How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost? Averages by State and Zone

Here's what you need to know about the cost of flood insurance in your state or zone, and how to estimate your rates.

flooded house

The average cost of flood insurance in 2018 was $699 per year, or $58 a month, through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Home insurance policies do not cover floods, which means you'll need a separate flood policy to be fully protected. Costs vary by state, often in ways that are hard to understand. We'll show you what costs to expect in your state, and how to understand and estimate your rates.

Flood insurance costs by state 

Florida enjoys the cheapest flood insurance rates of $550 a year, while Connecticut has the most expensive average rates at $1,395 a year. The figures below are for flood insurance policies through the NFIP, which, according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania, accounts for between 96% and 97% of all residential flood insurance policies. 

Cost of flood insurance by state
State Average yearly cost Average monthly Cost % Households with flood insurance Cost rank
Alabama $687 $57 2.4% 11
Alaska $902 $75 0.8% 30
Arizona $666 $55 1.0% 6
Arkansas $847 $71 1.1% 21
California $806 $67 1.6% 18
Colorado $856 $71 0.9% 22
Connecticut $1,395 $116 2.5% 50
Delaware $724 $60 6.1% 15
District of Columbia $724 $60 0.6%
Florida $550 $46 18.5% 1
Georgia $684 $57 2.0% 10
Hawaii $673 $56 11.1% 8
Idaho $746 $62 0.8% 17
Illinois $1,045 $87 0.7% 39
Indiana $999 $83 0.8% 36
Iowa $1,045 $87 0.9% 38
Kansas $882 $73 0.7% 25
Kentucky $971 $81 1.0% 33
Louisiana $664 $55 24.1% 5
Maine $1,065 $89 1.1% 42
Maryland $573 $48 2.7% 2
Massachusetts $1,251 $104 2.1% 47
Michigan $1,008 $84 0.4% 37
Minnesota $900 $75 0.4% 28
Mississippi $695 $58 4.7% 12
Missouri $1,071 $89 0.7% 43
Montana $704 $59 1.0% 13
Nebraska $998 $83 1.0% 35
Nevada $721 $60 0.9% 14
New Hampshire $1,060 $88 1.3% 41
New Jersey $961 $80 6.2% 32
New Mexico $843 $70 1.3% 20
New York $1,155 $96 2.1% 45
North Carolina $814 $68 2.9% 19
North Dakota $677 $56 2.5% 9
Ohio $1,047 $87 0.6% 40
Oklahoma $856 $71 0.7% 23
Oregon $889 $74 1.5% 27
Pennsylvania $1,176 $98 1.0% 46
Rhode Island $1,389 $116 2.8% 48
South Carolina $672 $56 8.8% 7
South Dakota $931 $78 0.8% 31
Tennessee $861 $72 1.0% 24
Texas $581 $48 6.7% 3
Utah $654 $54 0.3% 4
Vermont $1,391 $116 1.1% 49
Virginia $737 $61 3.0% 16
Washington $901 $75 1.1% 29
West Virginia $1,104 $92 1.7% 44
Wisconsin $973 $81 0.4% 34
Wyoming $888 $74 0.6% 26

Flood insurance cost: most expensive states 

Connecticut, Vermont and Rhode Island have the priciest flood insurance policies through the NFIP. However, many people overpay for flood insurance through the NFIP. That is one of the reasons for the emerging private flood insurance industry, which sometimes offers more reasonable rates for low-risk areas. 

states-with-the-most-expensive-yearly-flood-insurance-rates

Flood insurance cost: cheapest states 

Florida has the cheapest flood insurance rates in the U.S. at $550, despite being a coastal and high-risk area. Florida is closely followed by Maryland and Texas (two other states that have coastal areas). The cheapest states illustrate the purpose of the NFIP: to make flood insurance accessible to people in states that need it the most. 

states-with-the-cheapest-yearly-flood-insurance-rates

Cost of flood insurance in SFHAs

If you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and have a federally backed mortgage, you will be required to have flood insurance. SFHA zones begin with the letter A or V, such as zone AE. Find out what flood zone you are in using FEMA's tool

We've estimated annual costs for flood insurance in SFHAs below, using FEMA's rate tables. The minimum coverage through the NFIP is $60,000 of building and $25,000 of property coverage. The maximum amount of coverage is $250,000 of building and $100,000 of property coverage.  

Cost of Flood Insurance in Zone A, AE, A1-A30, AO and D
Building type Cost for minimum coverage Cost for maximum coverage
Non-elevated with subgrade crawlspace $1,025 $4,144
No basement or enclosure* $1,025 $4,362
Elevated on crawlspace $1,025 $4,362
Mobile home $1,025 $4,362
With basement $1,073 $5,104
With enclosure $1,073 $5,892
*As defined by FEMA, an enclosure is a "walled in [area] below the lowest floor of an elevated building."
Cost of Flood Insurance in Zone V, VE and V1-V30
Building type Cost for minimum coverage Cost for maximum coverage
Non-elevated with subgrade crawlspace $1,329 $9,002
No basement/enclosure* $1,329 $9,504
Elevated on crawlspace $1,329 $9,504
With basement $1,389 $11,399
With enclosure $1,389 $13,197
*As defined by FEMA, an enclosure is a "walled in [area] below the lowest floor of an elevated building."

