Low-Risk Flood Insurance:
Even if you are not in a FEMA Flood Zone, you can still buy flood insurance. Please note there is a 30-day waiting period before National Flood Insurance Program coverage takes effect. Contact your insurance agent for more information on rates and coverage. IMPORTANT INFO FOR CONDOMINIUM OWNERS.

Not sure if your potential/existing home is in a FEMA Flood Zone? You can check below under the home address.

Don't find it here? You can email: flood.info@palmsprings-ca.gov with your address, and phone number and we will email you the information.

(Updated April 2017))

ARE YOU AWARE OF THE FLOODING HAZARD IN OUR CITY?
While dry and arid for most of the year, the City of Palm Springs is especially prone to flooding due to its proximity to the adjacent mountains. Significant storm water runoff is experienced from time to time in the Whitewater River, Tahquitz Creek, Palm Canyon Wash, Snow Creek Canyon Wash/San Gorgonio River, Chinó Canyon Wash, and Mission Creek. However, many other areas within the City of Palm Springs beyond these natural drainage courses experience flooding. Click here for latest FEMA Flood Zones. Although much of the City is protected by a variety of flood control improvements, including concrete levees, storm drains, and detention basins, there are areas of the City where properties are located in special flood hazard areas and risk flooding as a result of severe storms. The City has a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan that describes flooding and other natural and man-made disasters and the plan to mitigate these threats. 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF FLOODPLAINS?
Creeks, channels, washes, and floodplains are a natural component of the desert environment. Understanding and protecting the natural functions of these components helps in reducing flood damage and protect our precious resources. When flooding spreads out across a floodplain area, its energy is dissipated, which results in lower flood flows downstream, reduced erosion of a wash or channel bank, and deposition of sediments higher in the watershed improving groundwater recharge. Floodplains, channels, and washes are scenic, valued wildlife habitats. Poorly planned development in floodplains can lead to stream bank erosion, loss of valuable property, increased risk of flooding to downstream properties and degradation of water quality.

ARE YOU IN A FLOOD ZONE?
If your lender says that your property is in a Flood Zone and you must buy flood insurance, you can contact the City of Palm Springs Engineering Department (760.323.8253 X8742) OR email flood.info@palmsprings-ca.gov  to check the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), operating under the arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Using your address or APN number, we can determine the Flood Zone for your property. If we determine that your property lies in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) in a zone that begins with the letter "A" or "V", you will need flood insurance. We also have copies of elevation certificates for some buildings is an SFHA.  In most cases, once you submit these maps to your lender for review, they will have enough additional information to refine their original map determination. In cases, where only a portion of your property is in a SFHA, you may need to provide your lender with a map and Elevation Certificate certified by a licensed Land Surveyor or Registered Engineer which shows the elevation of your building. Realtors, lenders, and Insurance agents within the City of Palm Springs can also contact the Engineering Department to find out a Flood Zone for a potential sale or new policy. If you do not have flood insurance, please call the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to obtain the name of an agent in your area. This program was created by Congress to provide affordable  flood insurance. Their  toll  free  number is 1-888-379-9531.

 

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: to reduce flood losses, to facilitate accurate insurance rating, and to promote the awareness of flood insurance. In 2010, the NFIP/CRS representative conducted his five-year cycle visit with the City of Palm Springs. FEMA informed the City that as a result of the visit, the City improved its CRS rating from 8 to 6. City of Palm Springs residents within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) will receive a 20% savings on their flood insurance compared to other cities in the Coachella Valley. The savings should be built in to the quote that you receive from your insurance broker. The City of Palm Springs does not supply flood insurance rates. Contact your local insurance agent for the most current rates for your specific property.

The U.S. Congress passed the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 which calls on FEMA and other public agencies to make a number of changes to the way the NFIP is run. Key provisions of the legislation will require the NFIP to raise rates to reflect true flood risk, make the program more financially stable, and change how FIRMs updates affect policy holders over time. Most flood insurance rates will now move to reflect full risk, and flood insurance rates will rise on some policies. Subsidized rates for non-primary/secondary residences are being phased out. Actions such as buying a property, refinancing, allowing a policy to lapse, or purchasing a new policy can trigger rate changes.

