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Joining the National Flood Insurance Program

The National Flood Insurance Program is a Federal program enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase insurance protection against losses from flooding. This insurance is designed to provide an insurance alternative to disaster assistance to meet the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods.

Participation in the National Flood Insurance Program is based on an agreement between local communities and the Federal Government that states if a community will adopt and enforce a floodplain management ordinance to reduce future flood risks to new construction in Special Flood Hazard Areas (100-year floodplain, or areas subject to a 1 percent or greater chance of flooding per year), the Federal Government will make flood insurance available within the community as a financial protection against flood losses. If communities do not participate in the National Flood Insurance Program then insurance companies can not write policies for that community and federally regulated lending institutions are prohibited from issuing mortgages for properties within mapped Special Flood Hazard Areas as depicted on the Flood Insurance Rate Map.

Image of flood waters in Oxford, NYCurrently, the majority of New York State communities with mapped flood hazard areas are already in the National Flood Insurance Program. There are also many communities which do not have maps that participate so that their residents may have access to flood insurance.

In order to join the National Flood Insurance Program a municipality simply needs to pass a resolution indicating that it is interested in joining the program, fill out an application (see right column of this page) and adopt the necessary flood damage prevention local law to be approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This local law indicates that if a community has mapped flood hazard areas and if development is to occur in those flood hazard areas then the development is required to be built to certain standards, identified in the National Flood Insurance Program's regulations (44 CFR 60.3) and the New York State Building and Residential Codes. If development is being considered for a Special Flood Hazard Area, then the local floodplain administrator, an office designated in the local law, reviews the development to ensure that construction standards have been met before issuing a floodplain development permit. Non-structural development within a Special Flood Hazard Area is also subject to a local floodplain development permit.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has three model local laws for flood damage prevention that communities can adopt to join the program: one for communities without mapped flood hazards, one for communities with standard mapped flood hazards, and another for communities with coastal flood hazard areas. Materials needed to join the National Flood Insurance Program are listed in the right-hand column on this webpage. If your community would like more information on joining the program please contact the floodplain management section at the number also listed in the right-hand column.

To request the Model Flood Damage Prevention Law appropriate for your community, please contact the DEC Floodplain Management Section at 518-402-8185 or at

More about Joining the National Flood Insurance Program: