Skip to Main Content

Flooding & Flood Risks

Grandfathering

How to save money with the Grandfather Rule.

If your property changes from low-risk to high-risk, you will likely be required to protect your building and its contents with flood insurance if you have a mortgage. Flood insurance rates for high-risk areas are higher, but there are ways to save money beyond the PRP Eligibility Extension with the NFIP Grandfather Rule (512KB).

Buildings newly mapped into a high-risk flood zone may be eligible for a lower-cost PRP from the map revision date. Policy premiums may be increased up to 18 percent each year as part of the premium rate revisions put in place by the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA). Contact your insurance agent to see if your building qualifies and if this is the best rating option for you.

For older structures built before the community's first flood map was issued (known as pre-FIRM buildings), this is the only grandfathering option when they are mapped into a high-risk area. Structures built after the community's first flood map was issued (post-FIRM) have two opportunities to lock in the flood zone (or Base Flood Elevation, BFE):

  1. You can purchase a policy before the new maps take effect1, or
  2. You can use the grandfather rule if you have proof that your home was built in compliance with the flood map that was in effect at the time of construction-your insurance agent can help produce the necessary documentation.

Note that in some cases, the new flood map may actually result in a lower premium than what grandfathering applies. So have your insurance agent check all options.

1 For buildings newly mapped into a high-risk area, a policy must be in effect before the 2-year PRP eligibility extension period ends.

Understand which insurance policy you should purchase during a map change.

IF YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS IS CURRENTLY IN A MODERATE-TO-LOW RISK ZONE... DO THIS BEFORE THE NEW MAPS GO INTO EFFECT DO THIS ONCE THE NEW MAPS BECOME EFFECTIVE
Has a mortgage and is not protected by flood insurance... Purchase a Preferred Risk Policy now and be eligible for "grandfathering." Keep coverage in force and you will be "grandfathered in," avoiding high-risk rates.*
Does (not) have a mortgage but is protected by flood insurance... Renew your policy. You can save by having a policy in force. Continue to renew your policy and you will be "grandfathered in," avoiding high-risk rates.*
Does not have a mortgage and is not protected by flood insurance... Purchase a Preferred Risk Policy now and be eligible for "grandfathering." Continue to renew your policy and you'll stay eligible for the standard rate, based on your earlier flood zone, and avoid high-risk rates.
Is leased or rented... Protect the contents of your home or business by purchasing Preferred Risk contents coverage. Talk with your insurance agent about other insurance options that may be available.

*Note that sometimes using the new maps will result in lower premiums than the grandfathered rates; have your agent check both options.

Mapped from a high-risk to a moderate- or low-risk area? Discover how converting your policy can save you money and keep you protected >>

Learn your risk, and find an agent, by taking Your Risk Profile.

Adobe Reader Note: Adobe Reader is required to download PDF documents. Download the Free Adobe Reader.

PRIMARY RESIDENCE DISCLAIMER


For flood insurance rating purposes, a primary residence is a building that will be lived in by the insured or the insured's spouse for at least 80 percent of the 365 days following the policy effective date. If the building will be lived in for less than 80 percent of the policy year, it is considered to be a non-primary residence.

How Can I get Covered?

  • Rate your risk
  • Estimate your premiums
  • Find an agent
 

Contact Us | Site Map | Help | NFIP
Change font size
Last Updated: Tuesday, 21-Apr-2015, 1:44 PM (EDT)

500 C Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20472
Disaster Assistance: (800) 621-FEMA, TTY (800) 462-7585
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
FEMA Home | Contact FEMA | Privacy Policy | Required Notices | FOIA | USA.gov | DHS | Agent Site | Accessibility