The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created by Congress in 1968 to make flood insurance available to property owners in flood-prone communities. NFIP requires local governments to adopt and enforce floodplain regulations before their residents can purchase flood insurance.
March 2012 update - Final flood insurance rate maps available
Flood insurance rate maps, prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), identify flood hazard zones in Clark County, including “base flood” areas that have a 1 percent chance of being inundated in any year.
The maps will indicate properties where mortgage lenders may require flood insurance and where floodplain development regulations may apply. Property owners are encouraged to examine the maps because some land may have been added to flood hazard zones, resulting in new insurance requirements and development restrictions.
FEMA mailed Clark County a Letter of Final Determination for the final maps on March 5, 2012. The maps and related flood study for Clark County will take effect on September 5, 2012.
Before the effective date, the county must amend the floodplain ordinance to adopt the new maps so residents can continue to purchase flood insurance through the NFIP.
For more information, contact Tom Grange, Public Works Engineering & Design Supervisor, at (360) 397-6118 ext. 4449 or Tom.Grange@clark.wa.gov.
The NFIP and Clark County’s Flood Hazard Area code provide an alternative to traditional flood control. These regulations acknowledge our community’s land use needs and guide development to allow floodwaters to move naturally.
Membership within NFIP — and the availability of flood insurance to county residents — requires the county to manage its floodplain in ways that meet or exceed standards set by FEMA.
Since Clark County participates in the NFIP, federally backed flood insurance is available for all structures, whether or not they are within the floodplain. Be aware that standard property insurance does not cover flooding.
Community rating system
Clark County also participates in the NFIP Community Rating System (CRS). This is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed minimum NFIP requirements.
Reductions in flood insurance premiums are achieved through a points-based program that reflects the county’s efforts for improved flood management and community outreach.
For CRS participating communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted in increments of 5 percent; i.e., a Class 1 community would receive a 45 percent premium discount, while a Class 9 community would receive a 5 percent discount. (A Class 10 community does not participate in the CRS and receives no discount.)
As of October 2009, the county’s flood rating was improved to Class 5, which means property owners who purchase flood insurance receive a 25 percent discount on their premiums. The county previous had been rated as Class 7, which provided a 15 percent discount.
The new rating reflects the continuing efforts of Clark County Public Works to improve floodplain management.
Special Flood Hazard Area
More than 25 percent of NFIP claims are filed by properties located outside the 100-year floodplain, also known as the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Find out if your property is located in a SFHA.
Federal financial assistance requires the purchase of flood insurance for buildings located within the SFHA — a requirement that affects nearly all mortgages financed through commercial lenders.
While the mandatory flood insurance purchase requirement has been in effect for many years, not all lenders required flood insurance in the past. Today, however, most lenders are now requiring flood insurance. When refinancing a loan, nearly all lending institutions will enforce the flood insurance requirement. It is the lender’s responsibility to check the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) to determine whether a structure is within the SFHA.
With the flood season that the Northwest encounters every year it is very important that you protect your property. There is a 26 percent chance of experiencing a flood during the life of a 30-year mortgage.
Types of insurance coverage
NFIP insures buildings with two types of coverage: structural and contents.
- Structural coverage - Includes walls, floors, insulation, furnace and other items permanently attached to the structure.
- Contents coverage - Purchased separately to cover the contents of an insurable building.
Flood insurance also pays a portion of the costs of actions taken to prevent flood damage.
Following the purchase of flood insurance, NFIP imposes a 30-day waiting period, so residents should purchase insurance before the onset of the rainy season to ensure coverage during a flood.
Contact your homeowner’s insurance agent for more information on the National Flood Insurance Program. You may also contact the NFIP at (888) CALL-FLOOD, ext. 314.