National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System

The City of Sultan participates in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System.

The National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements.

As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS:

  1. Reduce flood damage to insurable property;
  2. Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP, and
  3. Encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.

 Best Protection: Flood Insurance

National Flood Insurance is the only dependable financial protection against flood damage. Your standard homeowners insurance will not cover losses by flooding and Federal disaster assistance is only available after the President declares a disaster. Disaster assistance will rarely cover all flood related losses. Flood insurance is an affordable way (the average flood insurance policy in Washington is approximately $400.00 per year) to provide the financial protection your home needs. For more information, call your insurance agent or 1-888-356-6329, 1-800-480-2520. Remember, there is a mandatory 30-day waiting period on all new policies, so don’t wait. 

ICC Claims Process

In most cases, the following will occur with an ICC claim:

  1. Report flood loss to insurer.
  2. Claims adjuster makes estimate of flood damage and tells policyholder he/she may be eligible for ICC benefits.
  3. Building department determines building is substantially damaged or is a repetitive loss. Discuss mitigation options which will comply with floodplain regulations. Issues necessary building permits for mitigation measures.
  4. Policyholder provides the building departments written determination of substantial damage or repetitive loss to the adjuster.
  5. Adjuster will set up an ICC claims file: Obtain damage and market value information on structure. For a repetitive loss structure, get previous claim information. Verify the flood related damage for the current building claim supports community information.
  6. Policyholder must obtain a signed contract which details costs to perform the mitigation activity and give it to the claims representative.
  7. The adjuster will provide proof of loss form to the policyholder.
  8. Policyholder will provide proof of loss and copy of community permit to the insurance company in order to receive the first portion of the ICC claim money.
  9. Adjuster then provides an initial ICC claim payment to the policyholder.
  10. Policyholder completes the mitigation measure.
  11. Building department inspects completed mitigation work and issues a Certificate of Occupancy.
  12. Policyholder provides a copy of certificate of occupancy to the insurer.
  13. Adjuster makes final ICC claim payment upon receipt of Certificate of Occupancy.

For National Flood Insurance Program Information-Click Here

What the Federal Flood Insurance Program Covers

NFIP’s building property policy covers the cost to rebuild or the actual value of your home (whichever is less). That includes:

  • Your home and its foundation
  • Electrical and plumbing systems
  • HVAC equipment like air conditioning, furnaces, and water heaters
  • Kitchen appliances, including your refrigerator, stove, and built-ins such as your dishwasher
  • Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
  • Permanently installed wallboard, paneling, bookcases, and cabinets
  • Window blinds
  • Detached garages (limited to 10% of your home policy)
  • Debris removal
  • Water heater

The NFIP policy that covers your personal property will cover stuff like:

  • Clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
  • Curtains
  • Window AC units
  • Portable microwaves and dishwashers
  • Carpets not covered by your building policy
  • Washer/dryers
  • Your freezer and frozen food
  • Up to $2,500 in valuables, such as art and furs

Note: Personal possessions claims are paid based on actual cash value — not what you paid for them.

What Isn’t Covered

Typically, if it belongs in a bank or safe deposit box, it’s not covered:

  • Precious metals
  • Stock certificates
  • Bearer bonds
  • Cash

Other items not covered:

  • Trees
  • Plants
  • Wells
  • Septic systems
  • Walkways
  • Decks
  • Patios
  • Fences
  • Hot tubs
  • Swimming pools
  • Boat houses
  • Retaining walls
  • Storm shelters
  • Temporary housing and other living expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Cars
  • Post-flood mold damage (more about insurance and mold here)
  • Sewer backups


Coverage is Limited for Basements

If you have a basement, you’ll have more risk because the NFIP limits coverage for basements, crawlspaces, or any living space where the floor is below ground level. Even a walkout basement won’t be covered for:

  • Bookcases
  • Window treatments
  • Carpeting, tile, and other floor coverings
  • Some drywall, depending on how far below ground level it is
  • Paneling
  • Walls and ceilings not made of drywall
  • Most personal property such as clothing, electronic equipment, kitchen supplies, and furniture


There’s a Limit to How Often You Can Collect

If you make four or more flood claims for more than $5,000 each, or two claims that, added together, cost more than your home, NFIP will “offer” you a grant to make your home less vulnerable to floods. If you refuse to take the grant money and make the improvements, your policy payments will probably increase substantially.

