The severity of California's recent rains has prompted the federal government to extend the 30-day grace period for renewing some flood insurance policies.
The extension affects all private insurance companies and gives some Orange County residents an additional 30 days to renew policies.
The extension only applies to flood insurance policies with grace periods that end Jan. 3 through Feb. 2. The renewal deadlines of all other policies are not changed.
"Flood insurance issued by private insurance companies is governed by the Federal Insurance Administration," said Phil Cogan, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "We determine the regulations and the rules."
The flood-insurance extension applies to residents of all 38 California counties that were named in President Clinton's Jan. 10 disaster declaration.
The Federal Insurance Administration, a division of FEMA, estimates there are 2.8 million flood insurance policies in force nationwide.
In return for regulatory authority, the federal government provides guarantees to private insurers against losses not covered by premiums.