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Need some help navigating flood insurance in Sacramento?

This guide has all the information you need to make sure your home or business is safe from flooding.

Less than 25 percent of the city of Sacramento sits inside of a Special Flood Hazard Area ( SFHA ), but that doesn’t make it any safer when it comes to flooding. In fact, roughly 20 percent of all flood insurance claims in the United States come from areas that are not at high risk of flooding. So if you’re a property owner in Sacramento, California, what does that mean for you? Without a doubt, it’s always best to have flood insurance —even if you think you don’t need it—rather than not have it and face the incredible costs of flood damage without any recourse.

Looking to get your flood insurance search started right away? Check out Insurify, the best insurance plan-comparison tool on the internet. It’s free and easy to use and will get you all the information you need to protect your home or business from flooding.

Do I Need Flood Insurance in Sacramento?

The short answer is yes; you do need flood insurance in Sacramento. While you may not be legally required to have flood insurance, certain mortgage lenders may require you to enroll in flood insurance if you’re in a high-risk flood zone. Even if you own property in a low-risk or moderate-risk area, this doesn’t mean you’ll be totally safe from a flood. Given that one-fifth of all flood insurance claims come from places that have little flood risk, you should definitely invest in protecting your property.

Sacramento itself is protected from flooding by levees, but it’s always possible for those levees to collapse during intense storms. What’s more, your standard home insurance policy does not provide flood protection, so you’ll be best protected if you buy flood insurance.

Sacramento Flood Zones

Different parts of the Sacramento area have varying classifications that determine their level of flood risk. Fortunately, finding out what kind of flood zone you live in is pretty straightforward, as you can visit and navigate to the Flood Map Service Center (MSC). Using the flood map, you can search your property’s address and verify how it is designated. Here’s a quick guide on how to properly determine whether you live in a high-risk flood area:

  • Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA): If you live in a zone labeled Zone A, Zone AO, Zone AH, Zones A1–A30, Zone AE, Zone A99, Zone AR, Zone V, Zone VE, Zones V1–V30, or a combination of these, then your property is in an SFHA or high-risk flood zone. This indicates that the given area is part of a 100-year floodplain and has a chance of equaling or exceeding the base flood elevation. SFHAs have a much higher risk of flooding at some point during a 30-year mortgage term.

  • Moderate Flood Hazard Areas: If your property appears in Zone B or in a shaded Zone X on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), then your property is in a moderate-risk area. These flood zones indicate that the given area is part of a 500-year floodplain, meaning that the area has a lower risk of flooding than an SFHA.

  • Low Flood Hazard Areas: If your area appears as Zone C or as an unshaded Zone X on a Flood Insurance Rate Map, then your property is in a low-risk area. These flood zones typically have a much higher elevation than others or have less of a chance of flooding than a Moderate Flood Hazard Area.

What’s Covered with Sacramento Flood Insurance?

While homeowners insurance does provide some coverage for water damage, it does not provide any coverage for water damage caused by flooding. Actual flood insurance coverage encompasses two things: building coverage and contents coverage. It’s important to note that, in some cases, you will have to purchase two separate policies to cover each aspect of coverage.

Building coverage protects the physical building that makes up your home or business. To be more specific, it protects the following:

  • Appliances, such as refrigerators, cooking stoves, dishwashers, furnaces, and water heaters

  • Walls, staircases, and anchorage systems

  • Electrical and plumbing systems

  • Central air conditioning

  • Permanent installations, such as carpeting and paneling

  • Solar energy equipment, fuel tanks, and well-water pumps

Contents coverage protects more items inside of your home or business. Contents coverage generally includes:

  • Portable/window air conditioners

  • Smaller appliances, such as microwave ovens, washers, and dryers

  • Personal property, such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment

  • Carpeting installed over wood flooring

  • Highly valuable objects, such as jewelry and fine art (though these will have specific coverage limits)

As with most types of insurance, flood insurance policies can offer different terms regarding what and how much they will cover. To get a crystal clear idea of what a plan covers, make sure you read up on the details of a given policy. By preparing yourself, you can be fully aware of what a given flood insurance plan can do for you.

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What’s Not Covered with Sacramento Flood Insurance?

