Looking for flood insurance and wondering what to expect cost-wise? According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), Americans pay an average of $78 per month for coverage. However, the rate you get will depend on a variety of factors such as where you live and the building characteristics of your home or office building.
To help you find the best deal, here’s a closer look at the average flood insurance costs, the factors that can impact your premiums, and the best flood insurance providers of 2023.
Average Cost of Flood Insurance
How much does flood insurance cost? The NFIP is the largest single-line insurance program in the U.S. and provides nearly $1.3 trillion worth of flood coverage to Americans. As of September 2022, the average cost of flood insurance through the program was $935 per year or about $78 per month.
That said, the premium you pay will vary based on a variety of factors, including your location. For example, the average cost of flood insurance in Florida is much lower than the average cost in New York. To see where your state lands on the cost spectrum, find it in the chart below.
|The Average Cost of NFIP Flood Insurance by State (2023)|
|State||Average Annual Cost||Average Monthly Cost||Average Total Coverage Amount||Policies in Force||Average Coverage Amount Per Premium Dollar|
Source: National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), Policy Information by State, February 2023.
Factors Influencing Cost
Many factors can influence your flood insurance rates, including the following four cited by the NFIP.
Your Home’s Building Characteristics
The building characteristics of a home or business building can impact its vulnerability to flood damage so are often considered by flood insurance providers. For example, FEMA considers:
- Building type and use
- Foundation type
- First-floor height
- Number of floors
- Unit location
- Construction type
- Flood openings
- Machinery, equipment, and utility placement
The coverage type and amount of flood insurance you choose will impact your cost. Flood insurance is available for both residential and business customers. Further, it’s typically composed of building and contents coverage. Building coverage covers buildings while contents coverage covers personal belongings. The more coverage you need, the higher premium you can expect.
The location of the property you want to insure is also going to be a factor. Insurers often consider a building’s distance from flooding sources like lakes, rivers, and oceans. They’ll also look at the elevation of the property in relation to the surrounding area, nearby flooding sources, the history of flooding in the area, and if flood barriers are in place.
The deductible amount you choose will impact the cost of your policy. You can often opt for a higher deductible in order to get a lower premium payment or vice versa.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
Flood insurance covers personal property and the structure of a home or office building. The specifics of what’s covered will vary by insurer, so be sure to read the fine print. For example, NFIP policies cover:
- Building structures: The building and its foundation, plumbing systems, electrical systems, heating and air units, water heaters, furnaces, built-in appliances, refrigerators, cooking stoves, window blinds, detached garages, permanently installed bookcases/cabinets/paneling, and debris removal
- Personal property: Personal belongings like furniture, clothing, electronics, jewelry, curtains, portable appliances, washers, dryers, food freezers, the food in freezers, and valuable items like furs (limits apply)
What’s Not Covered by Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance also commonly excludes or limits coverage for certain losses. For example, the NFIP does not generally cover:
- Precious metals
- Stock certificates
- Water damage that could’ve been avoided
- Self-propelled vehicles
- Detached buildings (these require a separate policy)
- Trees and plants
- Hot tubs and swimming pools
- Septic systems and wells
- Patios, fences, decks, and other belongings outside of a home or office building
- Secondary financial losses resulting from the flood damage (temporary housing, business income loss, etc.)
- Contents coverage for areas below the lowest elevated floor (in basements, crawl spaces, etc.)
In addition to limits on what’s covered by a flood insurance policy, there are limits on the monetary amount that’s covered. For example, the NFIP provides up to $250,000 in building coverage and $100,000 in contents coverage for residential structures. It also limits businesses to $500,000 in building coverage and $500,000 in contents coverage.
If you need a higher coverage amount, shop around with private flood insurance providers. Neptune, for instance, offers up to $4,000,000 in building coverage for a residential home and up to $500,000 in contents coverage for homeowners.
Top Flood Insurance Companies
Ready to start your search? After reviewing 16 flood insurers, these seven came out on top.
Best Overall: Geico
Geico is a reputable insurance provider that offers flood insurance policies underwritten by non-affiliated third parties including FEMA. It has a solid financial strength rating and is known for delivering great customer service. Further, you can easily get a quote online via the company’s website or mobile app, and can get a discount by bundling your flood coverage with Geico auto or homeowners insurance.
Best Commercial Flood Insurance: The Flood Insurance Agency
The Flood Insurance Agency, also known as Private Market Flood, provides over $4 billion in private flood insurance coverage to residential, commercial, and habitational properties. It stands out from the competition by offering rate-lock programs, which allow you to lock in your premium amount for three policy cycles. Additionally, you can get quick estimates online and more coverage than the NFIP offers.
Best Online Option: Assurant
Assurant has offered flood insurance under the NFIP for more than 30 years and is the second-largest carrier offering flood insurance today. It also offers a lineup of private flood policies with higher coverage limits and flexible add-on coverage options. Further, Assurant makes it easy to manage your policy and file claims online.
