Insurance Flood Terms Glossary

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Insurance Flood Terms & Definitions

Insurance Flood Terms Glossary

Insurance Flood Terms Glossary. It is common for an insurance program or policy to use words or terms with special meanings. This is true of the National Flood Insurance Program and its forms.

In order to have a better understanding of the NFIP and of the flood exposure, we’ve collected a list of flood insurance terms.

Some terms appearing in the glossary also appear in the definitions sections of the NFIP policies. Many other terms are related to the topic of flooding. Please refer to the applicable policy to be certain of the exact meaning when analyzing or interpreting coverages, conditions, exclusions, limits or other provisions.

The Insurance Flood Terms Glossary should help you with some of the jargon and legal ease used in flood insurance policies.

Note: A (p) appears after each word or term that is actually defined in the flood policies.

Read the Insurance Flood Terms Glossary to better understand the National Flood Insurance Program flood insurance policy language including coverage, exclusions, or other policy provisions.

Insurance Flood Terms Glossary By Policy Type

Following are legal terms and definitions used, alphabetically organized.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


AAD - See Average Annual Damage

ARI - See Average Recurrence Interval

ABFE - See Advisory Base Flood Elevation

ADMP - Area Drainage Master Plan

ADMS - Area Drainage Master Study

acre-foot - A measurement of reservoir water storage. An acre-foot equals the amount of water it takes to cover an acre one-foot deep and contains 325,900 gallons.

act (p) - The National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 as well as any and all changes (amendments) to the Act made since its introduction.

actual cash value (p) - This term refers to the full replacement cost of an item, minus the amount of physical depreciation at the time a covered loss (flood) occurs.

adjuster control office - Similar to a flood insurance control office, but the site does not issue payments or contain policyholder files.

advisory base flood elevation - Base flood estimates used with government rebuilding programs OTHER than insurance. These elevation estimates are based on newer statistics, including data from more recent major storm activity (hurricanes Katrina and Rita).

alluvial fan - A fan-shaped deposit of sand, mud or other materials.

alluvium - Sand, mud and other materials that are deposited by flowing water.

ANI - Area not included.

application (p) - The written statement the insured person completed and signed for the purpose of getting a flood policy and which FEMA relied upon to issue the coverage. The application, which is considered part of a flood policy, must be signed by either the insured or by an agent.

as built plan - With regard to the NFIP, a project that a professional architect or engineer certifies as being in compliance with the provisions of a permit.

ASFPM - See Association of State Flood Plain Managers.

association (p) - The persons (unit-owners) who manage the condominium building occupied by a covered condominium unit owner.

Association of State Flood Plain Managers - This is an organization of specialists with expertise in the flood peril. This group focuses upon mitigating flood losses, managing floodplains, the National Flood Insurance Program, and flood preparedness, warning and recovery.

Average Annual Damage - Refers to the average annual amount of flood damage (expressed in dollar) occurring in a specified location over an extended period of time. It acts as a baseline for evaluating floodplain management efforts.

Average Recurrence Interval - The average number of years between the occurrence of a flood with the severity level as big or greater than a specified flood event. A 50-year AR indicates a flooding event that would, on average, occur in a given area once in 50 years.


BFE - Base flood elevation

bank-full stage - The point at which the level of a body of water exceeds its natural banks.

base flood (p) - Any given community or area, the flood that becomes the standard of measurement of a covered occurrence. Specifically, the flood that has a probability of one percent of being either equaled or exceeded.

basement (p) - ANY area of a covered building that has a floor that is below ground level (subgrade) on all sides. Note: it is important to understand that absolutely any area that is subgrade on all sides is, by policy definition, a basement; this applies even if the area is a sunken portion of a ground level floor or even if the area is completely "finished."

basin - The area of land that drains into a river.

boil - A danger point on the landward side of a levee where water is seeping under; threatening to breach.

