Flooding is the #1 natural disaster affecting Americans. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created in 1968 to address losses from flooding. The program requires those who live in flood hazard areas to purchase insurance for flooding. Nearly 20,000 communities across the United States and its territories participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) by adopting and enforcing floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage. In exchange, the NFIP makes Federally backed flood insurance available to homeowners, renters, and business owners in these communities.
Flood insurance is designed to provide an alternative to federal disaster assistance to reduce the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods. Flood damage is reduced by nearly $1 billion a year through communities implementing sound floodplain management requirements and property owners purchasing of flood insurance. Additionally, buildings constructed in compliance with NFIP building standards suffer approximately 80 percent less damage annually than those not built in compliance.
Why is flood insurance important?
- If your house is in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), your mortgage lender requires you to have flood insurance.
- Homeowners insurance does not cover flood losses.
- If you live in a 100 year floodplain, the chance of your home being damaged by a flood is 26% over the lifespan of your mortgage, compared to a 9% chance of being damaged by fire.
- A 100 year flood has a 1% chance of occurring every year.
- New land development can increase flood risk, especially if construction changes natural runoff patterns.
- Federal Disaster Assistance usually comes in the form of a loan that must be paid off.
Do you know your property's flood risk?
Property owners and buyers should be fully aware of their flood risk and the current status of flood maps in their community. They can contact their local floodplain management or building officials to learn the status of local flood maps, or can obtain a copy of the current map.
Purchasing or Accessing Your Flood Insurance
Home and business owners who do not have flood insurance should contact their insurance agent to find out more about obtaining NFIP issued flood insurance or visit the FloodSmart website.
Accessing your policy for flood damages is done through your agent and does not require a local jurisdiction declaration of an emergency. You do not have to be in a 100 year flood zone to obtain flood insurance, which also includes flooding from other sources; such as municipal pipe breaks. County staff can assist in clarifying eligibility. Give us a call!
Community Rating System
The Community Rating System awards communities that voluntarily take steps beyond the minimum requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to reduce flood risks and increase the effectiveness of flood insurance protection.
Yakima County's volunteer actions include flood preparedness, flood damage reduction, mapping and regulations, and public awareness.