​Homeowner insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. However, because the City of Salem participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, federally-backed flood insurance is available for all structures, whether or not they are located within the floodplain. This insurance can be purchased through most insurance agents. To begin coverage, your insurance agent may ask for an elevation certificate, which compares a building's elevation to flood height levels in high-risk flood areas.

More than 25 percent of National Flood Insurance Program claims are filed by owners of properties located outside the 100-year floodplain. The National Flood Insurance Program imposes a 30-day waiting period before coverage takes effect, so plan to purchase insurance before the onset of the rainy season.

Flood insurance requirements

Under federal law, the purchase of flood insurance is mandatory for all federal or federally related financial assistance for the acquisition and/or construction of buildings in high-risk flood areas (Special Flood Hazard Areas). This requirement stipulates that the structural coverage purchased must be equal to the amount of the loan or other financial assistance, or for the maximum amount available, which is currently $250,000 for a single-family residence.

If the property is not in a high-risk area, but instead in a moderate- to low-risk area, federal law does not require flood insurance; however, a lender can still require it. It is recommended since historically about one-in-four flood claims come from these moderate- to low-risk areas. Note that if during the life of the loan the maps are revised and the property is now in the high-risk area, your lender will notify you that you must purchase flood insurance. It is the lender's responsibility to check the Flood Insurance Rate Map to determine whether a structure is within the Special Flood Hazard Area.

Flood insurance rates and coverage

Flood insurance rates are calculated on a variety of factors, including flood hazard, elevation, and building construction. Rates can vary drastically, so it is best to contact a licensed insurance agent to determine the premium for your specific property. FloodSmart provides samples of policy premiums and contacts for local insurance agents.

The National Flood Insurance Program insures homes and buildings with two types of coverage: structural and contents. Structural coverage includes walls, floors, insulation, furnaces, and other items permanently attached to the structure, typically excluding basements. Contents coverage may be purchased separately to cover the contents of an insured building. More information about flood insurance and a complete list of structural and contents coverage can be found in The National Flood Insurance Program’s Summary of Coverage brochure.

There are ways to reduce your flood insurance premiums even if your home or building is in the floodplain. In fact, your building may have been constructed in a way that increases the cost of your annual premiums. FloodSmart provides information about the most common causes of high flood insurance rates and options that could help you pay less for flood insurance. 

Community Rating System

The National Flood Insurance Program Comunity Rating System ( CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum National Flood Insurance Program requirements. The CRS program recognizes a community’s efforts to reduce flood risk, facilitate accurate insurance ratings, and promote the awareness of flood insurance.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FEMA has awarded the City of Salem a class five rating, allowing Salem residents to receive a 25 percent discount on flood insurance premiums. Participation in the CRS program acknowledges Salem’s efforts that help save lives and reduce property damage in the event of a flood.

The City of Salem continues to make improvement in our CRS program and strives to improve our rating within any given year.

Community Rating System credits are awarded for a community’s efforts in 19 activities, organized under four categories:

  • Public Information
  • Mapping and regulations
  • Flood damage reduction
  • Warning and Response

A few examples of Salem’s involvement in credited activities include:

For more information about the CRS program, visit FloodSmart.

Hand holding a pen over insurance papers.

In 2017, Salem became one of the highest ranked City in Oregon for floodplain management securing residents a 25 percent discount on flood insurance premiums.

Contact us

Public Works Department
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 325
Salem OR 97301
Phone Number
Tree Trimming or Removal PermitCity Planners can provide information about protection of vegetation and trees along waterways and tree removal.
Emergency and Disaster PreparednessFor assistance in an emergency, call 911. Contact us to learn more about preparing for a disaster or for information on the City's emergency management program.
Salem Public Library WebsiteThe library collection contains floodplain publications and other floodplain-related information.
Call dispatch if you discover problems with a street or your water / sewer service (i.e. broken pipe, pothole, environmental spill, clogged street drain).
Contact Development Services to speak with a Floodplain Manager or if you have questions about the interactive floodplain map.
Mid Willamette Valley High Water WatchView current stream levels and rainfall data in near real-time from a number of sites across the City.
Floodsmart WebsiteThe Floodsmart website provides information about the National Flood Insurance Program, answers questions about flood insurance, and provides assistance to find local insurance agents that offer flood insurance.
Oregon Department of State Lands WebsiteDSL reviews and issues removal/fill permits for development activities in waterways and wetlands.
USACE Flood Risk Management WebsiteTo find out more information about the USACE Flood Risk Management Program.