breakaway wall - A wall designed to only hold up to a certain amount of force, acting as a structural barrier, but NOT structural support. Its collapse may occur without damage to foundations or elevated structures.

building (p) - This definition includes a defined term, "walled and roofed structure." As far as the flood policy is concerned, a building may include:

  • walled and roofed structures (as defined) which are primarily above the ground and are permanently attached to the ground
  • manufactured homes on a permanent foundation
  • mobile homes on a permanent foundation
  • walled and roofed building that is being built, altered or repaired.

buyout - Purchasing and removing structures that are endangered by floods as a method of area flood mitigaton.

bypass - An area of low-lying ground, commonly farmland, that carries floodwater downstream when rivers reach their flow capacities.


cancellation (p) - Refers to coverage that terminates before the policy's ending date.

CCO - See Claims Coordinating Office

CFS - Cubic feet per second

CIF - See Contracts in force.

Claims Coordinating Office - An office where various insurers dealing with a catastrophe in a given area voluntarily report loss and loss address information. The office searches for any address matches and then coordinates any claims handling activity for a given address to eliminate claims duplication (payments).

Class Rating - See Community Rating System.

coastal barriers - Landscape features such as fringing mangroves, tombolos, barrier islands, barrier spits, and bay barriers which protect the mainland, lagoons, wetlands and salt marshes from the damaging effects of full force wind, wave and tidal energy. These areas frequently attract land development for resort and recreational use because of their climate and natural beauty.

Coastal Barrier Resources Act, The - The Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982 prohibits the use of federal development assistance, including federal flood insurance, on property included in the System. While the act does not prevent property in coastal barriers from being developed, it helps to slow or discourage development by prohibiting the use of federal funds, including insurance and loans, from being used to build new property or replace or repair damaged property.

Coastal Barrier Resources System - The Coastal Barrier Resources System consists of coastal barrier units delineated on maps adopted by Congress and, originally, created by the Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982.

coastal flood watch/warning - A statement advising coastal residents that weather conditions exists that may create wind force flooding or that such flooding is already occurring.

coastal high hazard area (p) - Any area that is prone to experience dangerous waters such as tsunamis (tidal waves) or hurricane-stirred waters; qualifies as coastal high-hazards.

COBRA - See Coastal Barrier Resources Act

Community - A political entity (city, town, township, borough, village, etc.) with the authority to accept and enforce its own floodplain ordinances.

CCO - Consultant Coordination Officer

Community Development Block Grant - Refers to a grant provided by the department of Housing and Urban Development to assist with recovery from catastrophic events.

Community Number - A 6-digit identifier assigned to every community participating in the NFIP where digits 1-2 indicates the state and the remaining digits specify the community.

Community Status Book - Each state and U.S. Territory has a status book that identifies which communities are participants in the NFIP, including whether the community is in the regular or emergency program.

Community Rating System - This is a rating plan that recognizes a community's voluntary efforts to manage their exposure to being flooded. Communities that are active with Mapping and Regulations, Flood Damage Reduction, Flood Preparedness or Public Awareness, etc., "receive" reductions in their flood insurance premiums. The CRS uses discounts that run in five percent increments, from 5 percent to 45 percent. Similar to a fire protection class plan, CRS class ratings range from Ten to One (all communities start out as a "Ten") and the higher a community's flood protection activity, the lower its Class rating.

condominium (p) - This refers to any multi-unit residential structures where the single-units are individually owned and the group of owners share equal interest in the building's outer structure and any common property areas.

condominium association policy (p) - This means a valid National Flood Insurance Policy that is sold to cover a group of owners who belong to a condominium association.

cone of uncertainty - An area surrounding a predicted path of a hurricane, it represents the uncertainty of that depicted path (where the storm may veer). It is merely an estimate.

confluence - The point where two or more streams either meet or intersect.

contracts in force - Alternative term for policies in force.

countywide map - A flood insurance rate map (FIRM) for an entire county.

