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National Flood Insurance Program

  National Flood Insurance Program

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created by Congress in 1968 to slow ever rising disaster relief costs and reduce the loss of life and property caused by flooding. The Program has four goals:

  1. to make flood insurance available to the general public;
  2. to require that new buildings be constructed to resist flood damages;
  3. to guide future  development away from flood hazard areas; and
  4. to transfer the costs of flood losses from the taxpayer to floodplain property owners through flood insurance premiums.

The NFIP is a voluntary program based on a mutual agreement between the federal government and the local community.  The NFIP is administered by the Federal Insurance Administration (FIA) within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources/Office of Water Resources (IDNR/OWR) is the state coordinating agency for the NFIP.  To find out how your community can join the NFIP please see www.floodsmart.gov

Illinois has one of the largest inland systems of rivers, lakes and streams in the United States.  Nearly 15% of our total land area (or 7,400 square miles) is subject to flooding. Total stream flow in Illinois averages over 25 BILLION gallons per day! 

Floods are by far the most common natural disaster in Illinois, accounting for well over 90% of the declared disasters. It is estimated that over 250,000 buildings are located in floodplains of Illinois. Unwise floodplain development further increases property damage and potential loss of life from flooding. Annual damages in the state average nearly 700 million dollars!      

Floods are an inevitable natural event.  There are almost always adverse impacts upon the citizens, local governments and state government from both physical and financial damages. It is very important to develop and expand flood risk reduction activities in order to yield positive, long-term benefits. The NFIP and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources have set preventative standards for communities to follow so there won't be disastrous consequences when floods occur.

For more information:

  • Flood plain management rules in downstate communities:
  • Flood plain management rules in northeastern Illinois:


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