TLTR: This article discusses what flood insurance is and why it’s a good idea to have it. It explains what the policy covers, factors that affect flood insurance cost, and how you can find the best quotes.
Floods top the list of the most common natural hazards in America. They can be catastrophic not just for individuals but for the economy as a whole. According to Statista, damage from floods and flash floods amounted to $3.75 million in 2019. The devastating risks that floods pose should not be ignored.
Particularly if you live in an at-risk area and want to keep your property and possessions safe from flood-related damages, having flood insurance should be a priority.
What is Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance is a type of property insurance that provides financial coverage to a property for losses sustained due to water damage from floods, heavy rainfall, spring thaws, storms, melting snow, and other natural phenomena.
It also covers instances that aren’t directly caused by natural phenomena, such as water damage due to blocked or failed drainage systems.
Homeowners insurance mostly covers internal water damage resulting from burst pipes and weather events such as prolonged rainfall and storms. However, it doesn’t cover damage to property resulting from floods. Flood insurance is also different from the hazard insurance that comes as part of standard homeowners insurance.
Is It Mandatory to Have Flood Insurance?
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), even an inch of floodwater can cause up to $25,000 of property damage. So, whether or not you live in a town or city that has a high-risk of flooding, you should consider purchasing flood insurance. But you may be mandated to have the policy in place if you’re a property owner who lives or has property in a location that is prone to floods.
Flood insurance is available to both homeowners and renters. If you fall into either category, you should consider getting it for the protection and peace of mind it can bring you. If you have a mortgaged home and live in a low-risk flood area, flood insurance is generally optional. Depending on the type of loan, it might also be optional for a mortgaged home in a high-risk flood area.
But flood insurance is mandatory if you’re taking a mortgage out from a lender that is federally regulated, such as an FHA mortgage. The homeowner will have to pay for flood insurance annually until the mortgage is paid in full.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
Flood insurance works just like any other insurance. It covers the damage and loss of property that occurs due to floods.
Flood insurance covers a property for damage in the following ways:
- Structure and foundation
- Electrical system
- Plumbing system
- Air-conditioning systems, water heaters, and furnaces
- Kitchen items like refrigerators, oven, stoves, and dishwashers
- Fixed carpeting and flooring
- Window blinds and shutters
- Debris removal
Besides the structural damage, the policy also covers damages to personal property such as:
- Personal electronics, clothing, and furniture
- Portable kitchen appliances such as small ovens and dishwashers
- Curtains and drapes
- Valuables such as jewelry and artwork (usually up to $2,500)
The basic policy that FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides is fixed and limited. So, if you possess a lot of valuable items and want maximum flood insurance coverage, you can inquire about additional endorsements. You can also opt to buy insurance from private flood insurance companies that offer higher limits.
How Much Will Flood Insurance Cover?
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the NFIP provides coverage of up to $250,000 for the structure of the home and up to $100,000 for personal belongings.
If you’re renting, you can buy coverage of up to $100,000 for your personal belongings.
If you have a non-residential property, you can purchase coverage of up to $500,000 for the building and personal belongings.
The replacement cost coverage provided by the NFIP will provide the money necessary to renovate or rebuild your home to its pre-flood condition. But keep in mind that the calculations will be based on the current market value of your property and possessions. The reimbursement can be considerably lower than the amount you initially paid.
Flood insurance has a separate deductible amount for the structure and contents. Since you can choose the deductibles, the higher the deductible amount, the lower your premium will be. However, if you have a mortgage on the property, your lender might not let you increase your deductible beyond a certain limit.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost in 2023?
The average cost of flood insurance through the NFIP is $958 per year. But flood insurance estimates depend on many factors. So, the location of your property, its proximity to the nearest body of water, how prone it is to water and flood damage, and how much coverage you want to buy all influence the flood insurance price.
Property owners, insurance agents, and lenders can use the flood map provided by FEMA to assess and estimate the cost of the policy and the insurance requirements.
A thorough research by ValuePenguin shows that these are the top five most expensive states for commercial flood insurance per year:
- Vermont ($1,512)
- Connecticut ($1,471)
- Rhode Island ($1,418)
- Pennsylvania ($1,305)
- Massachusetts ($1,294)
On the flipside, the states with the cheapest flood insurance prices are as follows:
- Florida ($592)
- Maryland ($616)
- Texas ($618)
- North Dakota ($663)
- Hawaii ($678)
What Factors Affect Flood Insurance Cost?