Cover America - The name of a nationwide marketing and advertising campaign. It was begun by the Federal Insurance Administration in 1995 with the intent to increase participation in the flood program for both insurance companies and consumers by creating greater awareness of the flood program.

crest - The highest level that flooding waters reach prior to subsiding.

critical facility - Typically, any facility that is particularly important for dealing with the needs of a community recently struck by a flood or other disaster such as police and fire departments, utilities, waste treatment, hospitals, food and gas stores, etc.

CRS - See Community Rating System.

CRS Schedule - The part of a CRS manual that describes the community rating system, including the assignment of credit points.

cubic feet per second - A common way to measure water flow. A cubic foot of water is 7.48 gallons. One cubic foot per second is 450 gallons per minute and accumulates 1.98 acre-feet per day.

cycle - A three or five year period after which a community's flood mitigation efforts are evaluated.


Damage Survey Report - A government form for formally assessing the impact of a disaster on a given area.

danger stage - In reference to rivers with levees, this occurs when the river is one foot above flood stage. There is danger to life and property in the event of a levee failure.

Declarations Page (p) - The policy coverage page that summarizes the coverage provided by the policy and includes the identifying information on the insured and the covered property as supplied by the policy application. Note that the definition says that the declarations must be computer-generated, which must mean that handwritten or typed declarations would not qualify as declaration pages.

deductible buyback - An option to persons in low-to-moderate risk areas that permits the payment of additional premium in exchange for lowering a flood insurance policies standard $1,000 deductible.

detention basin - A type of flood control structure used to slow downstream flooding by rerouting stormwater runoff into a temporary storage area. The water held in detention basins is released at a measured rate.

diagram number - The numbering used for the various type of buildings that appear in elevation certificates.

direct physical loss by or from flood (p) - Any direct physical damage to covered property that is caused by flooding.

discharge - With regard to flood events, refers to rate of flowing water that is expressed either in cubic feet per second, gallons per minute or million gallons per day.

drainage basin - Refers to land area that is drained by a river or stream.

drawdown - Release of dam or reservoir waters as a method of flood control.

dry well - A deep hole for retaining drainage water and releasing it into the surrounding soil.

dwelling (p) - Includes residences designed for up to four families and single condo-units.


elevated building (p) - Any building with its lowest floor existing above the ground. The lowest floor may be supported by walls (foundation or shear) posts, piers or similar items.

elevation certificate - A document provided by a certified Surveyor showing actual elevation measurements taken on-site. This document is a requirement when applying for a LOMA or LOMR.

embankment - A manufactured earthen structure that is used for water containment.

emergency program community (p) - Any community that has limited flood coverage available as prescribed by a Flood Hazard Boundary Map.

enclosure - Any area that is not elevated which is either partly or fully contained by rigid walls.

encroachment - Refers to any form of structure within a floodplain with a location that obstructs the flow rate on a watercourse (adding to the level of flooding).

expense constant (p) - The policy expense fee portion of the flood insurance premium. The fee covers the government's cost of writing and issuing flood policies.

expiration date (p) - The ending date of a flood policy's term of coverage.


FDPA - See Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973.

Federal Insurance Administration - Preceded the Office of Homeland Security as the government entity operating the National Flood Insurance Program.

federal policy fee (p) - A fixed amount that is charged each policy term to pay for government flood program costs that are NOT covered by the expense constant. Further, this charge is not considered when determining commissions, expense allowance or state/local taxes.

FEMA - Acronym for Federal Emergency Management Agency, a federal agency which oversees the National Flood Insurance Program.

FEMA Standard Form - A standard form created by FEMA upon which all Flood Zone Determination reports must be submitted.

FIA - See Federal Insurance Administration.

