The City of Key West, Florida

The Southernmost City in the Continental United States


Flood Insurance Info

UPDATE (5/22/2019): All legislation that was pending has been extinguished. Congress passed another continuing resolution keeping the NFIP active until September 2019.

UPDATE (5/25/2018): Not much progress has been made with flood insurance through Congress. Most the legislation that's been pending from some time is being repeated revised to reach an accord. So far, temporary continuing resolutions have kept the NFIP active until an agreement can be reached.

UPDATE (6/13/2017):  "SAFE NFIP" U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), John Kennedy (R-La.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), members of the Senate Banking and Appropriations Committees that oversee the National Flood Insurance Program, will hold a news conference on Capitol Hill to announce introduction of comprehensive, bipartisan legislation to extend the National Flood Insurance Program for six years while instituting a series of sweeping reforms to address the waste, abuse and mismanagement plaguing the system. The legislation is also cosponsored by Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

They are presenting: The Sustainable, Affordable, Fair and Efficient National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act 2017, to be known as "SAFE NFIP."

Click here for the text of this 100-page Senate Bill.

Click on the following image to watch a recording of this press conference...

Immediate Take-Aways: 

  • Not highlighted during this press conference, yet very significant, is that the NFIP would be reauthorized for six years.  The program expired a few years ago, but has been kept alive via a series of continuing resolutions without necessary changes.  The changes discussed today would be very significant.
  • Also addressed, but not mentioned during this press conference, are a number of other pitfalls that have long stymied people trying to elevate their homes before a flood, or those needing to file claims following a flood. These changes can be viewed in the following synopsis released after this press conference:

UPDATE (6/7/2016):  If your building was constructed prior to 1975, and it's not at ground-level, having an Elevation Certificate may lower your flood insurance rates.

These rates will continue to increase dramatically each year, until the subsidies for older homes are gone and the full rates are being charged. 

However, without an Elevation Certificate, FEMA doesn't know when you're reached the proper rate level for your building's height, because it doesn't know how high or low your building is elevated.  As a result, the rates will continue to rise, even after they probably should have stopped increasing.

If your Insurance Agent has placed an Elevation Certificate in your FEMA file, then the rates will automatically level-off when the proper rate is reached. 

FLOOD INSURANCE IS AVAILABLE TO ALL BUILDING OWNERS AND RENTERS. The City of Key West participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). With the City's participation, NFIP makes federally backed flood insurance available for all buildings, whether they are in a floodplain or not. Flood insurance covers direct losses caused by surface flooding, including an ocean storm and local drainage problems.

Important Flood Insurance Facts

  • VERY IMPORTANT... Flooding isn't covered by homeowners insurance, a separate policy is required
  • There is a 30-day waiting period between purchase and coverage becoming effective (with a few exceptions)
  • Flood insurance covers damage caused by rising water - building and contents coverage is provided in two separate policies, except when written as Preferred Risk. Coverage purchased as a requirement for getting a mortgage typically covers on the building, not the contents.
  • Flood insurance pays up to $30,000 toward the cost of elevating a home if it was substantially damaged by the flood and is being required to elevate before being restored (see Coverage D on the Dwelling form).


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


Section 1316 Properties

A building may not be insurable with the National Flood Insurance Program if it's been specifically identified as being non-compliant with floodplain management regulations and the violations haven't been resolved.  The following is a list of such properties within the Key West city limits:
  • 1609 Jamaica Drive (effective May 14, 2013)
  • 3122 Riviera Drive (effective December 8, 2014)

Click here for more information regarding FEMA's Section 1316 actions.

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 mo8rtgage 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 Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). The SFHA is the base (100-year) floodplain mapped on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). It is shown as one or more zones that begin with the letter "A" or "V".
If the building is in a SFHA, the agency or lender is required by law to require the recipient to purchase a flood insurance policy on the building. The requirement is for structural coverage equal to the amount of the loan (or other financial assistance) or the maximum amount available, whichever is less.
The maximum amount available for a single-family house is $250,000 for the building, and another $250,000 for contents. For commercial property, the maximum is $500,00/$500,000.
Buildings located with type "X" zones are not required to maintain flood insurance. Yet it is available for these properties at very discounted rates.
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, pools, outside motors, porch items 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 flood insurance policy as a condition of a loan for a property that is only partially within a 100-year floodplain as indicated on a Flood Insurance Rate Map.


Q.  My condo building is located within a flood zone.  Yet my unit is on the seventh floor, well above the flood level.  Clearly, my unit will never flood, so why do I need to carry flood insurance?

A.  Flood waters could undermine the ground under the first floor, causing the entire building to collapse. The water may never touch your unit, yet it could be destroyed by flood damage, which wouldn't be covered by a homeowner's policy. 

Q. How to I find a Flood Insurance Agent or How do I buy a flood insurance policy?

A. Finding a Flood Insurance Agent: Most local insurance companies offer flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Regardless of which Agent you contact, NFIP coverage should cost the same. The easiest was to find an agent in Key West is to search the internet for: Flood insurance agents "key west"

Helpful Links:

Flood Damage Cost Estimator  A handy interactive tool for estimating expected damage costs based upon a building size and flood level you select.  

Contact Us

Scott Fraser,
FEMA Coordinator/Floodplain Administrator
Building Department
1300 White St
Key West, FL 33040
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