Q: The Regulation states that the amount of flood insurance required “must be at least equal to the lesser of the outstanding principal balance of the designated loan or the maximum limit of coverage available for the particular type of property under the Act.” What is meant by the “maximum limit of coverage available for the particular type of property under the Act”?
A: “The maximum limit of coverage available for the particular type of property under the Act” depends on the value of the secured collateral. First, under the NFIP, there are maximum caps on the amount of insurance available. For single-family and two-to-four family dwellings and other residential buildings located in a participating community under the regular program, the maximum cap is $250,000. For nonresidential structures located in a participating community under the regular program, the maximum cap is $500,000. (In participating communities that are under the emergency program phase, the caps are $35,000 for single-family and two-to- four family dwellings and other residential structures, and $100,000 for nonresidential structures).
In addition to the maximum caps under the NFIP, the Regulation also provides that “flood insurance coverage under the Act is limited to the overall value of the property securing the designated loan minus the value of the land on which the property is located,” which is commonly referred to as the “insurable value” of a structure. The NFIP does not insure land; therefore, land values should not be included in the calculation.
An NFIP policy will not cover an amount exceeding the “insurable value” of the structure. In determining coverage amounts for flood insurance, lenders often follow the same practice used to establish other hazard insurance coverage amounts. However, unlike the insurable valuation used to underwrite most other hazard insurance policies, the insurable value of improved real estate for flood insurance purposes also includes the repair or replacement cost of the foundation and supporting structures. It is very important to calculate the correct insurable value of the property; otherwise, the lender might inadvertently require the borrower to purchase too much or too little flood insurance coverage. For example, if the lender fails to exclude the value of the land when determining the insurable value of the improved real estate, the borrower will be asked to purchase coverage that exceeds the amount the NFIP will pay in the event of a loss. (Please note, however, when taking a security interest in improved real estate where the value of the land, excluding the value of the improvements, is sufficient collateral for the debt, the lender must nonetheless require flood insurance to cover the value of the structure if it is located in a participating community’s SFHA).
– This Q&A was included in the “Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Flood Insurance.” For ease of collection, this has been obtained from the FDIC’s Compliance Examination Manual – April 2016, which may be found here: https://fdic.gov/regulations/compliance/manual/5/V-6.1.pdf