CA flood insurance rates

Frequently Asked Questions

What are flood zones?
Flood zones are land areas identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Each flood zone describes that land area in terms of its risk of flooding. Everyone lives in a flood zoneĖitís just a question of whether you live in a low, moderate, or high risk area.

Doesnít my homeowners insurance policy cover flooding?
No. Flood damage is not typically covered by a homeowners insurance policy. Flood insurance is generally covered by policies purchased from insurance agents via FEMA and some private companies. However not all flood insurance is the same. Carriers can offer a variety of coverage options.

Iím not in a high-risk area, but Iíd like flood coverage. Is this possible?
Yes! You are eligible to purchase a flood policy with the same coverage you would receive if you lived in a high-risk area. That is, of course, as long as your community participates in the NFIP.

I live in a low-risk flood zone. Do I really need flood insurance?
Yes! Itís a good idea to buy flood insurance even if you live in a moderate- or low-risk area. Anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. People outside of high-risk areas file over 20% of NFIP claims and receive one-third of disaster assistance for flooding. When itís available, disaster assistance is typically a loan you must repay with interest. You may qualify for the Preferred Risk Policy (a lower-cost flood insurance policy) Call us for details.

Is all Flood Insurance the same?
Although the majority of flood policies are sold by insurance agents through FEMA, there are some private companies that are now offering coverage. These companies may offer better rates and shorter waiting periods than offered by FEMA. Contact us now for a quote!

Why do I need flood insurance, even though my community has never been flooded?
Flooding occurs in moderate-to-low risk areas as well as in high-risk areas. Poor drainage systems, rapid accumulation of rainfall, snowmelt, and broken water mains can all result in flood. Properties on a hillside can be damaged by mudflow, a covered peril under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy. Structures located in high-risk flood areas have a significant chance (26 percent) of suffering flood damage during the term of a 30-year mortgage. In a high-risk area, your home is more than twice as likely to be damaged by a flood than by fire. For these reasons, flood insurance is required by law for buildings in high-risk flood areas as a condition of receiving a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender.

If my home is flooded, wonít federal disaster assistance pay for my damages?
Not necessarily. Federal disaster assistance typically comes in the form of a low interest loan to help cover flood damage, not compensation for your losses. Even then, those loans are only available if the president formally declares a disaster and must be repaid along with any existing mortgage.

Why does my mortgage lender require me to buy flood insurance?
Under federal law, the purchase of flood insurance is mandatory for all federal or federally related financial assistance for the acquisition and/or construction of buildings in high-risk flood areas (Special Flood Hazard Areas or SFHAs). The amount of flood insurance coverage required by the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, as amended by the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994, is the lesser of the following:
ē The maximum amount of NFIP coverage available for the particular property type,
ē The outstanding principal balance of the loan, or
ē The insurable value of the structure.

If the property is not in a high-risk area, but instead in a moderate-to-low risk area, federal law does not require flood insurance; however, a lender can still require it. It is also recommended since historically one-in-five claims come from these moderate-to-low areas. Note that if during the life of the loan the maps are revised and the property is now in the high-risk area, your lender will notify you that you must purchase flood insurance.

I live in a high-risk risk area. After my home was damaged in a flood, I received federal disaster assistance. Do I need to purchase flood insurance now?
Yes. If you live in an SFHA and have received disaster assistance in the form of a federal grant or loan, you must cover the building for flood insurance for as long as you own it. Should you sell the building, you are required to inform the new owner of the necessity to purchase and maintain flood insurance. Failure to carry flood insurance could result in the denial of future federal disaster assistance.

What is a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and how do I use it?
A FIRM is a map created by the NFIP for floodplain management and insurance purposes. Digital versions of these maps are called DFIRMs. A FIRM will generally show a communityís base flood elevations, flood zones, and floodplain boundaries. As a property owner/renter, you can use this map to get a reliable indication of what flood zone youíre in. However, maps are constantly being updated due to changes in geography, construction and mitigation activities, and meteorological events. Therefore, for a truly accurate determination, contact your insurance agent or company, or your community floodplain manager.

What is a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)?
Land areas that are at high risk for flooding are called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), or floodplains. These areas are indicated on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). A home located within an SFHA has a 26 percent chance of suffering flood damage during the term of a 30-year mortgage.

What is a Non-Special Flood Hazard Area (NSFHA)?
A Non-Special Flood Hazard Area (NSFHA) is an area that is in a moderate-to-low risk flood zone (Zones B, C, X Pre- and Post-FIRM). An NSFHA is not in any immediate danger from flooding caused by overflowing rivers or hard rains. However, itís important to note that structures within a NSFHA are still at risk. In fact, one out of four floods occurs in an NSFHA! Get the facts before you decide that your property is not at risk.

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