On March 21, 2014, President Obama signed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 into law. This law repeals and modifies certain provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which was enacted in 2012, and makes additional program changes to other aspects of the program not covered by that Act. Many provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act remain and are still being implemented.

While FEMA actively works to implement the new law, we encourage policyholders to maintain and keep current flood insurance policies. FEMA does NOT recommend cancelling a flood insurance policy. Cancelling flood insurance policies now will leave policyholders unprotected during spring flooding and may cause policyholders to lose important discounts on their rate if they reinstate in the future. For addition information on Flood Insurance Reform.

Important Note Regarding Flood Insurance: Don't wait for the next flood to buy insurance protection. There is a 30-day waiting period before National Flood Insurance Program coverage takes effect. Contact your insurance agent for more information on rates and coverage.

Public Information Links

Questions and Helpful Publications:

Si necesita nuestro folletos in Espanol, llame a Felipe Primera en 760.323.8253 X8742.

Objective: The objective of the CRS is to reward communities that are doing more than meeting the minimum NFIP requirements to help their citizens prevent or reduce flood losses. The CRS also provides an incentive for communities to initiate new flood protection activities. The goal of the CRS is to encourage, by the use of flood insurance premium adjustments, community and State activities beyond those required by the National Flood Insurance Program to:

  • Reduce flood losses, e.g.
  • Protect public health and safety
  • Reduce damage to buildings and contents
  • Prevent increases in flood damage from new construction
  • Reduce the risk of erosion damage
  • Protect natural and beneficial floodplain functions
  • Facilitate accurate insurance rating
  • Promote the awareness of flood insurance.

Purpose and Scope: When your community participates in the CRS, everyone benefits, including those who don't live or own property in a floodplain. Even when there is no flooding, your community's public information and floodplain management efforts can improve the quality of life, protect the environment, make people safer, and save everyone money. 

Additional information regarding the Community Rating System can be found on the FEMA website.


FLOOD HAZARD: CHECK BEFORE YOU BUY

Flooding and other surface drainage problems can occur well away from a river, lake, or ocean. The City of Palm Springs is especially prone to flooding due to its proximity to the adjacent mountains, with significant storm water runoff generally experienced from time to time in the Whitewater River, Tahquitz Creek, Palm Canyon Wash, Snow Creek Canyon Wash/San Gorgonio River, Chino Canyon Wash, and Mission Creek. However, many other areas within the City of Palm Springs beyond these natural drainage courses experience flooding. Maps of flood hazard areas are available for review at the Department of Public Works and Engineering at Palm Springs City Hall, located at 3200 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way. Although much of the City is protected by a variety of flood control improvements, including concrete levees, storm drains, and detention basins, there are areas of the City where properties are located in special flood hazard areas and risk flooding as a result of severe storms. If you're looking at purchasing a property, it is important to determine if the property is located within a special flood hazard area before you buy. Here's why: 

  • The force of moving water or waves can destroy a building.
  • Slow-moving floodwaters can knock people off their feet or float a car.
  • Even standing water can float a building, collapse basement walls, or buckle a concrete floor. 
  • Water-soaked contents, such as carpeting, clothing, upholstered furniture, and mattresses, may have to be thrown away after a flood. 
  • Floodwaters are not clean: floods carry mud, farm chemicals, road oil, and other noxious substances that cause health hazards. 
  • The impact of a flood: clean up, making repairs and the personal losses -can cause great stress to you, your family, and your finances.

Floodplain Regulations: The City of Palm Springs regulates construction and development in special flood hazard areas to ensure that buildings will be protected from flood damage. Elevating flood hazard areas with earth (filling) and similar projects are prohibited in certain areas, specifically within designated floodways. Houses substantially damaged by fire, flood, or any other cause must be elevated to or above the flood level when they are repaired. Specific flood damage prevention regulations may be obtained from the City of Palm Springs Department of Public Works and Engineering.

