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Flood Insurance

If you own a home and are required to have flood insurance, you might have wondered why homes were allowed to be built there in the first place? The answer is that the majority of homes located in the floodplain were constructed before the floodplains officially existed!  Arvada’s floodplains took effect in 1974 and most of the neighborhoods along the creeks; including Ralston Creek, were already built.

Just a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in property damage. Flood insurance is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from financial loss. Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This Federal program provides flood insurance to property owners in exchange for the careful management of flood-prone areas by local communities. Costs vary depending on how much insurance you buy, what it covers, and your property's flood risk. Of the approximately 1,500 structures in Arvada located in the 100-year floodplain, only about 540 have flood insurance. Regular homeowner’s insurance does not cover damage caused by floods.

Insurance Facts You Should Know:

  • Find out if your property is located in a floodplain by calling the Engineering Division at 720-898-7640. 
  • Due to the City’s participation in the Community Rating System (CRS), Arvada residents are eligible for a discount on insurance premiums.
  • Generally, there is a 30-day waiting period for your policy to take effect, with the following exceptions:  If you have an existing flood insurance policy and the coverage is increased; when flood insurance is required as a condition of a loan; and when an additional amount of flood insurance is required as a result of a flood map revision.
  • For more information on flooding and flood insurance, go to or contact your insurance agent.

The City has worked to reduce the threat and damage from flooding by maintaining and preserving the floodplains. Keeping floodplains open and natural helps reduce flood damage by allowing flood waters to spread over a large area. In some instances, construction in the floodplain cannot be avoided, and the City has a permitting process to address these situations. All types of construction on a property in a floodplain must have a Floodplain Development Permit, including minor residential improvements such as a deck or garage.

If you live in a floodplain and are interested in making improvements to your property, there is a special requirement by the National Flood Insurance Program. This requirement states that if the cost of reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvements equals or exceeds 50 percent of the building’s market value, then the building must meet the same construction requirements as a new building. This requirement could be met by elevating the building to the required level above the 100-year water surface elevation. For more information on this requirement, contact the Engineering Division at 720-898-7640.