If a Flood Severely Damages Your Home

NFIP may give you $30,000 to use to raise, tear down, or move your home. That $30,000 gets added on to any other claim NFIP pays you. But the total still can’t go above $250,000.

More About What Qualifies as a Flood

As mentioned earlier, regular homeowners insurance doesn’t cover floods. So when is damage considered to be caused by a flood?

  • Water has to cover at least 2 acres of land that’s normally dry, or has to have damaged two or more properties (one being your home).
  • Also, the water has to come from:
  • Overflowing inland or tidal waters
  • Unusual, rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source
  • Mudflow (that’s mud carried by a flow of water, creating a river of mud)Water and seepage that comes from sewer or drain backups, or a sump pump that overflows is not considered a flood.



  • You’re also covered when shorefront land collapses or sinks due to waters above “anticipated cyclical levels.”
  • Don’t wait for an impending storm to purchase federal flood insurance. There’s usually a 30-day waiting period. Some private policies offer a 15-day waiting period.
  • Make an inventory of the possessions in your home to make filing a claim easier.

Myths and Facts about the National Flood Insurance Program

How the NFIP Works

Who needs flood insurance? Everyone does, and everyone in a participating community of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can buy flood insurance. More than 18,000 communities nationwide have joined the program.

In some instances, people have been told that they cannot buy flood insurance because of where they live. To clear up this and other misconceptions about federal flood insurance, the NFIP has compiled the following list of common myths about the program and the real facts behind them.

MYTH #1: You can’t buy flood insurance if you are located in a high-risk area.

The Facts: You can buy federal flood insurance no matter where you live if your community belongs to the NFIP, except in Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) areas. The program was created in 1968 to provide affordable flood insurance to people who live in areas, called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), with the greatest risk of flooding. In fact, under the National Flood Insurance Act lenders must require borrowers whose property is located within an SFHA to purchase flood insurance as a condition of receiving a federally-backed mortgage loan. There is an exemption for conventional loans on properties within CBRS areas. Lenders should notify borrowers that their property is located in an SFHA and that affordable federal flood insurance is available.

MYTH #2: You can’t buy flood insurance immediately before or during a flood.

The Facts: You can purchase flood coverage at any time. There is a 30- day waiting period after you’ve applied and paid the premium before the policy is effective, with the following exceptions:

  • If the initial purchase of flood insurance is in connection with the making, increasing, extending, or renewing of a loan, there is no waiting period. The coverage becomes effective at the time of the loan, provided application and presentment of premium is made at or before loan closing.
  • If the initial purchase of flood insurance is made during the 1-year period following the issuance of a revised flood map for a community, there is a 1-day waiting period. The policy does not cover a “loss in progress“ defined by the NFIP as a loss occurring as of 12:01 a.m. on the first day of the policy term. You also cannot increase the amount of insurance coverage you have during a loss in progress.


MYTH #3: Homeowner’s insurance policies cover flooding.

The Facts: Unfortunately, many homeowners do not find out until it is too late that their homeowners’ policies do not cover flooding. Federal flood insurance protects your home and belongings.

MYTH #4: Flood insurance is only available for homeowners.

The Facts: Flood insurance can protect homes, condominiums, apartments, and non-residential buildings, including commercial structures. A maximum of $250,000 of building coverage is available for single-family residential buildings; $250,000 is available per unit for multifamily residences. The limit for contents coverage on all residential buildings is $100,000. Coverage for contents is also available to renters. Commercial structures can be insured to a limit of $500,000 for the building and $500,000 for the contents.