Check for the Flood Hazard: Before you commit yourself to buying property in the City of Palm Springs, you should do the following:

  • Ask the City of Palm Springs Public Works and Engineering Department if the property is in a floodplain; if it has ever been flooded; what the flood depth, velocity, and warning time are; if it is subject to any other hazards; and what building or zoning regulations are in effect. They will fill out a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) Information form with the flood zone information for your property.
  • Ask the real estate agent if the property is in a floodplain, if it has ever been flooded, and if it is subject to any other hazards, such as sewer backup or subsidence.
  • Ask the seller and the neighbors if the property is in a floodplain, how long they have lived there, if the property has ever been flooded, and if it is subject to any other hazards.

FLOOD PROTECTION:

A property or business can be protected from most flood hazards, sometimes at a relatively low cost. New buildings and additions can be elevated above flood levels. Existing buildings can be protected from shallow floodwaters by regrading, berms, or floodwalls, There are other retrofitting techniques that can protect a building from surface or subsurface water available on the FEMA Website or you can print out the flyers below.

ABOUT THE MANDATORY FLOOD INSURANCE REQUIREMENT:

NFIP: The City of Palm Springs participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which makes federally backed flood insurance available for all eligible buildings, whether they are in a floodplain or not. Flood insurance covers direct losses caused by surface flooding, including a river flowing over its banks, a lake or ocean storm, and local drainage problems. The NFIP insures buildings, including mobile homes, with two types of coverage: building and contents. Building coverage is for the walls, floors, insulation, furnace, and other items permanently attached to the structure. Contents coverage may be purchased separately, if the contents are in an insurable building.

Mandatory Purchasing Requirement: The Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 made the purchase of flood insurance mandatory for federally backed mortgages on buildings located in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA's). lt also affects all forms of Federal or Federally related financial assistance for buildings located in SFHA's. The SFHA is the base (100-year) floodplain mapped on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). lt is shown as one or more zones that begin with the letter "A" or "V".  The rule applies to secured mortgage loans from such financial institutions as commercial lenders, savings and loan associations, savings banks, and credit unions that are regulated, supervised, or insured by Federal agencies such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of Thrift Supervision. It also applies to all mortgage loans purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac in the secondary mortgage market.
Federal financial assistance programs affected by the laws include loans and grants from agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, Farmers Home Administration, Federal Housing Administration, Small Business Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

How it Works: Lenders are required to complete a Standard Flood Hazard Determination (SFHD) form whenever they make, increase, extend, or renew a mortgage, home equity, home improvement, commercial, or farm credit loan to determine if the building or manufactured (mobile) home is in a SFHA. It is the Federal agency's or the lender's responsibility to check the current Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) to determine if the building is in a SFHA. Copies of the FIRM are available for review in most local government building or planning departments. Lenders may also have copies or they use a flood zone determination company to provide the SFHD form. lf the building is in a SFHA, the Federal agency or lender is required by law to require the recipient to purchase a flood insurance policy on the building. Federal regulations require building coverage equal to the amount of the loan (excluding appraised value of the land) or the maximum amount of insurance available from the NFIP, whichever is less. The maximum amount available for a single-family residence is $250,000. Government sponsored enterprises, such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, have stricter requirements. The mandatory purchase requirement does not affect loans or financial assistance for items that are not covered by a flood insurance policy, such as vehicles, business expenses, landscaping, and vacant lots. It does not affect loans for buildings that are not in a SFHA, even though a portion of the property may be. While not mandated by law, a lender may require a flood insurance policy, as a condition of a loan, for a property in any zone on a FIRM. lf you believe that a SFHD form incorrectly places the property in a SFHA, you may request a letter of Determination Review from FEMA. This must be submitted within 45 days of the determination. More information can be found at FEMA'S Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form and Instructions web site.

ELEVATION CERTIFICATE

The Elevation Certificate is an important administrative tool of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It is to be used to provide elevation information necessary to ensure compliance with community floodplain management ordinances, to determine the proper insurance premium rate, and to support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Revision based on fill (LOMR-F).

The Elevation Certificate is required in order to properly rate post-FIRM buildings, which are buildings constructed after publication of the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), located in flood insurance Zones A1-A30, AE, AH, A (with BFE), VE, V1-V30, V (with BFE), AR, AR/A, AR/AE, AR/A1-A30, AR/AH, and AR/AO. The Elevation Certificate is not required for pre-FIRM buildings unless the building is being rated under the optional post-FIRM flood insurance rules. The form can be found on the FEMA Elevation Certificate site.

