Downtown Portland, Oregon

Oregon Flood Insurance Cost & Other FAQ


Your decision to carry Oregon flood insurance involves the consideration of many factors. Below are answers to questions that most people ask about carrying flood insurance for their Oregon homes.

A flood is defined as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) from:

Overflow of inland or tidal waters;

Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source;

Mud flow

Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood.

A mud flow is a flooding condition where a river of liquid and flowing mud moves on the surface of normally dry land areas. A mud flow will visually resemble a milkshake.

A mudslide is a condition in which a dry or wet mass of earth or rock moves downhill. A mudslide resembles pudding. A mudflow would be covered by flood insurance and mudslides are not. Think of mud flows as surface water and mudslides as beneath the surface.

The word ‘tsunami’ is the Asian word for tidal wave, which by definition is a great sea wave produced by a submarine earthquake, volcanic eruption, or landslide. A tsunami would be a covered peril under a flood insurance policy; coverage for a tsunami is covered by flood insurance.

General information on tsunami’s in Oregon can be found at the Oregon Emergency website.
The answer is yes although per the definition of flood at least two adjacent properties in the area (or two acres) need to be flooded.
Homeowners’ insurance does not cover damage from flood. Federal flood insurance is the only guarantee of protection for your home.
To determine if your Oregon community is eligible and participates in the National Flood Insurance Program click here.
You can purchase flood insurance anytime as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. However, there is a 30-day waiting period after you have applied and paid the premium before the policy is in effect. The only exception is when a policy is requested in connection with a loan. The policy will not, however, cover a loss in progress.
Federal disaster assistance is only available if the President declares a disaster. Flood insurance is a guarantee for you as it will pay even if a disaster is not declared. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster aid is only available during presidential declared disasters. Federal aid is often in the form of a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) that you must pay back with interest. Flood insurance policies pay claims whether or not a disaster is declared.

Flood insurance pays all covered claims even if a federal disaster is not declared.

Flood zones are land areas identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Each flood zone describes that land area in terms of its risk of flooding. Everyone lives in a flood zone – it’s just a question of whether you live in a low, moderate or high risk area.
Flood insurance covers your home’s foundation elements and equipment that’s necessary to support the structure (for example a furnace, water heaters, circuit breakers). It’s important to note that some items in your basement are covered under building coverage (like a furnace, hot water heater and circuit breaker), and others are covered under contents coverage (for example, your washer and dryer, or your freezer and the food in it).

The National Flood Insurance Program encourages people to purchase coverage for both building and contents for the most complete protection.

Flood insurance does not cover basement improvements, such as finished walls, floors, ceilings, or personal belongings that may be kept in a basement. To view the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) Form for a complete list of what’s covered click here.

Flood insurance is determined by the following factors:

Flood zone determination

Amount of coverage requested

The location of the structure

The age and design of the structure

The building’s occupancy

The structures elevation if located in a Special Flood Hazard Area

Just because a flood has not happened yet it doesn’t mean that flooding won’t happen in your city or town. Flooding can be caused by heavy rains, melting snow, inadequate drainage systems, failed protective devices such as levees and dams, as well as tropical storms and hurricanes.
Replacement cost coverage applies only if the building is the principal residence of the insured and the building coverage that has been chosen is at least 80% of the replacement cost of the building at the time of the loss.
It takes 30 days for the flood insurance policy to become effective.
The policy term for flood insurance is one year.
The National Flood Insurance Program defines a basement as any area of a building with a floor that is below ground level on all sides. Basement coverage under a National Flood Insurance Policy includes clean-up expenses and repair or replacement of items used to service homes and buildings. These can include: elevators, furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, utility connections, circuit breaker boxes, pumps and tanks used in solar energy systems.

Coverage Exclusion
Flood insurance will not cover the contents of a finished basement and basement improvements such as finished walls, floors and ceilings.
The maximum coverage on a standard flood policy is as follows;

Single Family Home Structure $250,000

Single Family Home Contents $100,000

Business Structure $500,000

Business Contents $500,000

Renter Contents $100,000

If you have a federally backed mortgage on a home located in a high-risk zone, federal law requires you to purchase flood insurance to secure a loan. Once a loan is closed and paid off, carrying flood insurance is at the discretion of you.
When your insured home is in eminent danger of being flooded, you may receive up to a $1,000 reimbursement for your damage-preventing expenses. Things like renting storage space to protect your belongings, buying sandbags and lumber to make a barricade, and renting pumps are all things that qualify for reimbursement. No deductible is applied to this coverage.
Elevation certificates determine the elevation of specific structures with regard to base flood elevations determined by FEMA. These certificates are required to rate certain flood insurance policies, based on their construction date.

In most cases elevation certificates are prepared by licensed surveyors and engineers. Property owners are able to complete their own elevation certificate for most properties located in a zone A and zone A0 only. Click here for a Flood Elevation Certificate.

Contact our office at 503-296-0077 for assistance in filing a flood insurance claim.

As an insurance broker I help individuals throughout Oregon and the Pacific Northwest manage risk.