Best for Customer Service: FloodSimple Insurance Services
FloodSimple Insurance Services provides alternative flood policies (non-NFIP) that can be purchased online in as little as 24 hours. It claims to offer lower prices than FEMA because it’s selective about the properties it’ll insure, which minimizes its losses. FloodSimple also impresses on the customer-service front, with a 4.9 out of 5 star rating on Google after 617 reviews.
Best for Veterans: USAA
USAA is a reputable financial services company that specializes in catering to U.S. servicemembers. It also fares well in customer satisfaction ratings. As a result, it wins a top spot as the best flood insurance option for veterans. You can get coverage through USAA under the NFIP but can also get excess coverage through its broker network.
Best for Comprehensive Coverage: Neptune
Neptune is an alternative flood insurance provider offering policies that go far beyond the coverage available under the NFIP. You can get higher coverage limits, lower prices, more coverage types, and a shorter waiting period. It also offers quick and convenient online quotes.
Best Affordable Option: Better Flood Insurance
Better Flood Insurance is a flood insurance broker that does some of the deal hunting for you. The company scours the web, collects quotes for you from private flood insurance companies, and claims to save clients an average of $500 on their annual premiums.
How to Choose the Best Flood Insurance
When reviewing and comparing flood insurance providers, here are a few key factors to consider.
- Coverage options: Check the details of what the policy covers, how it compensates losses, and the maximum coverage limits.
- Flood insurance cost: Compare the premium costs and deductible options of several flood insurance providers. Many providers offer flood insurance cost calculators that can help.
- Customer service: Customer service quality can vary. Look at the support channels, the hours of operation, the response times, and reviews from past customers. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) keeps records of customer complaints that can help you understand how a company fares in terms of customer satisfaction.
- Waiting periods: A waiting period is the amount of time you have to wait until your policy’s coverage kicks in. The NFIP has a 30-day waiting period, but waiting periods with private insurers vary.
- States served: All providers don’t serve all states. Be sure to check the service areas of each provider you’re considering.
- Online services: Many insurers make it easy to get and manage coverage online. Check for features such as online estimates, learning resources, claim filing, and account management.
- Eligible properties: Flood insurers may cover different property types. Check for exclusions, such as those based on location, flood history, or home type.
To find the best deal, shop around and compare at least three flood insurance quotes.
You may be able to save on your flood insurance premium by opting for a higher deductible, elevating your utilities, elevating your property, filling in your basement, installing flood openings, or providing an elevation certificate.
How Flood Insurance Works
Like most insurance policies, flood insurance requires the policyholder to pay a premium in exchange for a certain amount of coverage. Then, if your home, business building, or personal property is damaged due to a flood, you can file a claim, pay your deductible, and receive a settlement to help you recover.
The NFIP, managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has historically been the primary provider of flood insurance in the U.S.—delivering coverage to the public directly and through a network of over 50 insurance companies. However, NFIP’s share of the market has been on the decline while the share held by private insurers has been growing.
Why? For one, the Biggers-Water Act was amended in 2019, requiring lenders to accept non-NFIP flood insurance policies from private insurers. Additionally, FEMA implemented a new risk assessment method in 2021 (detailed below) which is causing rate increases on NFIP policies.
As a result, many private insurers are winning policyholders over with more flood coverage at lower prices. In 2021 alone, flood insurance premiums written by private insurers increased by over 40%, according to AM Best.
Projected Rate Increases
The NFIP began subjecting its flood insurance policies to a new rating methodology, Risk Rating 2.0, in October 2021. According to FEMA, 96% of current policyholders will see either an immediate decrease or $20 or less per month increase in their premiums. On average, 23% of policyholders will see a decrease of $86 per month, while 66% will see increases up to $10 per month, 7% will see increases up to $20 per month, and 4% will see increases of more than $20 per month.
As a shopper, it may be worth looking beyond NFIP flood insurance policies to find the best deal.
Do I Need Flood Insurance?
If you live or run a business in an area prone to floods, flood insurance can help to protect you against expensive flood damage. Further, it may be required if you own a home or business in a high-risk flood area and have a mortgage.
Flood insurance can also be beneficial if you live in a lower-risk area. According to FEMA, those who live in areas with a low-to-moderate flood risk are still five times more likely to experience a flood than a fire over the next three decades.
Does Car Insurance Cover Flood Damage?
Comprehensive car insurance policies generally cover water damage to a vehicle that results from a flood. Flood insurance policies do not.
Does Renters Insurance Cover Flood?
Standard renters insurance policies do not cover flood damage. However, renters can purchase a standalone flood insurance policy to cover their personal belongings.
What Flood Zones Require Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance is required in high-risk flood areas for those who own property and have a federally backed mortgage on that property. When using the FEMA Flood Map Service, high-risk flood areas begin with the letters “A” or “V.”
How Much Flood Insurance Do I Need?
To determine the amount of flood insurance you need, consider the cost to replace your home and personal belongings in the event of a total loss due to a flood. The NFIP offers up to $250,000 in dwelling coverage and up to $100,000 in contents coverage. If you want more than that, shop around with private flood insurers.