National Flood Insurance Program Information

NFIP: The Town of Sewall’s Point participates in the National Flood Insurance Program(NFIP).The NFIP makes federally backed flood insurance available for all buildings, whether they are in a floodplain or not. Flood insurance covers direct loss caused by surface flooding, including a river flowing over its banks, a lake or ocean storm, and local drainage problems.

The NFIP insures all buildings, including mobile homes, with two types of coverage: structural and contents. Structural coverage is for the walls, floors, insulation, air conditioner, and other items permanently attached to the structure. Contents coverage may be purchased separately provided the contents are in an insurable building.

Mandatory Purchase Requirement: The mandatory purchase requirement applies to all forms of federal or federally related financial assistance for buildings located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). This requirement affects loans and grants for the purchase, construction, repair, or improvement of any publicly or privately owned building in the SFHA, including machinery, equipment, fixtures, and furnishings contained in such buildings.

Financial assistance programs affected include loans and grants from agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, Farmers Home Administration, Federal Housing Administration, Small Business Administration, and Federal Emergency Management Agency. The requirement also applies to secured mortgage loans from financial institutions, such 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 Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of Thrift Supervision. It also applies to all mortgage loans purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac in the secondary mortgage market.

How it Works: Before a person can receive a loan or other financial assistance from one of the affected agencies or lenders, there must be a check to see if the building is in a SFHA. The SFHA is the base (100‐year) flood plain mapped on a Flood Insurance Rate Map(FIRM). It is shown as one or more zones that begin with the letter “A” or“V.”

Copies of the FIRM are available for review at Sewall’s Point Town Hall and also available for viewing and download on this website by clicking the “Our Town” link on the home page and following the “maps” link. Many lenders and insurance agents also have copies. It is the agency’s or the lender’s responsibility to check the FIRM to determine if the building is in a SFHA.

If the building is in a SFHA, the agency or lender is required by law to require the recipient to family house is $250,000. There is a 30 day waiting period before the insurance policy becomes effective.

The mandatory purchase requirement does not affect loans or financial assistance for items that are not covered by a flood insurance policy, such as vehicles, business expenses, landscaping, and vacant lots.  It does not affect loans for buildings that are not in the SFHA, even though a portion of the lot may be flood‐prone.While not mandated by law, a lender may require a floodinsurance policy for a property in any zone on a Flood Insurance Rate Map.


FEMA, Flood Iinsurance and the Community Rating System

The National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS: (1) reduce flood losses; (2) facilitate accurate insurance rating; and (3) promote the awareness of flood insurance. For CRS participating communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted in increments of 5%; i.e., a Class 1 community would receive a 45% premium discount, while a Class 9 community would receive a 5% discount (a Class 10 is not participating in the CRS and receives no discount). The CRS classes for local communities are based on 18 creditable activities, organized under four categories: (i) Public Information, (ii) Mapping and Regulations, (iii) Flood Damage Reduction, and (iv) Flood Preparedness. The Town of Sewall’s Point is working to improve our current rating of Class 8, and has adopted strict regulations on development in flood zones.  The purposes of these regulations are:

  1. Control the alteration of the natural floodplains.
  2. Prevent or regulate the construction of flood barriers, which will unnaturally divert floodwaters or increase flood hazards in other areas.
  3. Restrict or prohibit uses, which may result in damaging increases in erosion or in flood heights or velocities.
  4. Control filling, grading, dredging, and other development, which may increase flood damages.

Flood Zone FAQ’s

Is the house in a FEMA Floodplain?

This is determined by locating the house on a current FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). The FIRM map is posted in Town Hall. We can help you, your insurance, or real estate agent determine which flood hazard area your house or building lot is located. Floodplain information is also indicated on the FEMA Elevation Certificate for the parcel.

What is the current elevation of the house?

An Elevation Certificate is best source for this information and the only verification accepted by FEMA. Some older existing property surveys have this information. A Florida registered Architect, Engineer or Land Surveyor can prepare an elevation certificate for your property.  All new homes and substantial improvements to older homes are required to obtain an Elevation Certificate, prior to Certificate of Occupancy. Copies of Elevation Certificates are available at Town Hall.

