Federal Flood Insurance and the Coastal Barrier Resources Act

The Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) and its amendments prohibit most new federal expenditures and financial assistance that may have the effect of encouraging development or modification of coastal barriers coastal barriers
Learn more about coastal barrier landforms.

Learn more about coastal barriers
within the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS). The main CBRA restriction affecting property owners is on federal flood insurance provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). NFIP insurance is generally prohibited within the CBRS with some exceptions.

Federal flood insurance is available within the CBRS if the subject structure structure
Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head.

Learn more about structure
was constructed (or permitted and under construction) before the flood insurance prohibition date flood insurance prohibition date
A flood insurance prohibition date refers to the date on which the prohibition on Federal flood insurance first took effect for a given area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program uses this date to determine whether a structure located within the CBRS is eligible for Federal flood insurance. Federal flood insurance is available within the CBRS for structures that were constructed (or permitted and under construction) before the area’s flood insurance prohibition date (which is generally tied to the date that the area was first established as either a System Unit or OPA, but may differ in some cases). If an existing insured structure within the CBRS is substantially improved or damaged (i.e., more than 50 percent of the structure’s market value), its Federal flood insurance policy cannot be renewed).

Learn more about flood insurance prohibition date
for the area in question (which is included in the Service's CBRS determination letter and shown in the CBRS Mapper). If an existing insured structure within the CBRS is substantially improved or damaged (i.e., over 50 percent of the structure's market value), the Federal flood insurance policy cannot be renewed. For new or substantially improved structures located within an Otherwise Protected Area, federal flood insurance may be available if written documentation is provided certifying that the structure is used in a manner consistent with the purposes for which the area is protected (e.g., restroom facilities, visitors center, and employee housing within a park).

The NFIP has a Flood Insurance Manual (FIM) which is used primarily by insurers and agents selling and servicing flood insurance. The FIM contains information regarding eligibility for structures located within the CBRS and should be consulted prior to writing a flood insurance policy that may be affected by CBRA.

FEMA’s regulations implementing CBRA with regards to federal flood insurance eligibility can be found in 44 Code of Federal Regulations (PDF) (CFR) Part 71.

Note: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) does not have any information regarding private flood insurance and cannot provide recommendations for any particular insurance carrier. Please direct any flood insurance related questions to the NFIP.

How to Determine Whether an Area is Within the CBRS

Step 1:  Learn whether a community contains CBRS units.

Step 2: If the community contains System Units or Otherwise Protected Areas of the CBRS, seek property documentation through the CBRS Validation Tool or an official CBRS Property Determination.

Disclosure of a CBRS Designation

Property owners are generally made aware of the CBRS designation affecting their property when they obtain a mortgage that requires flood insurance. There is, however, no federal mandate for the disclosure of a CBRS designation by state and/or local officials or realtors at the time of purchase or construction. The Service encourages federal, state, and local officials to integrate CBRS data into their GIS platforms and other information systems so that it is readily available to community officials, developers, property owners, prospective buyers, and others. We also encourage public officials to consider including CBRS information in building permit forms, planning documents, and outreach materials. Such voluntary actions can help to increase awareness of the CBRS and associated prohibitions on Federal expenditures, which will help stakeholders make informed decisions about areas affected by CBRA.