Your rates may vary, as all homes are different. However, these premiums show how expensive flood insurance can be in high-risk areas. Here's how we calculated these rates using FEMA's rate tables

What does flood insurance cover and do I need it? 

NFIP flood insurance policies protect your house and belongings if they are damaged by a flood, up to your policy limits. NFIP policies cap at $250,000 of building coverage and $100,000 of contents coverage. Flooding covered by the NFIP includes overflow of tidal water in coastal areas, rivers and mudflow. 

If you live in a Special Hazard Area, such as zones AE, X or VE, and have a federally backed mortgage, you are required by the NFIP to have flood insurance. These areas are also known as 100-year floodplains, which means that the area has a 1% or greater chance of flooding every year. If you think that your zone is mapped incorrectly, you can file a letter of amendment requesting FEMA to review your zone. 

If you're required to have flood insurance, you'll need enough to cover the principal balance on your mortgage. For example, if you have $175,000 left on your mortgage, you'll need a flood insurance policy that covers $175,000. 

The U.S. government backs NFIP policies through the treasury, and rates are set by the program. However, private companies usually administer the policies. That means even though your flood insurance is backed by the U.S. government and not private funds, you'll be interacting with a non-government insurance agent. 

States with the most flood insurance policies 

Florida came in at the top with over 1.7 million policies as of December 2018; 19% of Florida households have an NFIP policy. These are the states that have the most policies through the NFIP.

Number of flood insurance policies by state
State  Active NFIP policies % of households with NFIP flood insurance
Florida 1,770,452  19%
Texas 748,865  7%
Louisiana 500,352  24%
New Jersey 224,541  6%
South Carolina 205,101  9%
North Carolina 134,987  3%
Virginia 105,933  3%
Mississippi 63,024  5%
Hawaii 60,625  11%
Delaware 26,786  6%

Total flood insurance losses paid by the NFIP 1996-2016 by state

Between 1996 and 2016, the NFIP paid out over $42 billion in claims. That's a lot of coverage relative to how affordable flood insurance can be in high-risk areas. Here's how much money NFIP flood insurance policies have paid out by state. 

State Total losses paid by NFIP 1996-2016 
Alabama $733,761,015
Alaska $4,896,618
Arizona $21,272,254
Arkansas $79,419,934
California $219,083,862
Colorado $61,088,300
Connecticut $350,554,705
Delaware $37,463,415
District of Columbia $492,000
Florida $2,683,983,510
Georgia $229,962,369
Hawaii $23,597,235
Idaho $4,001,380
Illinois $279,107,751
Indiana $180,550,235
Iowa $151,296,055
Kansas $41,764,161
Kentucky $198,455,860
Louisiana $16,087,259,070
Maine $12,495,171
Maryland $192,751,047
Massachusetts $117,938,093
Michigan $33,886,206
Minnesota $93,680,881
Mississippi $2,499,691,844
Missouri $212,661,553
Montana $7,622,439
Nebraska $18,012,911
Nevada $12,947,090
New Hampshire $28,624,163
New Jersey $4,604,858,461
New Mexico $11,530,972
New York $4,443,074,844
North Carolina $803,491,400
North Dakota $218,270,491
Ohio $161,941,607
Oklahoma $94,442,705
Oregon $66,024,341
Pennsylvania $700,458,384
Puerto Rico $53,078,770
Rhode Island $50,188,298
South Carolina $232,937,942
South Dakota $29,650,089
Tennessee $220,914,607
Texas $5,094,691,953
Utah $1,316,784
Vermont $35,314,161
Virginia $515,746,635
Washington $163,202,438
West Virginia $171,079,383
Wisconsin $51,901,874
Wyoming $900,837
Grand Total $42,343,338,102

Worst loss years 1998-2018

The NFIP paid out over $58 billion in flood relief between 1998 and 2018. The graph below shows the cost of claims paid in millions. 

nfip-flood-insurance-claims-paid-by-year

As you can see, there are major spikes in 2005, 2012 and 2017 for Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Harvey, respectively. Those three loss years alone account for 62% of all paid claims between 1998 and 2018. So, while most years you won't need to make a claim on your flood insurance policy, it can come in handy when a large catastrophe hits. 

Flood insurance in the future: The rise of private flood

Recent years have seen enormous growth in the number of private flood insurance policies. Some folks may pay more through the NFIP than they would through a private flood insurance company, which is one of the causes of the growth. Therefore, you shouldn't assume that the NFIP is your only option. As is the case with all insurance products, shopping around and considering every option available to you will ensure you get the right coverage at a reasonable rate. 

Private flood insurance companies use more sophisticated mapping techniques than FEMA to determine flood risk. Therefore, there are some places that FEMA designates as higher risk than they are. This is one of the reasons you may be able to save with a private flood insurance policy.  

The U.S. government is encouraging the growth of the private flood insurance market because the NFIP is over $20.5 billion in debt as of January 2018. This is because the amount of premiums collected through the program do not cover the costs needed to pay out for disasters. The purpose of the NFIP at its founding in 1968 was to provide flood insurance to people who couldn't get protection through a private company. Now, the U.S. government is becoming less willing to foot the bill and is looking more and more to private flood insurance companies.  

Methodology: 

We sourced our data exclusively through government agencies. The rate and loss data came from FEMA, and the demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The minimum and maximum costs of flood insurance in SFHAs were calculated using the NFIP's publicly available rate tables.

References:

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