Flood Protection & Insurance
During the 1920s, the insurance industry concluded that flood insurance could not be a profitable venture because the only people who would want flood coverage would be those who lived in floodplains.
In 1968, Congress passed the National Flood Insurance Act to correct some of the shortcomings of the traditional flood control and flood relief programs. The act created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to:
- Transfer the costs of private property flood losses from the taxpayers to floodplain property owners through flood insurance premiums.
- Provide floodplain residents and property owners with financial aid after floods, especially smaller floods that do not warrant federal disaster aid.
- Guide development away from flood hazard areas.
- Require that new and substantially improved buildings be constructed in ways that would minimize or prevent damage during a flood.
In order for a citizen to be able to purchase flood insurance, the community in which he/she lives must be a participating member of the NFIP. That is, the community must uphold certain Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and County standards and enforce certain building codes that mandate flood safety. Pinal County is a member of the NFIP, so any person in the county is entitled to purchase flood insurance, whether or not they are in a floodplain. If your house is financed by a federally backed mortgage, you are required by law to carry a flood insurance policy. If your house is in a floodplain and you do not have a mortgage, we still recommend that you carry a flood insurance policy in the event that if you ever do have any water damage from flooding, which is not covered by any other part of your insurance policy, you will have some degree of coverage for flooding. Most flood damage occurs in non-flood zone 'A' areas, so if you are close to a floodplain, we also recommend carrying flood insurance. It is well worth the cost if your house is ever damaged by floodwaters. Don't forget contents coverage as well! This can protect your valuable belonging in the event they are damaged or destroyed due to a flood.
Some More Facts About Flood Insurance
- In most cases, there is a 30-day waiting period for coverage to go into effect. Don't wait until the storms come to get insurance.
- Homeowners' insurance does not cover flood damage. You need a separate flood insurance policy
- Renters can purchase contents-only flood insurance to protect their belongings
- After a flood, disaster assistance is not always available. If it is, it is usually in the form of a loan that must be repaid.
For more facts about flood insurance, check out FEMA's Flood Insurance web page.
Risk Rating 2.0
FEMA is updating the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) risk rating methodology through the implementation of a new pricing methodology called Risk Rating 2.0. The system utilizes an understanding of an individual property's flood risk, determined through private sector data sets, catastrophe models, and evolving actuarial science, as well as the replacement cost value, to enable FEMA to deliver rates specific to the property.
Beginning October 1, 2021, new policies will be subject to the new rating methodology. In addition, existing policyholders eligible for renewal will be able to elect to renew under the new rating system.
All remaining policies renewing on or after April 1, 2022, will be subject to the new rating methodology.
Flood Protection Information
Pinal County is no stranger to rain and floods. Our climate and unique landscape makes us susceptible to both, especially when we least expect it. Almost every year, some part of Pinal County experiences a flood. Whether it leads to road closures or property damage, flooding impacts everyone. After learning about your flood risk and obtaining flood insurance, there are several ways that you can protect your property from flooding. The Pinal County Flood Control District recommends the following tips:
- Although not always practical, consider raising the existing buildings above the anticipated flood depth at the property.
- Obtain a floodplain use permit to re-grade your lot to help drain runoff away from the buildings. This works best on large lots, if flood waters aren't too deep and if the changes will not affect other properties.
- Keep natural watercourses clear. Don't dump trash, fill material, or excess vegetation in watercourse. Not only is this illegal, it also increases your risk of flooding. Materials dumped in washes can constrict flows raising flood heights and increase flood velocities. Loose debris can also be washed downstream where it can block culverts and cause damage to public infrastructure.
- Consider flood proofing your structures. Waterproof your walls and install watertight enclosures over entry ways. This is not recommended for houses with basements or if flood waters will exceed two feet in depth.
- If applicable, install a sewer backflow preventer to stop floodwaters from entering your home through the drains.
- If you live in a flood-prone area, consider storing sandbags at your property in preparation for a flood. You can stop by any Pinal County Public Works maintenance yard to get up to 25 free sandbags. During the monsoon season, sandbags are also available at most hardware stores.
More information is available in the Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding (PDF).