Of course, there are several limitations tied to most standard flood insurance policies. One important point is that if your property experiences water damage, that water damage must be caused by a flood in order to qualify for coverage. According to the terms of insurance policies, the definition of a flood is “a natural inundation of water in a normally dry place, affecting at least two acres of land or two properties.” Any flooding that occurs outside of that definition will not be covered.

In addition, there are some other exceptions to consider. The following items are not covered by flood insurance:

  • Automobiles or other self-propelled vehicles (these will need to be covered by auto insurance)

  • Loss of income to business owners caused by the disruption of business operations

  • Features outside of the main building structure, such as fences, patios, swimming pools, or decks

  • Precious metals or papers, such as currency or stocks

  • Temporary living expenses incurred if your home is uninhabitable due to flooding (these will require another home insurance endorsement)

These examples are fairly standard when it comes to coverage exceptions, though policyholders should still read the fine print of their flood insurance plans to get a clear picture of whether a given plan will satisfy their insurance needs.

What’s the Cost of Flood Insurance in Sacramento?

While flood insurance isn’t necessarily cheap, it could very well be less expensive than homeowners insurance. At present, the average policyholder pays roughly $437 per year, or around $36.50 per month.

It would be best to take into account the different sources of flood insurance costs. Varying insurance companies and insurance agencies can bring an equally varied set of costs.

How to Get a Flood Insurance Policy in Sacramento

Generally speaking, there are three solid sources of flood insurance in Sacramento:

National Flood Insurance Program ( NFIP )

The National Flood Insurance Program is a program offered by the federal government meant to provide flood insurance to households and business owners across the United States. The program itself is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA ), which essentially regulates and underwrites policies offered by major insurance companies, such as Allstate and Farmers.

The standard flood insurance that NFIP offers is fairly straightforward in terms of cost and comprehensive in terms of coverage offered. What’s important to note is that Sacramento residents that live inside of SFHA zones will only be able to enroll in standard/regular flood insurance policies.

If you need some extra help navigating the costs, it might make sense to contact an insurance agent to walk you through the process and give you solid flood insurance quotes. One thing to consider is that you may be required to provide an elevation certificate so that your insurance agent can give you an accurate quote. You can also visit both and for more information.

Preferred Risk Policy ( PRP )

For those who are looking to get a policy with a lower cost, preferred risk policies might be the answer. If your property in the Sacramento area is not within an SFHA zone, you can enroll in a PRP. What’s particularly attractive about these plans is that they cost roughly half of what a standard policy might cost. Also, PRPs cover both the home and its contents.

Private Flood Insurance

While the NFIP is a solid source of flood insurance, there are numerous private flood insurance providers out there to choose from. These types of policies can provide a wider range of coverage that could tailor to your needs a bit more. One thing to remember is that costs from private sources can vary, so be sure to do your homework before committing to one of these plans.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Flood insurance plans typically have a 30-day waiting period before you can file claims. This means it’s much better to sign up for flood insurance as soon as you can. If you know a flood is on the horizon and try to get some coverage at the 11th hour, you’ll be liable for all repair and replacement costs your property sustains.

  • Renters insurance can be a great resource for individuals who are not property owners. When it comes to flood insurance, some renters insurance providers also offer flood insurance, which would cover your personal belongings against flood damage.

  • An elevation certificate is a document that details the elevation of your home in relation to the flood zones and base flood elevations set up by FEMA. You can acquire one by contacting your local floodplain manager to see if they have one on file for you. What’s more, you can use your elevation certificate to influence the cost of your flood insurance. If your elevation certificate shows that you’re in a low-risk area, you could see a lower flood insurance premium.

Flood Insurance in Sacramento Is Crucial

Whether you live in a low-risk area or an SFHA, it’s always better to enroll in flood insurance than not. As stated previously, a solid chunk of flooding affects areas that are outside of high-risk zones, meaning that it can affect virtually anyone and any property.

So do what you can to protect your home or business and sign up for flood insurance as soon as you can!

Ready to start your flood insurance search? Take advantage of Insurify. It’ll give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.

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Adrian Coto
Adrian CotoInsurance Writer

Originally from Los Angeles, California, Adrian Coto is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. A graduate of the NYU Creative Writing MFA program, he's worked as a legal assistant, a law school administrator, and now as a copywriter and editor.