MYTH #5: You can’t buy flood insurance if your property has been flooded.

The Facts: It doesn’t matter how many times your home, apartment, or business has been flooded. You are still eligible to purchase flood insurance provided your community is participating in the NFIP.

MYTH #6: Only residents of high-risk flood zones need to insure their property.

The Facts: Even if your area is not flood-prone, flood insurance is advisable. One-third of the NFIP’s claims come from such areas. The NFIP’s Preferred Risk Policy costs an average of $352 a year for residential properties in low-to-moderate flood risk zones.

MYTH #7: The NFIP does not offer any type of basement coverage.

The Facts: Yes, it does. The NFIP defines a basement as any area of a building with a floor that is subgrade, or below ground level on all sides. Basement coverage under an NFIP policy includes cleanup expenses and items used to service the building, such as elevators, furnaces, hot water heaters, washers and dryers, air conditioners, freezers, utility connections, circuit breaker boxes, pumps, and tanks used in solar energy systems. The policy does not cover the contents of a finished basement or improvements, such as finished walls, floors and ceilings.

MYTH #8: Federal disaster assistance will pay for flood damage.

The Facts: Before a community is eligible for disaster assistance, it must be declared a federal disaster area. A federal disaster is declared in less than 50 percent of flooding incidents. The annual premium for an NFIP policy, averaging about $300 a year, is less expensive than interest on federal disaster loans even though they are always granted on favorable terms. Furthermore, if you are uninsured and receive federal disaster assistance after a flood, you must purchase flood insurance to receive disaster relief in the future.

MYTH #9: The NFIP encourages coastal development.

The Facts: One of the NFIP’s primary objectives is to guide development away from high flood-risk areas. NFIP regulations minimize the impact of structures that are built in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) by requiring them not to cause obstructions to the natural flow of floodwaters. Also, as a condition of community participation in the NFIP, those structures built within SFHAs must adhere to strict floodplain management regulations. In addition, the Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982 relies on the NFIP to discourage building in the fragile coastal areas covered by CBRA by prohibiting the sale of flood insurance in designated CBRA areas. These laws do not prohibit property owners from building along coastal areas; however, they do transfer the financial risk of such building from federal taxpayers to those who choose to live or invest in these areas.

MYTH #10: Federal flood insurance can only be purchased through the NFIP directly.

The Facts: Federal flood insurance is sold and serviced directly through the NFIP or through a write-your-own (WYO) company. WYO companies write and service policies on a non-risk-bearing basis through a special arrangement with the Federal Insurance Administration.

MYTH #11: The NFIP does not cover flooding resulting from hurricanes or the overflow of rivers or tidal waters.

The Facts: The NFIP defines covered flooding as a general and temporary condition during which the surface of normally dry land is partially or completely inundated. Two adjacent properties or 2 or more acres must be affected. Flooding can be caused by any one of the following:

  • Overflow of inland or tidal waters.
  • Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, such as heavy rainfall.
  • Mudslides or mudflows caused by flooding which are comparable to a river of liquid and flowing mud.
  • Collapse or destabilization of land along the lakeshore or other body of water resulting from erosion or the effect of waves.
  • Water currents exceeding normal, cyclical levels.


MYTH #12: Wind-driven rain is considered flooding.

The Facts: Rain entering through wind-damaged windows, doors, or a hole in a wall or the roof resulting in standing water or puddles is considered windstorm rather than flood damage. Federal flood insurance only covers damage caused by the general condition of flooding (defined above) typically caused by storm surge wave wash, tidal waves, or the overflow of any body of water above normal cyclical levels. Buildings which sustain this type of damage usually have a watermark showing how high the water has risen before it subsides. Although the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) specifically excludes wind and hail coverage, most homeowners’ policies provide coverage. For more detailed information on NFIP visit their website or call 888-CALL-FLOOD ext. 445, (TDD 800-427-5593).

information prepared by NFIP.

Myths and Facts about the National Flood Insurance Program-Click Here