What is the actual cost of repairs and improvements?

To determine costs you will need a cost estimate from a licensed general contractor or a professional estimator. The cost must include all materials, labor, overhead, and profit. If the owner does the work, standard labor rates must be included. Some items are not included, these include the costs for plans, surveys, permit fees, post storm clean up, demolition, debris removal, costs to correct current code violations, and all outside improvements to items not directly attached to the structure.

How is current market value of the house determined?

For the purposes of determining substantial improvement or damage repair, market value pertains to the structure only. It does not pertain to the land, landscaping, or detached structures on the property. Estimates of market value can be obtained from the following:

  • The County Property Appraiser’s assessment records. The amount labeled Market Improvement Value is the improvements to the parcel less the value of the land.
  • An independent appraisal by a Florida registered appraiser. The appraisal must exclude the value of the land and any accessory structures.
  • FEMA National Flood Insurance Program claims data.

Flood Preparation and Safety; The Risk is Real So Be Prepared.

The first step in protecting your home and family is purchasing flood insurance. However, there are still a few things you can do to maximize your coverage, assure your safety, and prepare before a flood. Floods can happen anytime and anywhere, and they can happen fast. So whether you live on the river or not, you should always be ready. Here are some important things you can do to prepare:

  • Copy your most important documents (mortgage papers, deed, passport, bank information.) Keep copies in your home and store originals in a secure place outside the home, like a bank safe deposit box.
  • Take photos of your most valuable possessions (furniture, musical instruments, electronic equipment.) Store copies with other documents.
  • Save and store receipts for any expensive household items (appliances, electronic equipment, etc.) so that you have proof of original cost.
  • Make an itemized list of other possessions, such as clothing, books, small kitchen appliances, etc. You do not have to note every item and its cost, but the more comprehensive your list, the better.
  • Flood insurance only covers equipment essential to the structure of the building, such as a air conditioners and hot water heater.
  • Review your policy with your agent to make sure you have the proper level of protection.
  • Provide your insurance agent, employer, and family with emergency contact information, so that you can be reached after a flood.
  • Put aside an emergency kit equipped with a large flashlight, spare batteries, candles and waterproof matches.
  • Keep a minimum 3-day supply of non-perishable food and bottled water on hand.
  • Include a battery-powered radio in your emergency kit. Even if you never experience a flood, this kit will be handy during a power outage.

Be Safe During a Flood

We hope that you never have to experience a flood firsthand however, there are a few things you can do to stay safe.

  • Don’t walk through a flooded area. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down.
  • Don’t drive through a flooded area. Just two feet of water can lift and move a car, even an SUV. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else during a flood.
  • Keep away from downed power lines and any other electrical wires – electrocution is often a major cause of death in floods.
  • Watch out for animals that have lost their homes during a flood. Animals may seek shelter in your home and aggressively defend themselves.
  • To learn more about staying safe before and during a flood, visit www.FloodSmart.gov. or call 1-888-435-6637 to talk to an agent in your area.

Flood Warning System

The town, in cooperation with Martin County, keeps our residents informed about potential flooding. The Martin County EOC (Emergency Operation Center) in coordination with the National Weather Service (NWS) relays updates of threatening weather to government and media outlets. The NWS will issue a flood advisory for our area at least 6 hours before expected rainfall would overflow our drainage systems and cause the isolation of buildings by inland water ponding. Tune to the following radio and television stations for information on flood threats:

Radio Stations:
WAVW (101.7 FM), WAXE (1370 AM), WEAT (104.3 FM), WJNO (AM), WSTU (1450 AM). WQCS (89.9 FM)

TV Stations:
WFLX Channel 29,  WPBF Channel 25, WPEC Channel 12, WTCN Channel 16, WPTV Channel 5

In the event of a flood warning is issued, emergency vehicles with sirens and loudspeakers will instruct you on which evacuation route to follow. The main evacuation routes for the town are The Evans Crary Bridge to Monterey Road for residents south of A1A and Indian River Drive to Palmer Road, then to U.S. 1 for residents north of A1A.

Additional Links

FEMA Homepage

Other FEMA Resources

Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction