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When I bought my home, it was not in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), but when I refinanced my mortgage, the bank said I had to buy flood insurance because the flood maps had changed. Can the bank require me to buy flood insurance?

Yes. If the bank learns that a flood map revision places a property in a SFHA in which flood insurance is available under the National Flood Insurance Act (NFIA), the bank may not make, increase, extend, or renew any mortgage loan secured by that property unless it is covered by flood insurance. The bank must then notify the borrower of the new insurance requirements.

Under the NFIA, the mandatory flood insurance purchase amount for a one- to four-family, non-condominium residential structure is the lesser of

  • the outstanding principal balance of the loan(s), or
  • the maximum amount of insurance available under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is the lesser of
    • the maximum limit available for the type of structure ($250,000), or
    • the insurable value of the structure (typically the replacement cost value of your home).

The borrower must maintain this coverage during the term of the loan.

Lenders, however, are generally permitted to require more flood insurance coverage than the minimum required by the NFIA.

Refer to 42 USC 50 "National Flood Insurance Act."

Last Reviewed: October 2020

Please note: The terms "bank" and "banks" used in these answers generally refer to national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches or agencies of foreign banking organizations that are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Find out if the OCC regulates your bank. Information provided on HelpWithMyBank.gov should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion of the OCC.

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