Flood Insurance

The Village of Winnetka participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which makes federally guaranteed flood insurance available to all eligible buildings, whether they are in the flood plain or not.

How It Works

If a building is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), which is commonly known as the 100-year flood plain, and a federally backed loan or mortgage is necessary, the Federal agency or lender is required by law to require the building owner to purchase a flood insurance policy on the building. Federal regulations require building coverage equal to the amount of the loan (excluding appraised value of the land) or the maximum amount of insurance available from the NFIP, whichever is less. The maximum amount available for a single-family residence is $250,000. Government-sponsored enterprises, such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, have stricter requirements.

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, and vacant lots. It does not affect loans for buildings that are not in an SFHA, even though a portion of the lot may be. While not mandated by law, a lender may require a flood insurance policy, as a condition of a loan, for a property in any zone on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).

Insure Your Building & Contents

The NFIP insures buildings with two types of coverage: building and contents. Building coverage is for the walls, floors, insulation, furnace, and other items permanently attached to the structure. Contents coverage may be purchased separately, if the contents are in an insurable building.

There is a 30 day waiting period before flood insurance coverage goes into effect. Please note that standard property insurance does not cover flood damage. Premiums for non-SFHA structures can be gotten at a much reduced rate. View further information on flood insurance coverage on Floodsmart.gov’s What’s Covered page.

Elevation Certificates for Insurance

See the Village of Winnetka has FEMA Elevation Certificates, Letters of Map Revision and Letters of Map amendments for many buildings and properties constructed in the flood plain.

If you need to obtain a new Elevation Certificate, you must hire an Illinois Licensed Engineer or Land Surveyor.

Changes to Flood Insurance Rates

On October 1, 2021, new flood insurance rates are scheduled to go into effect for all NIFP policies. It will be the biggest change to the NFIP since the program’s inception.

The new rating system is called Risk Rating 2.0. According to FEMA, Risk Rating 2.0 will:

  • Reflect an individual property’s risk,
  • Reflect more types of flood risk in rates,
  • Use the latest actuarial practices to set risk-based rates,
  • Provide rates that are easier to understand for insurance agents and policyholders, and
  • Reduce complexity for agents to generate insurance quotes.

The current NFIP rating structure uses several basic characteristics to classify properties based on flood risk. Structures are evaluated based on their flood zone on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), occupancy type, and the elevation of the structure. According to FEMA, flood zones will no longer be used in calculating a property’s flood insurance premium. With Risk Rating 2.0, premiums are calculated based on the structural and geographical characteristics of the individual structure, the height (not elevation) of the lowest floor of the structure, and the replacement cost of the structure.

For more information, visit FEMA's website.