are in the CRS?

More than 1,200 communities from all 50 states participate in the CRS. While these communities represent just 5 percent of all NFIP communities, more than two-thirds of all NFIP policies are in CRS cities and counties. Click here for a list of CRS communities.

Your Community and the CRS

How is a CRS Class determined for a community?

CRS Classes are determined by the number of CRS credit points a community earns for completing any of the 19 CRS activities included in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System Coordinator's Manual. Points are confirmed during a review of the community's floodplain management program, called a verification visit, by the Insurance Services Office (ISO), the CRS contractor for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

What CRS Class is my community?

Click here for a list of FEMA CRS communities to see whether your community participates in the CRS, and if it does, you will see its CRS Class and the flood insurance premium reduction residents receive.

My community is in the CRS. How can it get a better CRS Class and earn a bigger premium reduction?

A community can improve its CRS Class and increase the premium reduction for residents by completing more CRS activities, which both reduce the risk for flood damage and earn your community credits. There are 19 creditable activities grouped into 4 categories:

  1. Public Information: Helping residents understand flood risks and what they can do about them
  2. Mapping and Regulations: Improving flood maps and passing regulations to ensure safer development
  3. Flood Damage Reduction: Protecting existing development from flood damage
  4. Warning and Response: Preparing for floods with plans and warning systems

Specific activities are described in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System Coordinator's Manual.

My community is not in the CRS. How can we join?

A community can apply for CRS participation as long as it is in good standing with the NFIP, which is determined by FEMA after conducting a Community Assistance Visit (CAV). See "Joining the CRS" for more information on how to join the CRS.

Joining the CRS

Is there a fee to join the CRS?

No. Joining the CRS is free. However, completing CRS activities and maintaining a CRS rating will require a degree of commitment from the community, including dedicated staff. For example:

  • The community must designate a CRS Coordinator to work with FEMA and the ISO during a verification visit.
  • Each year, the community must recertify that it is continuing to implement its activities and provide copies of relevant materials (e.g., permit records).
  • The community must maintain FEMA Elevation Certificates, permit records, and all Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for the duration of its participation in the CRS.
  • The community must maintain records of its activities to prepare for its CRS verification visit, which, for most communities, occurs initially when joining and then once every 5 years.

When can a community apply to the CRS?

A community can apply to the CRS at any time. Community CRS classifications go into effect on May 1 and October 1 each year. It takes approximately 18 months from the time a community submits its letter of interest to the FEMA Regional Office until the community becomes officially listed as a CRS participating community.

I'm a community official and am interested in joining the CRS. What do I do?

To request a CRS classification, follow these steps:

  1. Provide a letter of interest signed by the community's chief elected official to the FEMA Regional Office. A sample letter of interest can be found in the CRS Quick Check. This letter will start the CRS application process, which will include plans to have FEMA conduct the Community Assistance Visit (CAV). The CAV will review the community's floodplain management program to make sure it meets the Federal minimum requirements and is eligible to apply to the CRS.
  2. Provide documentation showing that your community is implementing CRS activities that warrant at least 500 credit points. The CRS Quick Check tool assists with this documentation.
  3. Send the items listed above to your ISO/CRS Specialist.
  4. With the approval of the FEMA Regional Office, the ISO/CRS Specialist will schedule a meeting with your community to assist with the application process.

The Benefits of the CRS

How does the CRS benefit property owners?

The CRS benefits property owners by providing:

  • Safer communities;
  • Reduced flood losses; and
  • Lower flood insurance premiums.

How does the CRS benefit communities?

Participating in the CRS enables communities to:

  • Lower flood insurance premiums so that more money stays in the community;
  • Ensure residents are reminded every time they pay their reduced flood insurance premium that their community is working to protect them from flood losses;
  • Enhance public safety;
  • Reduce damage to property and public infrastructure;
  • Avoid economic disruption and losses;
  • Protect the environment;
  • Create a better organized, more formal, institutionalized floodplain management system;
  • Provide a method for evaluating the effectiveness of its efforts against a nationally recognized benchmark;
  • Provide access to free technical assistance for designing and implementing some activities;
  • Build a knowledgeable constituency interested in supporting and improving flood protection measures through public information activities; and
  • Instill community pride.

Finding Answers

Where can I get help with my CRS questions?

Contact the FEMA Regional Office or your ISO/CRS Specialist for more information.

How are you making your community FloodSmart?

Making Your Community Floodsmart

We are always looking to hear from individuals, communities, and organizations. Tell us what you are doing to prepare your community for flooding so that we can share your story with others.

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