FICO - See Flood Insurance Claim Office.

five hundred-year flood - Refers to the probability of a given area experiencing flooding. In this case, an elevation that has a .02 (one-fifth of one) percent chance of suffering a flood each year. Such flooding could conceivably occur more than once in a short period; but it is a very remote possibility.

flash flood warning - A flood warning issued for life and/or property threatening flooding that will occur within 6 hours. It could be issued for rural or urban areas as well as for areas along the major rivers. Very heavy rain in a short period of time can lead to flash flooding, depending on local terrain, ground cover, degree of urbanization, amount of man-made changes to the natural river banks, and initial ground or river condition. Dam breaks or ice jams can also create flash flooding.

flood (p) - Refers to normally dry areas which have temporarily been covered in whole or in part by overflowing inland or tidal waters, rapid run-off of surface waters (such as heavy rains), mud (flows or slides) or waters present due to the collapse or subsidence of shores. However, the collapse or subsidence must be due to the action of water, such as erosion.

flood control - Refers to all activities having the objective of mitigating or preventing flood damage.

Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 - Law mandating the purchase of flood insurance in order to protect property located in Special Flood Hazard Areas.

flood frequency - The chance, expressed as a percent, of a level of flooding occurring in a given area in any given year.

flood fringe areas - The remaining portion of the one hundred (100) year floodplain in those areas identified as an AE Zone in the FEMA Flood Insurance Study.

Flood Insurance Claims Office - A loss processing office set up after a flood in the same area of a significant number of flood damaged properties. It contains claims personnel, equipment and files for handling flood claims on-site.

Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) - A map that is first developed for a community that has chosen to participate in the NFIP. The FIRM establishes the community's various flood zones, applicable base flood elevations and the insurance rates which apply to homes within the community. The FIRM shows areas within the 100-year flood boundary, which are termed "Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs)." A "100-year flood" does not refer to a flood that occurs every 100 years, but refers to a flood level with a I percent or greater chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. Areas between the 100-year and 500-year flood boundaries are termed "moderate flood hazard areas." The remaining areas are above the 500-year flood level and are termed "minimal flood hazard areas."

Flood Hazard Boundary Map - Official map of a community which identifies the boundaries of the flood, mudslide, mudflow, and related erosion areas having special hazards.

Flood Map Status Information System - A software package which is available from FEMA. The system encourages the use of updated flood map panels and monitors community status.

flood stage - Simply the point where waters begin to flow over their natural or man-made containment and inundate surrounding (dry) land.

floodplain - A relatively flat or low land area which is subject to partial or complete inundation from an adjoining or nearby stream, river or watercourse; and/or any area subject to the unusual and rapid accumulation of surface waters from any source.

Floodplain Management - A program consisting of emergency preparedness plans, flood controls and floodplain use requirements that prevent and/or mitigate flood damage.

floodproofing - Any combination of structural and nonstructural additions, changes or adjustments to STRUCTURES which reduce or eliminate FLOOD damage to real estate or improved real property, water and sanitary facilities, STRUCTURES and their contents.

Flood Rating Engine Environment - A web-based rating system for quickly quoting flood insurance policies.

FloodSmart Program - A public relations initiative created by the NFIP as a way to encourage a greater number of property owners to buy and maintain flood coverage. The initiative includes of multimedia sources of flood information, particularly increased advertising.

flood warning - A warning that gives the expected severity of flooding (minor, moderate or major) and may include information on when and where flooding will begin.

flood watch - Indicates that widespread flooding is a possibility in or close to the watch area. These watches are issued for flooding that is expected to occur 6 to 12 hours after the heavy rains have ended.

flood way area - Actual stream or drainage channel subject to periodic inundation by water and identified as an AE ZONE in the FEMA Flood Insurance Study.

flood stage - In reference to rivers with levees, when flows reach maximum design capacity, with a minimum of three feet to the top of levees.

flood zone determination companies - Businesses which, for a fee, assist interested parties in determining a property's applicable flood zone.

flood zones - Areas with distinct characteristics regarding their exposure to flood losses.

FMSIS - See Flood Map Status Information System.

