A voluntary incentive program within the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

The Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program within the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that recognizes and rewards community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum federal requirements through discounted flood insurance premiums.

Hillsborough County has been a participating community in the NFIP and CRS since 1980 and 1992, respectively. The County recently completed a three-year cycle verification visit in November 2022 and was informed by FEMA in October 2023 that its Class 5 rating would be retained.

Class 5 communities receive a 25% discount on flood insurance premiums for residents.

Class 5 correlates to an annual savings of approximately $5.9 million in discounted flood insurance premiums for residents in unincorporated Hillsborough County. These savings are a tangible monetary result of the floodplain management activities that Hillsborough County staff implement daily to protect lives and reduce property damage.

Community Rating System and National Flood Insurance Program

See information on the programs.

CRS verification & classification

As part of the CRS program, the County receives a “class” ranking between one and 10 based on the implementation of 18 creditable activities, organized within the four categories below:

  • Public Information
  • Mapping and Regulations
  • Flood Damage Reduction
  • Flood Preparedness

The CRS Coordinator’s Manual is the guidebook for the CRS and sets the criteria for CRS classification. It explains how the program operates, what is credited, and how credits are calculated. Although it is primarily a reference for CRS activities and credits, it can also help guide communities that want to improve their floodplain management programs.

CRS communities, such as Hillsborough County, are required to participate in classification verification visits on three- or five-year cycles, depending on their class rating and/or total flood insurance premium discount received. These verification visits are conducted by the Insurance Services Office (ISO), and the findings are provided to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for final approval. The County recently completed a three-year cycle verification visit in November 2022 and was informed by FEMA in October 2023 that its Class 5 rating would be retained.

Purchasing flood insurance

To purchase flood insurance, call your insurance company or insurance agent (the same person who sells your home or auto insurance). If you need help finding a provider, visit FloodSmart.gov/find or call the NFIP at (877) 336-2627.

Plan ahead!

There is typically a 30-day waiting period for an NFIP policy to go into effect unless the coverage is mandated, it is purchased as required by a federally backed lender or is related to a community flood map change.

CRS credit points, classes, and premium

Discounts to flood insurance premiums for residents of unincorporated Hillsborough County are awarded based on CRS class. Class 1 communities receive the highest discount, while Class 10 communities receive no discount. A complete list of flood insurance premium discounts is available on FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System website.

Renewing your flood insurance policy

When you renew your Flood Insurance Policy, please check the “Community Rating Number” stated on your policy. Should your policy indicate a Community Rating Number other than five (5), and you live in the unincorporated area of the County, contact your insurance agent in order to correct the error.

Hillsborough County is a Class 5 community and receives a 25% discount on flood insurance premiums for residents located in the unincorporated area of the county. To view the effective flood zone for a property or area, visit Hillsborough County’s Effective Flood Zone Viewer.

If your property is not in unincorporated Hillsborough County, contact your municipality or visit the Florida Division of Emergency Management website to find your CRS class and premium discount.

Lender Floodplain Determinations & Flood Insurance Requirements
Residents who apply for a federally funded mortgage/loan or refinancing on an existing home in flood-prone areas will be required to carry flood insurance for the life of the mortgage/loan. Generally, the only documentation that lenders will accept to change their floodplain determination is a FEMA Letter of Map Change

Homeowners, renters, and business owners may visit FloodSmart.gov for NFIP resources and information. Resources are also available for real estate, lending, and insurance professionals on FEMA’s website.

Download: Community Rating System (CRS) - Community Responsibilities and Costs & Benefits to the Community 

Hillsborough County CRS Users Group

The Hillsborough County CRS Users Group is a support and educational resource for communities that participate in the CRS or who are interested in joining or learning more about the program. During the group’s quarterly meetings, attendees can share ideas, best practices, and hear from guest speakers about CRS-related topics. If you or your community is interested in attending a future meeting, please e-mail the Hillsborough County Floodplain Management Program Team at floodplainadmin@hcfl.gov

Program for public information

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) introduced the Program for Public Information (PPI) as a new planning tool to provide a step-by-step coordinated approach to flood hazard outreach.

The PPI’s purpose is to improve communication with citizens and to provide information about flood hazards, flood safety, flood insurance and ways to protect property and natural floodplain functions to those who can benefit from it. Although this information is effectively shared throughout the county, this program better coordinates messages and materials, standardizes the information being shared and makes it more accessible to County staff as well as other local governments and agencies within the county.

Additionally, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) credits the implementation of public outreach projects and initiatives identified in a PPI.

The PPI is reviewed annually and updated every five years.

Hillsborough County Community Rating System (CRS) group meets 2-3 times a year to develop, review and update the PPI.

Multi-Jurisdictional Program for Public Information

Resources and training


For more information email floodplainadmin@hcfl.gov.

Last Modified: 1/2/2024, 11:32:32 PM

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