Floods are the most common natural disasters in the United States, and they can often bring with them severe damage. Homeowners who live near the water – like many in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts – are particularly at risk of being hit with flood damage during storm seasons.

Flood damage is not covered by typical homeowner’s insurance, so if you have not signed up for and purchased flood insurance, your home will not be protected in the event of a flood.

But if you live in Rhode Island, you can opt in to the National Flood Insurance Program, a federal program that provides more than 19,000 communities across the country with affordable insurance.

What do you need to know?

  • Stay up to code: The federal government provides flood insurance to certain communities in exchange for the communities enacting and enforcing flood regulations compliant to federal laws. Translated: If your structure meets the standards, your premiums will be lower. If not, your premiums will be very high.


  • Base Flood Elevation (BFE): Base Flood Elevation is the “computed elevation to which floodwater is anticipated to rise during the base flood.” In order to comply with flood regulation, you need to make sure your flood-proof structures are at least one foot higher than your area’s BFE. Every foot you elevate above BFE will decrease your premium.
  • Defining a basement: The regulations define basement as “any space that is below grade on all four walls.”
  • Flood Vents: Regulations require an “adequate” amount of flood vents throughout an at-risk structure. At least two flood vents are required on opposing walls.

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