FPI - Force Placed Insurance

FREE - See Flood Rating Engine Environment.

freeboard - The part of any base flood elevation computation that acts as a safety margin, addressing calculation errors and variances in flood activity assumptions.

FZD - Flood Zone Determination


geodetic - ln general refers to information that involves measurements of earth's size and shape, particularly topological (mapping) features.

GFI - See Group Flood Insurance.

grading - Refers to actively changing a land area's outline (contours).

grandfathering - Exemptions that permit circumstances that existed prior to establishing (or revising) a Flood Insurance Rate Map to continue without affecting eligibility for subsidized flood insurance rates.

Group FIood Insurance - Emergency flood insurance that is issued in response to a declaration of a disaster area by the president. Such persons are eligible to apply for regular flood insurance.


Hazard Mitigation Grant Program - A program that helps communities put long-term efforts in place that will help minimize its flood exposure in response to a major flood event.

Hazards United States - A software program that incorporates geographic information system technology and modeling in order to predict the impact of catastrophes.

HAZUS - See Hazards United States.

high hazard area - See coastal high hazard area.

hydraulics - The study of fluid mechanics-flow rates and movement patterns.

hydrology - The scientific study involving the actions/behavior of water in earth's atmosphere.


ICC - see increased cost of compliance.

improvements (p) - Includes any additional structural features that are part of either a building or a single condo unit.

increased cost of compliance - Includes any expense associated with making damaged property conform with laws or regulations on flood mitigation.


Joint Final Rule (JFR) - The Joint Final Rule is intended to make uniform all regulations and guidelines for implementing the statutory requirements of the National Flood Insurance Reform (or 1994) Act. This Rule was required by statute and establishes:

  • New escrow requirements for flood insurance premiums.
  • Requirements for Lenders and Servicers to "force place" coverage.
  • Updated requirements for notices to Borrowers, Servicers, and Insurance Providers.
  • New authority for Lenders to charge fees for flood zone determinations.
  • Miscellaneous provisions necessary to implement the 1994 Act.


KCFS - Thousand (symbol K) cubic feet per second, a water flow measurement.


Letter of Determination Review (LODR) - This is a form that a loan borrower must complete and submit to FEMA. The form is used when a borrower disagrees with a lender's Special Flood Hazard Area determination. FEMA reviews the information on the LODR and then lets the borrower and lender know its decision.

Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) - Describes FEMA's reviewing the accuracy of a current effective panel to determine if a structure was incorrectly placed within a SFHA. A LOMA amends the current effective FEMA map and establishes that the property is not in a SFHA.

Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) - An official revision to the current effective FEMA map. It is used to change flood zones, floodplain and floodway delineations, flood elevations, and other features. A LOMR is usually followed by a physical map revision.

levee - An embankment of earth along a riverbank designed to protect low-lying land from flooding.

Life of Loan Report - A determination which is tracked for future map panel revisions. Changes that occur after the initial document are automatically reported.

Lowest Floor Elevation Guide - A guide produced by FEMA to assist in determining a property's lowest floor elevation. It is used in determining the information for producing a valid elevation certificate and includes diagrams of various types of structures.


Mandatory Purchase - A requirement created under the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973. It obligates all parties who buying, build, or improve property located in special flood hazard areas to purchase flood insurance in order to also qualify for post-catastrophe federal financial assistance.

manufactured home (p) - Means either a mobile home attached to a permanent foundation or a residence that is built at a remote location and then transported and permanently installed at its current site.

map repository - A party that maintains a given NFIP community's insurance rate maps, Letters of Map Amendments and Letters of Map Revision.

MHIP - See Multi-Year Hazard Identification Plan.

mitigation - Activity which acts to either minimize or, ideally, eliminate a source of loss such as use of fortified construction methods.

Mitigation Division - A department of FEMA that manages the NFIP as well as handles FEMA's catastrophe mitigation programs.

mobile home (p) - This deemed to be a "manufactured home."

Multi-Year Hazard Identification Plan - Name of the strategy used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to update the NFIP flood map system.


