National Flood Insurance Program and Flood Zone Information

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 Floodsmart.gov  FEMA Ready VC

How can I find out if my home or commercial building is really in a flood zone?

I wasn't in a flood zone before, now I have to buy flood insurance. What has changed?

Why are my Flood Insurance rates going up?

What is the City doing to help reduce Flood Insurance premiums?

What can I do to help reduce my Flood Insurance premiums?

My neighbors aren’t in the flood zone, why am I in the flood zone?

How can I get my property removed from a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)?

I have lived in Simi Valley for years and have never been flooded. Why do I need Flood Insurance?


How can I find out more information?

  • For detailed information regarding Floodplain Administration in Simi Valley, please click here.
  • Click here for flood insurance information for lending institutions and real estate/insurance agents.
  • Click here for historic storms and flooding.
  • Click here for estimated flood depths for the 100-year (1% annual chance) storm.
  • Click here for estimated flood depths for the 50-year storm.
  • Click here for estimated flood depths for the 25-year storm.
  • Click here for estimated flood depths for the 10-year storm.
  • FEMA's Map Service Center has more information about the FIRMs and LOMAs in Simi Valley.
  • The FEMA website is an excellent source of information about the National Flood Insurance Program and about Flood Hazard Mapping.
  • The Flood Info Community Rating System website has more information on Flood Insurance Discount Programs for Simi Valley and Ventura County
  • The National Flood Insurance Program website has more about flood insurance and flood protection.

You may also contact the Planning Division at (805) 583-6769, or the Public Works Department at (805) 583-6786, and ask to speak to someone about flood zones. The City has lots of information and is always happy to answer your questions.


How can I find out if my home or commercial building is really in a flood zone?

Everyone in Simi Valley lives in a flood zone. The fact that a flood hasn't occurred within recent memory does not mean that a flood hasn't happened in the past or that one will not happen in the future. However, some properties in Simi Valley are at low risk for flooding, while others are in areas that are found to be at higher risk for flooding. The Planning Division can help you determine if your structure is in a Special Flood Hazard Area or “100-year flood zone," which is an area at higher risk of flooding. Planning staff can quickly review and identify your property location on the Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) for Simi Valley provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and provide a general determination of the flood zone covering your property over the phone or at the counter.

If you want to go further, Planning staff will provide color copies of the DFIRM for your property location as part of a Flood Zone Determination letter. This letter provides an analysis of the DFIRM, plus custom aerial photography and County Assessor’s Maps to show what flood zone your structure is in according to FEMA. This step is recommended for individuals who want to obtain base flood elevation information for their property. You may request a Flood Zone Determination Letter at the Planning Division Public Counter using this form.


I wasn't in a flood zone before, now I have to buy flood insurance. What has changed?

FEMA has modernized the FIRMS from paper maps to digital imagery, and on January 20, 2010, FEMA issued new Digital FIRMS for the Simi Valley community. These new DFIRMS combine recent aerial imagery and digital flood zone boundaries in an effort to improve the accuracy of the FIRMs. In some cases, the switch from paper maps to digital maps resulted in shifts in the location of some of the boundaries. In other cases, the digital map does not have enough detail to clearly show that a home or business is outside the SFHA, and it is necessary for the property owner to demonstrate that flood insurance may not be required. If you want to find out whether your home is in the SFHA, please contact us at the numbers at the bottom of this page, or go online to the FEMA Map Service Center to view the DFIRM covering your location.


Why are my Flood Insurance rates going up?

In 2012, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act that will change the way the National Flood Insurance Program is run. In some cases, this will mean that properties that were previously insured with a subsidized rate will now see annual rate increases until the coverage rate reflects the flood risk of the property. The result is that, beginning in October of 2013, businesses and some residences will begin to see insurance rate increases, and, by 2014, almost all properties will have some rate increase.


What is the City doing to help reduce Flood Insurance premiums?

The City has joined FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS), which is a voluntary program that offers a way to get credit, based on a point system, for the floodplain management activities that are implemented by the City. The number of points earned will move the City up in classification, where each Class results in a greater flood insurance premium reduction for property owners. The City has participated in the CRS program since 2008, and the CRS classification is recertified by FEMA on an annual basis. By participating in the CRS, the City has already achieved premium reductions for residents and business property owners, while continuing to improve floodplain management for the community.


What can I do to help reduce my Flood Insurance premiums?

If you already have a residential flood insurance policy, or a commercial flood insurance policy, talk to your insurance agent about any options that are available to you. If you choose a higher deductible, your premium may be lower. You will likely need an Elevation Certificate to determine the correct insurance rate for your property. If your house or building was built before 1991, you may have to hire a surveyor or engineer to prepare the elevation certificate. The City does have limited records of Elevation Certificates prepared for building built before 1991. If your house or building was built after 1991, it is likely that the City has an Elevation Certificate, or other documentation from FEMA, on file.  You may contact the Public Works Department at (805) 583-6786 for more information on Elevation Certificates.


My neighbors aren’t in the flood zone, why am I in the flood zone?

The DFIRMs cannot reflect every variation in the physical geography of an area, and they cannot always provide enough detail to clearly show the unique characteristics of each property. Occasionally a property will be mapped as being in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), even though the building may be elevated above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) for the flood zone. However, there is a mechanism for resolving such a situation, as described in the next section.


How can I get my property removed from a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)?

A property owner can submit documents about the property and an Elevation Certificate in support of a request for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA), which can remove the property or structure from the SFHA. This process involves the property owner and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA does not charge a fee to the property owner to process a LOMA for an existing residential lot or structure. The City will assist the property owner with the documents about the property by preparing a letter of Flood Zone Determination, and providing information about the LOMA process.  For more information, you may contact the Planning Division at (805) 583-6769.


I have lived in Simi Valley for years and have never been flooded. Why do I need Flood Insurance?

It's important to note that flood history is only one element FEMA uses to determine flood risk. FEMA also takes into account the City’s rainfall and river flow data, general topography, average wind velocity, existing flood control measures, building development (existing and planned), and community maps. The flood hazard areas shown on the FIRM maps are based on the best available technical data at the time the maps were prepared. If your property is in a SFHA, federal law mandates your mortgage lender to require you to carry flood insurance. Even if your property is not in the SFHA, if you are near a flood control structure, you may benefit from flood insurance. A low risk insurance policy is only a few hundred dollars a year, and may help save thousands of dollars if you are affected by a flood. 

You may also contact Cynthia Sabatini, Associate Planner, of the Planning Division at (805) 583-6776, or the Public Works Department at (805) 583-6786, and ask to speak to someone about flood zones. The City has lots of information and  is always happy to answer your questions.

  

 

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