Higher national rating means flood-insurance savings for residents

Published on October 16, 2023


Gainesville property owners and renters who carry flood insurance coverage should see a reduction in policy premiums as a result of work led by the City of Gainesville to reduce the risk of local flooding.

The city has earned a Class 6 classification in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System (CRS), up one spot from its previous rating. This classification level leads to a discount on flood insurance premiums up to 20 percent.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the program, notifies insurance companies, the State of Florida, and other appropriate parties of a community’s current classification. Still, local officials recommend policyholders be proactive.

“If you carry flood insurance on your property or belongings, we encourage you to contact your flood insurance agent or mortgage lender and verify the discount associated with the new Class 6 rating,” said Andy Renshaw, the city’s floodplain administrator.

Since 2021, a group of city staff, Alachua County staff and community stakeholders has worked together to fulfill the CRS requirements for local mitigation, floodplain management and outreach activities.

“Through a collaborative team effort, we have successfully implemented measures in Gainesville resulting in actual savings for policyholders, thereby increasing affordability and accessibility to homeownership in our community,” said Matthew Umanos, government affairs director at the Gainesville-Alachua County Association of Realtors.

The new classification became effective Oct. 1. City staff are expected to present an update to the Gainesville City Commission at its next meeting Oct. 19.

“The upgraded Class 6 rating is a testament to Gainesville's continued commitment to building a resilient community, one that is more resistant to flooding and flood disasters,” said Renshaw.

The city has been enrolled in the National Flood Insurance Program since 1971. The program provides federally backed flood insurance within communities that enact and enforce floodplain regulations.

Flooding is a common and costly disaster in Florida due to many factors, including geography and the frequency of storms. Depending on a property’s location, mortgage lenders may require separate flood insurance coverage since homeowners’, renters’ and business insurance policies typically don’t cover losses due to flooding or rising water. Policyholders should contact their insurance agents to verify their current coverage.

For more information, visit the FEMA Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate website at www.fema.gov/flood-insurance/advocate.

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