Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is highly recommended. Remember, even if the last storm or flood missed you or you have done something to protect your home from water, the next flood could be worse. Homeowner's insurance policies do not cover a property for flood damage.

Rock Island County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. Local insurance agents can sell a flood insurance policy under rules and rates set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Any agent can sell a policy and all agents must charge the same rates. Our Frequently Asked Flood Questions section answers some more specific questions about the National Flood Insurance Program. Or you can buy directly from FEMA.


The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a federal program enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase flood insurance on eligible buildings and contents, whether they are in or out of a floodplain. This community participates in the NFIP, making federally-backed flood insurance available to its property owners.

The NFIP insures most walled and roofed buildings that are principally above ground on a permanent foundation, including mobile homes, and buildings in the course of construction. Property owners can purchase building and contents coverage from any local property and casualty insurance agent. To find a local insurance agent that writes flood insurance in your area visit FloodSmart.

Mandatory Purchase Requirement

Pursuant to the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994, the purchase of flood insurance is mandatory for all federal or federally-related financial assistance for the acquisition and/or construction of buildings in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). An SFHA is defined as any A or V flood zone on a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).

The mandatory purchase requirement also applies to secured loans from such financial institutions as commercial lenders, savings and loan associations, savings banks, and credit unions that are regulated, supervised, or insured by federal agencies, such as the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Comptroller of Currency, the Farm Credit Administration, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the National Credit Union Administration. It further applies to all loans purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac in the secondary mortgage market.

Federal financial assistance programs affected by the laws include loans and grants from agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, Farmers Home Administration, Federal Housing Administration, Small Business Administration, and FEMA disaster assistance.

How It Works

When making, increasing, renewing, or extending any type of federally backed loan, lenders are required to conduct a flood zone determination using the most current FEMA FIRM to determine if any part of the building is located in an SFHA. If the building is in an SFHA, the federal agency or lender is required by law to provide written notification to the borrower that flood insurance is mandatory as a condition of the loan. Even though a portion of real property on which a building is located may lie within an SFHA, the purchase and notification requirements do not apply unless the building itself, or some part of the building, is in the SFHA. However, lenders, on their own initiative, may require the purchase of flood insurance even if a building is located outside an SFHA. Up to 25% of all NFIP flood losses arise from outside SFHAs (B, C, and X Zones).

Under federal regulations, the required coverage must equal the amount of the loan (excluding appraised value of the land) or the maximum amount of insurance available from the NFIP, whichever is less. The maximum amount of coverage available for a single-family residence is $250,000 and for non-residential (commercial) buildings is $500,000. Federal agencies and regulators, including government-sponsored enterprises, such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, may have stricter requirements.

Don't wait for the next flood to buy insurance protection. There is a 30-day waiting period before National Flood Insurance coverage takes effect. Contact your insurance agent for more information on rates and coverage.

Several insurance companies have sump pump failure or sewer backup coverage that can be added to a homeowner's insurance policy. Each company has different amounts of coverage, exclusions, deductibles, and arrangements. Most are riders that cost extra. Most exclude damage from surface flooding that would be covered by an NFIP policy. The cost varies from nothing to about $75 for a rider on your homeowner's insurance premium. The latest information on flood insurance can be obtained from Floodsmart.

Note for insurance agents: The Zoning and Building Department can do flood determinations and has copies of FEMA Elevation Certificates on many buildings built in the floodplain. To see if an elevation certificate is available for a particular property, contact our office.

Risk Rating 2.0

Beginning April 1, 2022, Risk Rating 2.0 is a new pricing methodology and represents the biggest change to the way the NFIP calculates flood insurance premiums since the program began in 1968. Premiums calculated under Risk Rating 2.0 reflect an individual property’s specific flood risk, as opposed to being placed in a general risk category based on location and property type. The NFIP updated its rating methodology to calculate flood insurance premiums for individual properties based on actual flood risk. This is intended to produce rates that are more equitable, and to inform policyholders of their true flood risk. 

Community Rating System (CRS)

The Community Rating System (CRS) is a program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It provides lower insurance premiums under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The premium reduction is in the form of a CRS Class, similar to the classifications used for fire insurance. The CRS Class is based on the floodplain management activities a community implements. See more information about CRS.

In January 2006, Rock Island County applied to the program. October 1, 2006, we received official notification (PDF) from FEMA that Rock Island County qualified for a Class 7. A Class 7 reduces flood insurance premiums by 15% for those residents in Unincorporated Rock Island County. This is an automation reduction in your premiums, homeowners automatically receive this discount. In May of 2023, we improved to a Class 6 increasing flood insurance discounts to 20%. 

Increased Cost of Compliance Coverage (ICC) Program

In 1994, the National Flood Insurance Reform Act created the Increased Cost of Compliance Coverage (ICC) program. A building (residential and non-residential) is eligible for an ICC payment when the local government building code official determines that the building is substantially damaged as a result of a flood and that, when repaired, it must meet local floodplain management ordinance requirements. A structure is substantially damaged when the cost of restoring the structure to its before-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50% of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred. The program is available to qualifying properties, countywide. The owner of an existing building can bring it into compliance with the local floodplain management ordinance by elevating the structure, relocating the structure to another location, or demolishing it. ICC benefits can help pay for any of these ways to comply with the local floodplain management ordinance.

In Plain English

Simply put, when a building is covered by a Standard Flood Insurance Policy, and sustains a loss caused by flooding, and is declared substantially damaged by the local building official and must now be brought into compliance with State or local floodplain management laws or ordinances, then the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will pay up to $30,000 to elevate, demolish, or relocate the building when any of these actions are required to comply with State or local codes and floodplain ordinances. This payment is in addition to your damage claim.

How to Apply for an ICC Payment

The very first step in being eligible for an ICC payment is being declared substantially damaged by your local building official. He is the only person that can make this declaration. Then you need to obtain a letter from the building official that a substantial damage has occurred. Then the policyholder reports flood damage to the insurer, a claims representative will be assigned to the case. On the adjustment visit, inform your claims representative that the structure is eligible for ICC payments. If you have not received this information, contact your claims representative immediately. After the claim has been initiated, you will need to get an elevation certificate, building permit and two bids from contractors.

Insurance Company Responsibilities & the ICC

According to the NFIP, the insurance agent is responsible for examining the policy and determining whether a given situation is eligible for payment under the ICC program. It is the insurance agent's responsibility to explain the ICC program to the policyholder. If the policyholder has questions about the ICC payments or wish to appeal the insurance company's decision concerning an ICC claim, he or she should provide a written request to the insurance carrier asking them to forward the claim to the NFIP Bureau and Statistical Agent for review.

Length of Eligibility

A policyholder must elevate, demolish, relocate, or floodproof the building as soon as reasonably possible. Claims must be filed within one year of the substantial damage declaration notice. The timeframe must not exceed 4 years from the beginning of the flood..