Flood Insurance

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The City of Santa Clara is located in the heart of Santa Clara Valley, partially bounded by creeks, and there are several creeks run through the City.  While less than 10% of the City of Santa Clara is within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), many properties, in or out of the SFHA are at risk of flooding because 35% of the City is protected by levees1.  City is at risk to both riverine flooding and localized stormwater flooding. 

Why you need flood insurance?

Basic homeowner’s insurance does not cover losses from flooding.  Just a few inches of water from a flood can causes tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Without flood insurance, most residents have to pay out of pocket or take out loans to repair and replace damaged items.  With flood insurance, you're able to recover faster and more fully.  

Federal law requires flood insurance if you have a federally insured mortgage and your property is in a Special Flood Hazard Area shown on FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), which are areas designated as being high risk for flooding during a 1 percent flood event, or a flood that has a 1 in 100 chance of occurring in any given year. While the chances may seem slim, the real odds of a 1 percent flood are greater than one in four during the term of a 30-year mortgage.

Being outside of Special Flood Hazard Areas, does not mean you are free from flood risk.  The Special Flood Hazard Areas shown on FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps does not include areas with less than one foot of flood water during a 1 percent flood event. Just one inch of water in a home can cost more than $25,000 in damage. Since 1980 the National Flood Insurance Program has paid over $300,000 for flood losses in the City, and over 40% were paid to flood losses outside of Special Flood Hazard Areas. 

Whether you own a house or business, or rent, you can purchase flood insurance at a discounted rate from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program to protect your home from the hazards of flooding. There are structure and content insurance policy, and content only insurance policy so you can choose the type of policy that meets your needs. Call 1-800-427-4661 or visit www.floodsmart.gov to find a local agent. Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before your policy goes into effect, so don’t wait until mid-winter.

How to reduce your flood insurance premium

The City of Santa Clara participates in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) Community Rating System (CRS). CRS is a program through which FEMA rewards communities that perform floodplain management activities above and beyond the minimum requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program.  The City has a CRS class 7 rating, so residents and businesses can receive 10% discount in the insurance premium for properties in Special Flood Hazard Areas and 5% discount in the insurance premium for properties outside Special Flood Hazard Areas.  When shopping for flood insurance, contact your insurance provider to ensure premiums include these discounts.

Obtaining an Elevation Certificate, which documents the lowest building floor elevation and ground elevation adjacent to your house, may lower your flood insurance premium. Before you hire a licensed surveyor to prepare an Elevation Certificate, check if the City has an Elevation Certificate on file for your property. See the list of addresses with Elevation Certificates on file at the City. FEMA’s FloodSmart website has valuable information on how to lower your flood insurance premiums.

  1. Areas protected by levee are shown as hatched on FIRM.  Hatched area within the City is calculated using the effective FIRM.


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