FEMA Risk Rating 2.0

image of flooding

FEMA is changing how they calculate flood insurance premiums with Risk Rating 2.0.


The new insurance rating program officially starts October 1, 2021, but some legacy programs will be ending August 31. People will see rates go down and others will see rates go up depending on how close you are to a flood hazard and how high your ground is, in addition to other factors. If your flood insurance is scheduled to be more expensive after August 31, 2021, it is best to purchase a policy NOW so that cost increases can be metered in over years rather than immediately. Talk to your local insurance agent or go to Risk Rating 2.0: Equity in Action | FEMA.gov to find out more about the program and how you can save money.


Who needs this the most?

Any home that is currently mapped at low risk but will be later mapped at high risk. Buying a Preferred Risk Policy now could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the next 5 to 10 years. If you live in the Nisqually watershed, Check out this map to see if you may be affected by proposed changes. Nisqually Watershed, Washington - Flood Study Lifecycle (arcgis.com) 


Where is this likely to happen?

FEMA is finishing up a new flood study of the Nisqually River that is expected to be finalized in early 2023. The 1996 flood damaged many homes that were not shown on the FEMA map as at flood risk. This forced a reevaluation of risk the new flood maps show a risk of flooding just beyond the 1996 flood. So if your home flooded in 1996 then buy insurance now. Once the new maps go into effect any house with a federally backed loan will be required to buy flood insurance at the full rate, buying now could slow that increase.

Example of a Preferred Risk Policy (PRP)












Total cost

Potential Savings

Full Risk


























This in no way constitutes actual rates. Please call your insurance agent for prices. 

New Flood Insurance Timeline

Risk Rating 2.0 will be implemented in October 2021. This will cause a fundamental shift in ratings and cost. It is recommend that those who are not in the floodplain now get flood insurance before maps become effective as their rates will be honored once they are moved into the floodplain, assuming they don’t let their policy lapse.

Beginning Aug. 1, current National Flood Insurance Program policyholders can contact their insurance company or insurance agent to learn more about what Risk Rating 2.0-Equity in Action means to them.


New policies beginning Oct. 1, 2021, will be subject to the new rating methodology. Also beginning Oct. 1, existing policyholders eligible for renewal will be able to take advantage of immediate decreases in their premiums.


All remaining policies renewing on or after April 1, 2022, will be subject to the new rating methodology.  

Contact Us 

Pierce County Staff is available to discuss the FEMA Risk Rating 2.0 updates and what it could mean for you.

Dennis Dixon

Floodplain Engineer 


[email protected] 

Find out more about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in the FEMA playlist below