The easiest and quickest means of determining the price of flood insurance is by getting quotes and then comparing them. But understanding the factors that companies use to determine commercial flood insurance cost can be helpful in lowering the rates. Besides how susceptible your property is to flood damage, there are a number of other factors that influence the rate of premiums.
Age And Make of the Structure
Flood insurance providers will pay close attention to the age of your home. Older structures generally lack proper internal water drainage systems and floor openings that efficiently drain water.
Type Of Coverage
As described above, flood insurance is divided into two basic types: building structure coverage and property/content coverage. Choosing to buy just the building structure coverage is cheaper than choosing a policy that includes both coverages. But you’ll very much regret doing so if flood damage or destroys your home and everything within it.
The Insurance Company
During its initial years, the NFIP was the only institute that offered flood insurance. While the policies were sold by private companies, the rates were universally standardized. However, private insurance companies have now started underwriting and selling their own flood insurance policies that are sometimes more affordable and even have better coverage. One of the company for flood insurance is Universal North America Insurance company.
Type Of Policy
Based on your location, you might qualify for an NFIP’s Preferred Risk Policy (PRP). A PRP offers flood insurance at a lower cost to owners as well as tenants who live in low-risk flood areas. Unfortunately, people who live in high-risk areas only have the option of buying standard policies.
The more extensive the coverage you purchase, the higher your premium will be. This applies to both the building structure coverage and the content/ belonging coverage. Your deductible amount also affects the premium rates. So, the higher you set your deductible, the lower your premium will be.
How Can I Save Money on Flood Insurance?
Money saved is money earned! There are several ways to lower your flood insurance rates. Some of the top ways are:
Elevate your utilities
Raising electrical outlets, heating and cooling systems, water heaters, and other related utilities can significantly help reduce damage from floodwater.
Install proper flood water openings
If your house doesn’t have flood water openings, installing them can help lower your premium. If you live in a high-risk flood area, NFIP will require all new buildings to have flood openings.
Fill in your Basement
Although it might sound drastic, filling your basement in can help you save a lot of money on your flood insurance. Flood water can rush into your basement, destroying valuables, and turn the space into a pool.
New home buyers looking to purchase a house in flood plains should consider buying one that doesn’t have a basement.
How Do I Get Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance is provided by the federal government and select private insurance carriers. The former provides flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that is run by FEMA.
Even though the U.S government writes the policies, they’re generally sold and administered through the assistance of private insurance companies. So, your local insurance agent can help you save time and find a good flood insurance package that meets both your needs and your budget.
You can also purchase a stand-alone flood insurance policy from private companies if you need any additional coverage. Private flood insurance is an alternative to flood insurance offered by the NFIP. Some modern private flood insurance can provide better coverage compared to what NFIP provides. You may even end up with lower premiums.
Most flood policies take about a month to take effect. So, it’s advisable to purchase the coverage before the start of the storm season.
The Bottom Line
Make sure that you have adequate coverage to keep your property and your possessions financially protected in the event of a natural disaster. While homeowners insurance is a good start, it typically doesn’t cover damage from floods. Having this insurance policy in place can help financially reimburse you in such situations.
Finding the right flood insurance coverage can feel overwhelming. While you may find the perfect insurance yourself, it can come at the expense of your time and money. An insurance agent will assess your situation and help you find the perfect coverage that meets both your budget and your needs.
So, find a local insurance agent today and get a flood insurance quote for your coverage needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best companies that provide flood insurance?
Flood insurance can be a very personalized purchase. Your needs and preferences of the day will determine what you characterize as the “best company.” Investopedia shortlisted the best flood insurance companies based on various categories. The eight top companies were listed as follows according to their excellency in:
- Best Overall: GEICO
- Commercial Flood Insurance: The Flood Insurance Agency
- Online Option: Assurant
- Customer Service: FloodSimple Insurance Services
- Service for Veterans: USAA
- Comprehensive Coverage: Neptune
- Best Renters: MetLife
- Affordable Options: Better Flood Insurance
Does Flood Insurance Cover Sewage Backup?
No, flood insurance only covers flood damage from natural disasters. Your homeowners insurance might cover water and sewage backup. Ask your insurance provider if your homeowners policy covers sewage backup.
January 17th, 2024 · 7 mins read
- What is Flood Insurance?
- Is It Mandatory to Have Flood Insurance?
- What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
- How Much Will Flood Insurance Cover?
- How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost in 2023?
- What Factors Affect Flood Insurance Cost?
- How Can I Save Money on Flood Insurance?
- How Do I Get Flood Insurance?
- The Bottom Line
- Frequently Asked Questions
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