National Flood Insurance Program
Floods continue to be a destructive natural hazard in South Dakota. Since 1978, flood insurance policy holders have received over $13.8 million in claim payments.
The South Dakota Office of Emergency Management administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for South Dakota under cooperative agreement with FEMA.
Individual Flood Insurance
Traditional insurance policies and disaster grants do not cover most losses, and repayment of a disaster loan can cost much more than a flood insurance policy.
Unfortunately, it's only after a flood that many people discover this. Approximately 25% of all flood damages occur in low risk zones, commonly described as being outside the mapped flood zone.
Every homeowner, business owner and renter in a community that participates in the NFIP may purchase a flood insurance policy. Enter your address in FEMA’s interactive flood hazard map to find flood documents and where the nearest flood hazard zone is located.
For Communities: Participation in the NFIP
To participate in the NFIP, a community must submit an application to FEMA, which includes a resolution of intent passed by the city council or county board stating that the community will act in good faith to regulate future floodplain development and an adopted floodplain management ordinance which meets minimum federal standards. Municipal or county governments establish community eligibility separately for incorporated and unincorporated areas.
Community participation in the NFIP is divided into two phases, the Emergency Phase and the Regular Phase.
Upon application approval, the community enters the Emergency Phase of the NFIP. This allows anyone in the community to be eligible to purchase flood insurance at a minimal level of coverage.
FEMA will assess the community’s degree of flood risk and potentially arrange for a study to determine base flood elevations and risk zones. Communities with minimal or no flood risk are converted to the Regular Program without a study.
Studied communities are provided a Flood Insurance Rate Map with risk zones. The community is given six months to adopt base flood elevations in its local zoning and building code ordinances, then adopts more stringent ordinances to be converted to the Regular Program
The next step is to convert the community to the Regular Phase of the NFIP where higher levels of flood insurance coverage become available. The community implements adopted flood plain management measures, and FEMA arranges for periodic assistance visits to ensure compliance with NFIP floodplain management requirements.
Local officials may request flood plain map updates as needed. FEMA evaluates these requests, encourages cost-sharing and issues revised maps as priorities dictate.
Flood Insurance Resources
For more information about the NFIP, ask your insurance agent or call the NFIP at 1-800-611-6123.
Flood Insurance Plan FAQs
The community does not have to participate in the NFIP to receive the PDM planning funds; however, to be eligible for future Hazard Mitigation Assistance funds for identified mitigation projects within the plan, the community will need to join the NFIP and also be in good standing.
Adopt and enforce a flood damage prevention ordinance.
- Require permits for all types of development in the floodplain.
- Assure that building sites are reasonably safe from flooding.
- Estimate flood elevations where not determined by FEMA.
- Require new or substantially improved homes and manufactures homes to be elevated above the Base Flood Elevation.
- Require non-residential buildings to be elevated or flood-proofed.
- Determine if damaged buildings are substantially damaged.
- Conduct field inspections and cite violations.
- Require Elevation Certificates to document compliance.
- Carefully consider requests for variances.
- Resolve non-compliance and violations.
- Advise FEMA when updates to flood maps are needed.
Enrollment in the National Flood Insurance Program is initiated by a voluntary agreement between the local jurisdiction and the federal government. It is agreed that if a community implements and enforces measures to reduce the risk from flooding in special flood hazard areas, the federal government will make flood insurance available within the community to mitigate future flood losses.
There are nearly 200 communities participating in the NFIP in South Dakota. Visit FEMA’s Community Status Report for a list of communities.
Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA): This is used to revise the SFHA boundary based on detailed elevation surveying and/or topographic mapping of natural conditions. If the home site and the lowest flood of the building (including basement or garage) is above the BFE, we can amend the map to remove the home site and other land area from the SFHA. Thus mandatory flood insurance purchase is lifted.
Letter of Map Revision (LOMR): This is used for new detailed flood studies, drainage improvements, channel alterations, etc., where the boundaries of the SFHA are altered.
To apply for a LOMA or LOMR, a MT-EZ application form must be completed and submitted for an individual residential lot LOMR or LOMA. Multi-lots and major LOMRs are submitted on MT-1 or MT-2 applications. All are processed in Washington, D. C. There are fees for these. Forms are available through FEMA.
Most people think they can’t get flood insurance, but every homeowner, business owner and renter in a community that participates in the NFIP may purchase a flood insurance policy. In fact, 25% of all flood damages occur in low risk zones, commonly described as being outside the mapped flood zone.
Enter your address in FEMA’s interactive flood hazard map to find flood documents and where the nearest flood hazard zone is located. Then talk to your insurance agent about plan options.