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Flood Insurance

If you own a home or business in unincorporated Clackamas County, you may need flood insurance.

Flood devastion

If you're a Clackamas County resident or property owner, you have the option to buy flood insurance whether or not you live in a floodplain.  For more information, call the Planning Division at 503-742-4500.

Here's Why . . .

  • Homeowner and business insurance do NOT cover flood damage.  Separate flood insurance must be purchased to cover flood damage and loss. 
  • Just a few inches of flood water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage not covered by homeowners insurance.  Over the past 10 years, the average flood claim has been nearly $48,000.
  • You're not just at risk of a flood if you live near a river; floods can also occur because of clogged drains, surface water back-ups and flash-floods.
  • You don't have to be in a floodplain to buy flood insurance.  Because Clackamas County is in the National Flood Insurance Program, all residents and business owners in unincorporated areas are eligible to buy flood insurance.
  • Flood insurance is the most economical protecttion from devastating financial loss from a flood.  Just consider -- federal disaster assistance usually comes in the form of a loan that must be paid back with interest. A $50,000 loan at 4% interest would cost $240/month ($2,880/year) for 30 years -- a total of $86,400.  Or, you could purchase a $100,000 flood insurance premium for about $33/month ($400/year) – totaling a much more affordable $12,000 over the same 30 years.

Protect Yourself and Your Property

What is covered by flood insurance? 
Flood insurance covers buildings and their contents when inundated or undermined by floodwaters.  Flood insurance may also provide financial help to upgrade buildings to current floodplain construction standards. 

Building coverage includes:

  • The insured building and its foundation
  • Electrical and plumbing systems
  • Central air conditioning, furnaces, water heaters
  • Refrigerators, stoves and built-in appliances
  • Permanent carpeting over unfinished flooring

Contents coverage includes:

  • Clothing, furniture, curtains, electronic equipment
  • Portable and window air conditioners
  • Portable microwaves and dishwashers
  • Carpeting not included in property coverage
  • Clothes washers and dryers

How much coverage can I get?

  • For homeowners, flood insurance covers damage up to $250,000 and, if you purchase content coverage, up to $100,000 for building contents.
  • For business owners, flood insurance covers damage up to $500,000 for the building and, if you buy content coverage, up to $500,000 for contents.

Where can I purchase flood insurance?  
Flood insurance is sold through private insurance companies and agents, and backed by the federal government; you can buy it through your insurance agent.

When should I buy flood insurance?
Buy it now; before a flood appears imminent!  There is a 30-day waiting period for new coverage to become effective, so it's important not to wait until risk of a flood.  (The only exception to the 30-day wait is when flood insurance is required of a loan upon closing.)

I live in a condo–can I get flood insurance? Yes, there are three forms of flood insurance policies and flood insurance is also available to renters: 

  • Dwelling (homes; individual condominium units),
  • General Property (other residential buildings [apartments, etc.] and businesses) and
  • Residential Condominium Building Association

How much does flood insurance cost?
If you live in an area at moderate to low risk for floods and are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, your flood insurance premium may be as low as $129 a year, including coverage for your property's contents.

What is a Preferred Risk Policy?
This policy offers multiple coverage combinations for both buildings and contents (or contents only, for renters) in moderate-to-low risk areas. Policies are available for buildings that meet eligibility requirements based on the building's flood loss history.

  • Most homes outside high-risk areas qualify for Preferred Risk.
  • Preferred Risk offers the same quality coverage as a Standard Flood Insurance Policy. Up to $250,000 of building coverage and $100,000 of content coverage can cost just $365/year. Other coverage options start as low as $129 per year.

What is a floodplain?
A floodplain is an area of land subject to flooding that is next to a river, stream, lake, estuary or other body
of water.  Clackamas County has about 20,000 acres of land and 10,000 individual land parcels in floodplains.  Rivers and streams particularly prone to flood include the Clackamas, Molalla, Pudding, Salmon, Sandy, Tualatin, Willamette, Zig Zag, Johnson Creek, Abernethy Creek, Beavercreek, Milk Creek and Cedar Creek.  

How can I find out if I live in a floodplain? 
Contact the city in which you live, or call County Planning at 503.742.4500.

Can I buy flood insurance if I don't live in a floodplain? 
Yes, because Clackamas County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, federally-backed flood insurance is available for all structures in the county.  In fact, more than 25% of NFIP claims are filed by owners of property outside the 100-year floodplain.  And with rivers, like the Sandy, that flood outside of traditional floodplains, flood insurance is even more important.

Prepare for Possible Future Floods

  • Buy flood insurance if you're in a floodplain, and consider it even if you're not, especially if you're near the Sandy River. 
  • List all your personal property, including furnishings, clothing and valuables.  Take pictures or video of your home and contents, especially high value items; keep insurance policies, pictures or videos and lists of personal property in a safe place.
  • Put together a 72-hour disaster supply kit.  (For details, go to www.redcross.org or www.ready.gov.)
  • Consider ways to reduce long-term flooding risk, such aselevating or moving your home to higher ground, building floodwalls or berms, flood-proofing and protecting utilities. 
  • Plan how you would evacuate in the threat of a flood -- what to take with you, the safest evacuation route and where to go.

Help Prevent Floods

Don't dump or throw anything into ditches or streams
A plugged channel cannot carry water, and when it rains, the excess water must go somewhere.

Remove debris, trash, loose branches and vegetation
Keep banks clear of brush and debris to help maintain an unobstructed flow of water in stream channels. Do not, however, remove vegetation actively growing on a stream bank, which is regulated by local, state and federal agencies.

Obtain a floodplain development permit and/or building permit, if required
To minimize damage to structures during floods, the County requires all new construction in the floodplain to be anchored against movement by floodwaters, resistant to flood forces, constructed with flood-resistant materials and flood-proofed or elevated so the first floor of living space, as well as all mechanical and services, is at least one foot above the elevation of the 100-year flood.  These standards apply to new structures and to substantial improvements of existing structures. Most other types of development within the floodplain also require a floodplain development permit, such as grading, cut and fill, and bank stabilization techniques.

For More Information

DID YOU KNOW . . . Depending where you are in Clackamas County, you receive an average of 43 to 88+ inches of rain every year.

Automatic 20% Discount for Residents of Unincorporated Clackamas County

In recognition of its floodplain management practices, Clackamas County is a member of the National Flood Insurance Program's Community Rating System with a Class 6 rating.  Because of this, residents of unincorporated Clackamas County receive a 20% discount on flood insurance premiums. For more information, contact your insurance company or lender.

Clackamas County is a member of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). 
As a NFIP member, the County must oversee the floodplain based on standards set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  In turn, property owners must buy flood insurance for all residences in the floodplain.  Most lending institutions also require flood insurance for structures in the floodplain.

INCREASED COST OF COMPLIANCE (ICC) COVERAGE
ICC coverage is part of most standard flood insurance policies.  Claims for ICC benefits are filed separately from a claim for contents of building loss.  Eligible property owners can collect up to $30,000 to help cover the cost of bringing their home or business into compliance with floodplain ordinances.  ICC benefits can also be used to help pay for required improvements to buildings that have been repeatedly or severely damaged by flooding.

March 2012

Clackamas County Planning & Zoning
150 Beavercreek Rd., Oregon City, OR  97045
503-742-4500

Clackamas County Emergency Management
2200 Kaen Rd., Suite A, Oregon City, OR 97045
503-655-8378