As part of the agreement for making flood insurance available in a community, the NFIP requires the community to adopt a floodplain management ordinance that specifies minimum requirements for reducing flood losses. One such requirement is for the community to obtain the elevation of the lowest floor (including basement) of all new and substantially improved buildings, and maintain a record of such information. The Elevation Certificate provides a way for a community to document compliance with the community’s floodplain management ordinance. Use of this certificate does not provide a waiver of the flood insurance purchase requirement.

This certificate is used only to certify building elevations. A separate certificate is required for floodproofing. Under the NFIP, non-residential buildings can be floodproofed up to or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). A floodproofed building is a building that has been designed and constructed to be watertight (substantially impermeable to floodwaters) below the BFE. For both floodproofed non-residential buildings and residential floodproofed basements in communities that have been granted an exception by FEMA, a floodproofing certificate is required.

FLOOD INSURANCE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Are there times when you are required to purchase Flood insurance?
If you buy a house in a designated high-risk area and receive a mortgage loan from a federally regulated lender, your lender must require that you buy flood insurance. If a high-risk area is determined after you buy a house and you receive a mortgage loan from a federally regulated lender, you lender must require that you buy flood insurance. If refinancing or borrowing money to build, repair, reconstruct, or improve a structure in a flood hazard area, your lender must require that you buy flood insurance.

Isn't flood damage covered by homeowners policies?
No. But, you can protect your home, business, and belongings with flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program. You can insure your home with flood insurance for up to $250,000 for the building and $100,000 for the contents.

Is flood Insurance affordable?
The average premium for a yearly flood insurance policy is less than $570 a year. In comparison, a disaster home loan can cost you more than $300 per month for $50,000 over 20 years.

Is flood insurance easy to get?
You can buy NFIP flood insurance from private insurance companies and agents.

Can I buy flood insurance no matter what my flood risk is?
It doesn't matter whether your risk is high, medium, or low, you can buy flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. It's a good idea to buy even in low or moderate risk areas: almost 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from low-to-moderate risk areas

Can I purchase flood insurance at any time?
You can buy flood insurance immediately before or during a Flood. There is a 30-day waiting period after you've applied and paid your premium. There is a 1-day waiting period if the initial purchase of flood insurance is made during the 13-months following a revised flood mapping for a community. The policy does not cover a "loss in progress".

Can I buy flood insurance if my property has been flooded?
You are still eligible after your home, apartment, or business has been flooded.

Is there a low-cost policy for homes in low-to-moderate risk areas?
The Preferred Risk Policy is available for just over $100 per year. You can insure your home with flood insurance for up to $250,000 for your home and $60,000 for the contents.

Does it make a difference when my house was built?
Buildings that were constructed prior to the date of the community's first Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) pay an insurance premium based on chargeable rates that are subsidized by tax dollars. Buildings that were built or substantially improved after the issuance of a FIRM are charged actuarially sound insurance rates that fully reflect the building's risk of flooding

I rent. Can I purchase flood insurance to cover my belongings?
Up to $100,000 contents coverage is available for homeowners and renter. Whether you rent or own your home or business, make sure to ask your insurance agent about contents coverage. It is not automatically included with building coverage.

How much flood insurance coverage is available for non-residential buildings?
Up to a total of $1 million of flood insurance coverage is available for non-residential buildings and contents. Up to $500,000 of coverage is available for non-residential building. Up to $500,000 of coverage is available for the contents of non-residential buildings.

Is there a waiting period from the time you purchase insurance to coverage?
There is usually a 30-day waiting period before the coverage goes into effect.
Plan ahead so you're not caught without flood insurance when a flood threatens your home or business

Does NFIP offer coverage for the basement of my home?
The NFIP defines basement as any area of a building with a floor that is below ground level on all sides. Flood insurance covers structural elements, essential equipment, and other basic items normally located in a basement. Flood insurance does not cover finished walls, floors, or ceilings, or personal belongings kept in the basement.

Won't Federal Disaster Assistance would pay for coverage if I don't have insurance?
Federal disaster assistance is only available if the President declares a disaster. More than 90 percent of all disasters in the United States are not Presidentially declared. Flood insurance pays even if a disaster is not declared.

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