The City of Key West, Florida

The Southernmost City in the Continental United States



FEMA Fact Sheet Regarding Grandfathering

FEMA Detailed Grandfathering Guidance

Note: Congress is scheduled to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program in the near future, which could change the current grandfathering rules.


  • Question: Regarding moving from X-zone to A (or some other zone) and a possible grace period?
  • Answer: The best recommendation is to have a Preferred Risk Policy (PRP; if they qualify per NFIP rules) in place before the maps become effective.  If not, they still have 12 months from the effective date to purchase a PRP.  They will then be rated using the Newly Mapped Procedure.
  • Question: Regarding obtaining a policy before the effective date and a 1-year timeline?
  • Answer: 

    With the Newly Mapped Procedure, the rate starts out at the PRP rate and then will increase each year no more than 18% (currently it has been at around 15% each year).  It will stop increasing when it reaches one of two values:  the standard Zone X rate or if the rate using the new zone (i.e., A or V) and an elevation certificate becomes cheaper (which the insurance agent will need to determine).  A policy rated this way can be transferred to a new owner should the building be sold, so that they can continue with the benefits of this rating.

    If a policy is grandfathered (e.g., had too many losses to qualify for the Newly Mapped; went from Zone A to Zone V; or, increase in Base Flood Elevation), it is recommended that a policy is in place BEFORE the maps change (that is a must if it is pre-FIRM) and then flood insurance must be maintained.  This rating procedure will lock in the lower risk zone or BFE for future rating (it does NOT lock in the rate). A grandfather-rated policy can also be transferred to a new owner.  The policy will be continued to be rated using that lower risk zone/BFE as long as the building is not substantially damaged/improved.

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