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Community Rating System

What is the Community Rating System?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Community Rating System (CRS) encourages communities to practice good floodplain management. It rewards communities that go above and beyond National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) minimum requirements. 

CRS communities receive a rating from 1 to 10, with 1 as the highest rating and 10 as the lowest. Communities with a high rating receive discounts on flood insurance premium rates.  

The CRS Program has three goals: 

  1. Reduce and avoid flood damage to insurable property. 
  2. Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP. 
  3. Encourage comprehensive floodplain management. 

What is King County’s CRS rating?

King County has a Class 2 CRS rating.  

A Class 2 rating provides a 40 percent discount on flood insurance premiums for all insurable properties located within unincorporated King County 

King County was the first county in the nation to achieve this rating in 2007 and remains one of only three counties in the region with a Class 2 rating. In 2022, flood insurance policyholders in unincorporated King County saved $806,292, an average of $523 per annual policy. 

Date Class  % Discount
October 1, 1991 9 5
October 1, 1993 8 10
October 1, 1996 6 20
October 1, 2001 4 30
October 1, 2005 3 35
October 1, 2007 2 40

What incorporated cities in King County participate in the CRS (as of October 2021)?

Community name Class % Discount
Auburn 5 25
Bellevue 5 25
Issaquah 5 25
Kent 5 25
North Bend 5 25
Redmond 5 25
Renton 5 25
Snoqualmie 5 25

How did King County earn a Class 2 rating?

Participating communities receive points for their local floodplain management activities. Floodplain management activities fall into four categories:

  • Public information
  • Mapping and regulations
  • Flood damage reduction
  • Flood warning and response

Public information credits

King County receives credit for its wide range of public information services:

  • Maintaining information on FEMA elevation certificates and making them available to the public;
  • Maintaining and providing information on floodplain maps;
  • Providing information on flood insurance purchase requirements;
  • Conducting outreach to floodplain property owners through the mailing of a flood warning brochure and through a public outreach strategy developed with incorporated cities;
  • Disclosing flood hazards through notices on title, permanent signage, floodplains delineated on plat maps and real estate transactions;
  • Making floodplain information available online and at public libraries; and
  • Providing flood protection assistance to property owners through walk-in inquiries at the Department of Local Services - Permits and outreach bulletins.

Mapping and regulation credits

King County has completed floodplain mapping studies on hundreds of miles of river and coastal shorelines. Flood hazard mapping activities contribute to King County’s overall CRS credit. King County also maps channel migration hazard areas

King County has preserved several thousand acres of open space within the regulatory floodplain and receives additional credit for maintaining those properties in a natural state (i.e., no development) to provide beneficial floodplain functions.

King County has adopted several regulations that exceed the minimum NFIP standards, including, but not limited to:

  • A three-foot freeboard (height above the base flood elevation) standard for most structures and three-foot standard for critical facilities;
  • Requirement to provide compensatory storage at the same elevation for fill placed in the floodplain;
  • A zero-rise standard throughout the zero-rise floodway to preserve flood conveyance;
  • Restriction on development in areas where depths exceed three feet and velocity exceeds three feet per second;
  • Requirement for new lots to have at least 5,000 square feet outside the zero-rise floodway;
  • Restriction on non-residential structures in the FEMA floodway, with some exceptions for agricultural buildings;
  • Standards for manufactured home parks located in the floodplain;
  • Requirement to remove temporary structures and hazardous materials from the floodplain during the flood season;
  • Restriction on critical facilities in the zero-rise floodway and FEMA floodway, with some exceptions;
  • Density restrictions in portions of the floodplain under land use and critical areas protection measures; and
  • Regulating development within channel migration

King County also receives credit for maintaining surveyed benchmarks, geographical information systems flood data layers and copies of all flood insurance rate maps issued for the community. View an interactive map with flood and channel migration areas (requires a popup window).

King County’s Surface Water Design Manual earns the county CRS credits for water quality and quantity standards.

Flood damage reduction credits

King County conducts a wide range of outreach projects each year to mitigate FEMA repetitive loss properties within unincorporated King County.

Since forming in 2007, the King County Flood Control District has provided funding and technical support for the following flood risk reduction accomplishments (as of Oct. 2013):

  • 70 construction projects completed to reduce flood risks in King County;
  • 50 homes (as of 1993) and three agricultural structures elevated above 100-year flood levels (King County Home Elevation Program and Buyout Program); and
  • 101 properties and 287 acres in the floodplain acquired to move people out of harm’s way and reduce repetitive loss.

Credit is also provided for King County’s drainage system annual inspection and maintenance program, along with a capital improvement program to repair problems areas. 

Flood warning and response credits

King County receives credit for its Flood Warning System operations and the National Weather Service's StormReady designation. In addition, King County received credit for the Washington State Dam Safety program for dam operations on several of the major rivers in King County.

A robust flood warning communications program provides advance warning to nearly 8,000 subscribers (as of October 2022) to the automated King County Flood Alert. 

CRS plans and reports

The 2020 King County Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan Update was prepared and adopted under the CRS 10-step planning process. Paper copies of the plan are also available at the King County Libraries.

King County’s CRS recertification evaluation reports can be found below:

A Repetitive Loss Area Analysis (RLAA) report has been prepared by King County to help minimize flood losses in repetitive loss neighborhoods. 

If you have questions about the report, please contact Laura Hendrix at 206-477-7568 or