Information about joining the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program.
A New Hampshire community's participation status in the NFIP is listed in FEMA's Community Status Book. If a community currently does not participate in the NFIP, the following information will help community officials and residents decide if joining the NFIP is right for the community.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of joining NFIP?
Through the NFIP, property owners in participating communities are able to insure against flood losses. By employing wise floodplain management, a participating community can protect its citizens against much of the devastating financial loss resulting from flood disasters. Careful local management of development in the floodplains results in construction practices that can reduce flood losses and the high costs associated with flood disasters to all levels of government.
Is there a fee involved in joining the NFIP?
There is no fee required for a community to join or to be involved in the Program. The only cost to the community is whatever cost is involved for the community to comply and enforce the NFIP regulations.
Does the NFIP regulations restrict development in the floodplain?
No, the minimum NFIP regulations that are contained in New Hampshire's model floodplain ordinances do not restrict development in the floodplain. Instead the NFIP minimum regulations allow structures to be built in the floodplain but they must be built to a certain standard to reduce flood damage. A community has the option of adopting regulations that exceed the NFIP minimum regulations, which may include restricting all or certain uses in the floodplain. See Community Floodplain Management Initiatives for examples of New Hampshire communities that enforce these higher regulations.
What happens if a community does not join or is suspended from the NFIP?
The following sanctions apply to communities that are identified as flood-prone by FEMA and do not participate in the Program:
- Property owners will not be able to purchase NFIP flood insurance policies and existing policies will not be renewed.
- Federal grants or loans for development will not be available in identified flood hazard areas under programs administered by Federal agencies such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Protection Agency, and Small Business Administration.
- Federal disaster assistance for flood damage will not be provided to repair insurable buildings located in identified flood hazard areas.
- Federal mortgage insurance or loan guarantees, such as those written by the Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Veteran Affairs, will not be provided in identified flood hazard areas.
- Federally insured or regulated lending institutions, such as banks and credit unions, are allowed to make conventional loans for insurable buildings in flood hazard areas of non-participating communities. However, the lender must notify applicants that the property is in a flood hazard area and that the property is not eligible for Federal disaster assistance. Some of these lenders voluntarily choose not to make these loans.
What must a community do to join the NFIP?
- Complete and submit the Application for Participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (FEMA Form 81-64)
- Adopt a Resolution of Intent (adopted by the Board of Selectmen). A sample resolution is available for use by the Town. Submit to OSI a copy of the adopted resolution that is dated and certified by the Town Clerk or Board of Selectmen attesting to its adoption.
- Amend the Town's Subdivision and Site Plan Review Regulations to add the NFIP required language. The Town's Planning Board can do this at any time after holding a public hearing. The NFIP required language is included in the application package. Submit to OSI a copy of the amended subdivision and site plan review regulations that is dated and certified by the Town Clerk attesting to its adoption.
- Adopt at least the minimum NFIP regulations, which are contained in the state's model Floodplain Management Ordinances. Communities are strongly encouraged to consider adopting more stringent floodplain regulations.
The floodplain ordinance can be adopted either as an amendment to the town's Zoning Ordinance or as stand-alone ordinance, especially if there is no zoning in the Town. See sample warrant article language. Adoption of the floodplain ordinance has to be done at either a regular or special Town Meeting. Submit to OSI a copy of the adopted ordinance that is dated and certified by the Town Clerk or Board of Selectmen attesting to its adoption.
If the Town decides to make any changes or additions beyond what is contained in the state's model floodplain ordinances, it is strongly advised that a copy of this ordinance be sent to OSI for review before any actions on it are taken to ensure it meets FEMA minimum requirements.
It is recommended that a community amend their Building Permit application to include the question: "Is this property in a special flood hazard area?" The answer to this question will serve as a flag as to whether the requirements in the floodplain ordinance will need to be followed.