National Flood Insurance Program (p) - Means the flood coverage and land management program originally authorized and subsequently amended as the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968.

National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 - An information standard for measuring an area's elevation. It established a specific sea level by taking observations at 21 tide stations and then used this point for determining elevations in reference to that point for locations in the U.S. and Canada.

NGVD - See National Geodetic Vertical Datum (1929).

NN - A community which is NOT participating in the NFIP and has no published flood hazard map panel.

non-residential - Refers to a wide variety of structures including, agricultural structures, churches, farm structures, pool houses, clubhouses, hotels and motels, industrial structures, mercantile structures, nursing homes, recreational buildings, schools, small businesses, warehouses, etc.

Non-Special Flood Hazard Areas (NSFHA) - Areas with lower exposure to flooding. Properties in such areas typically qualify for the NFIP preferred property policy.


one hundred-year flood - Refers to the probability of a given area experiencing flooding. In this case, an elevation that has a one percent chance of suffering a flood each year. Such flooding could conceivably occur more than once a year.

other residential - Hotels and motels catering to extended stays (6 months or more); tourist home, rooming house with more than four roomers. Residential buildings with more than four dwelling units (except short stay hotel and motels).

out as shown determination - A property that, via a LOMA, is determined to be located outside of a given special flood hazard area.

out of bank - Refers to the condition of water that overflows a channel or banks.


panel number - A numerical designation used to identify a given NFIP community's FIRM Map.

partial determination - A flood zone determination which cannot be accurately completed until a Survey or Site plan is forwarded.

participating community - Any community authorized by FEMA to purchase flood insurance due to its compliance with NFIP requirements.

PMF - See probable maximum flood.

policy (p) - Refers to the set of documents including the actual flood policy, declarations page and application, as well as any coverage supplements (endorsements) and renewal certificates.

post-FIRM building (p) - Any building started, built, or experiencing substantial improvement after either 12/1/74 or the date that its community's initial FIRM (Flood Insurance Rate Map) became effective.

pre-FIRM rated building (p) - Any building started, built, or experiencing substantial improvement before either 12/1/74 or before the date that its community's initial FIRM (Flood Insurance Rate Map) became effective.

preferred risk policy - A version of the standard flood policy with substantially reduced premium for qualified property located in areas with a low exposure to flood loss.

probable maximum flood - Based upon determination by special computer models, it refers to the worst flood that a given area will ever likely experience. The PMF is used to in flood preparedness/mitigation planning.

probation surcharge (p) - Refers to an additional, flat, charge that's made for every term for a policy covering a property located in a community that has been placed under probation. In essence, a premium surcharge that results from any deficiency that created the probation action.

Project Impact - This project focuses on preventing flood damage by building stronger, safer communities before disaster strikes and encouraging the involvement of citizens, community organizations, business and industry, all levels of government and the media.

provisional rates - A set of temporary rates that allows a provisional premium to be calculated for a property where an elevation certificate has not been finalized. Once the property's elevation is documented, final rates are calculated. Provisional rates may receive the same discounts and surcharges that apply to regular (final) flood rates.

Provisional Rating Questionnaire - A form that supplies enough rating information for certain properties (up to a four-family structure and in non-special hazard areas) that do not have a completed elevation certificate. It allows a flood policy to be issued using provisional rates.

PRP - See preferred risk policy.


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RCBAP - See Residential Condominium Building Association Policy

regular program community (p) - Any community that has a FIRM and has full flood coverage available at regular premiums.

regulatory floodway - A watercourse and neighboring land that, via community planning and deliberate efforts, must be preserved in order to permit floodwaters to be discharged. An emphasis is placed on a community avoiding land use that negatively affects upstream elevation.

repetitive loss structure (p) - Any eligible building covered by a flood policy under the Act's provisions for property that has suffered more than one flood loss when the loss amount was more than 25% of the property's market value. The special coverage lasts for ten years after the occurrence of the second flood loss.

residential condominium building (p) - Refers to a building that belongs to a condominium association IF at least 75% of the building's floor area is residential.

