Homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage from floods, so flood insurance must be purchased to cover this eventuality. Novato participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), administered by The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Novato’s participation makes available federally backed and reasonably priced insurance available to its citizens. All properties in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) are required to purchase flood insurance. Since 25% of flood damage occurs in properties not in a high-risk zone, it may also be a good idea to purchase flood insurance even if you are not in a SFHA.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers federally backed flood insurance in communities that comply with the minimum standards for floodplain management. The NFIP imposes a 30-day waiting period after the purchase of flood insurance, so it is important to purchase flood insurance before the beginning of the rainy season to protect your home in the event of a flood. NFIP policies can also help provide funding to assist bringing structures into current building standards to reduce the risk of flood damage.
Novato’s participation in the NFIP mandates that the City manage its floodplain in ways that meet or exceed standards set by FEMA. When communities go beyond the minimum standards for floodplain management, the NFIP's Community Rating System (CRS) provides discounts off flood insurance premiums for policyholders in that community. Novato is currently rated a CRS Class 6 Community, giving policyholders in a SFHA a 20% discount on their premiums, and those not in a SFHA a 10% discount.
Repetitive Loss Properties
Repetitive loss properties are those properties for which two or more claims of more than $1000 have been paid by the NFIP within any 10-year period since 1978. Nationwide these properties account for nearly one-third of all insurance claim payments; however they represent only 1% of all the NFIP’s insurance policies. For the period ending in 2009, Novato had 37 repetitive loss properties, and they are concentrated in three geographic areas. The City has developed a Repetitive Loss Plan which is periodically updated and requires an annual Repetitive Loss Progress Report. Each year, the City mails a special Notice to Residents in Repetitive Loss Areas.
The city also maintains a library of Elevation Certificates, which are available both online and at the City of Novato Public Works Department. Elevation Certificates establish the elevation of a structure’s lowest level with respect to the base flood elevation in the area. Elevation Certificates are required for all new construction and substantial improvements in the Special Flood Hazard Area. The Elevation Certificate is an important tool used for floodplain management purposes. It is used to ensure compliance with the floodplain ordinance, to determine proper flood insurance premium rates, and to support a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Revision based on fill (LOMR-F). more information can be found at http://www.fema.gov/pdf/nfip/elvcert.pdf.