(WENY) -- Chemung County is working to inform the public about the National Flood Insurance Program and the opportunity for property owners to get flood insurance at a discounted rate. Chemung County announced Tuesday the assistance can help qualified municipalities and residents take advantage of reduced premiums.  

“The first priority is to help all the municipalities that participate in the national flood insurance program and participate in the community rating system so that we can help them get the community members a discount on their flood insurance,” Kristin Griffiths, deputy director of Emergency Management for the Chemung County Planning Department, said.  

The idea behind the program is for people who live in potential flood zones to get the insurance they may need before it is too late. Under the program, the more cities, towns, and villages that participate, the greater that discounted premium may be. Insurance rates in participating communities are based on points, known as the Community Rating System.  

“The more points they get, the more it will better their position in the National Flood Insurance Program,” Griffiths said, adding, “It equates to discounts on the flood insurance program policies for the residents.”  

To receive additional program support, municipalities must start taking action through outreach and public education. Griffiths also emphasized why property owners should consider flood insurance, because even if they don't live in a designated flood zone, they still might be in an area considered at risk.  

“Your homeowner insurance generally will not pay for flood damages; that's why you need flood insurance, Griffiths said, adding, “This special national flood insurance program is to cover flood damages to your home.”  

Anyone can check the type of flood zone they live in and if they're at risk for flooding online.