Residential Condominium Building Association Policy - Covers a residential condominium building and all enclosed, individual units when the given building is located in a Regular Program Community. Eligibility also depends on at least 75 percent of the total floor being used as a residence.

retention basin - A type of flood control structure used to slow downstream flooding by rerouting stormwater runoff into a temporary storage area. The water held in a retention basin is kept and allowed to evaporate or be absorbed into the ground.


sample notice - A form that is distributed to policyholders whose policies were issued with provisional rates. It advises of the provisional status and of their obligation to submit a valid elevation certificate (along with any additional premium). It also advises that the policy is subject to a reduced coverage if any required additional premium is not paid.

SDF - See special direct facility.

sheet flooding - An event occurring in areas that lack significant channels where storm water runoff forms layers of water that reach or exceed a depth of six inches.

single-family residence - A residence designed for occupancy by a single family along with an incidental office, private school, studio or a small service operation as long as it takes up less than half of the residence.

sloughing - An area of levee that sustains loss of material from its top or side.

special direct facility - In effect, it is a form of federal property FAIR plan for properties with the NFIP that have suffered substantial, multiple flood losses. The properties are subject to close monitoring, surcharged rates and which are encouraged to implement flood mitigation action.

special hazard area (p) - An area that is particularly vulnerable to flood damages AND which is designated with a special zoning code on either a FHBM or a FIRM.

stage - The height of water above a given body of water's normal level.

stream gaging - Areas where instruments regularly measure the level of a given body of water to help with public flood notifications.

submit-for-rate - A flood insurance application for a building that has no published risk rate in the Flood Insurance Manual.

substantial damage - Property that suffers damage equal to or greater than 50% of its pre-loss market value.


Technical Evaluation Contractor (TEC) - A party that reviews proposals, with particular emphasis on scrutinizing whether a given contractor has the expertise to implement a floodplain management plan or a mitigation plan.

tentative rates - Another term for provisional flood insurance rates.

total storage - The maximum volume of water that can be safely contained in a given reservoir.


unit (p) - A single dwelling unit that is part of a condominium building which is individually owned by a flood policyholder.

United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) - A group consisting of more than 30,000 military and civilian specialists in science, engineering and other areas who work on various projects including major public building projects, disaster assistance, civil planning and mitigation efforts.


valued policy (p) - This term refers to a flood policy that has a limit of insurance that was determined as a mutually agreed-upon amount to be paid if the insured suffers a total flood loss.

variance - An exception item to a community's filed floodplain management requirements that is granted by FEMA.


waiting period - The time between a flood insurance application date and the policy effective date.

walled and roofed (p) - Refers to a building that is anchored in order to withstand pressures against floating, lateral movement and collapse AND which has at least a roof and two rigid, exterior walls.

warning stage - Reference to rivers with levees, when patrol of levees is mandatory, or when river flows are diverted through weirs (gates) into bypass areas.

water year - A given area's 12-month supply of surface water, measured between October 1 through September 30.

wave height adjustment - A measurement added to the base flood elevation for pre-1981 V Zones. It reflects a modification to take into the account of wind generated waves.

weir - A gate on the bank that allows floodwater into a bypass.

Write Your Own (WYO) - A program under which policyholders get their insurance directly from private insurance companies rather than going directly to NFIP. Write Your Own companies write and service about 90 percent of flood insurance policies for NFIP. You pay the same amount whether you buy it from the government or a company.


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zone - See flood zones.

Insurance Flood Terms Glossary - The Bottom Line

We hope that the Insurance Flood Terms Glossary helps you to better understand the many terms used in and around flood insurance policies - from the policy to claims and the NFIP.

To find out what types of flood coverage your business needs, speak to a professional insurance broker with experience in insuring businesses like yours.

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