The average cost of flood insurance in 2021 is $958 per year, or $80 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, and can be as cheap as $550 a year. We'll show you what costs to expect in your state, and how to understand and estimate your rates.
- Average cost of flood insurance
- Flood insurance cost by V and AE Zones
- What does flood insurance cover?
- Other options: private flood insurance
Flood insurance costs by state
Florida has the cheapest flood insurance rates, $597 a year, while Vermont has the most expensive average rates, $1,590 a year. The figures below are for flood insurance policies through the NFIP.
|State||Average annual cost||Average monthly cost||% households with flood insurance|
|District of Columbia||$817||$68||1.72%|
Flood insurance cost: most expensive states
The Northeast sees some of the highest flood insurance costs. Connecticut, Vermont and Rhode Island have the priciest flood insurance policies through the NFIP.
|State||Yearly flood insurance rate|
If you buy flood insurance through the emerging private flood insurance market, you may be able to find more reasonable rates for low-risk areas.
Flood insurance cost: cheapest states
Florida has the cheapest flood insurance rates in the U.S., at $597, 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.
|State||Yearly flood insurance rate|
Cost of flood insurance in SFHAs
If you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and have a federally backed mortgage, you are required to have flood insurance. SFHA zones begin with the letter A or V, such as zone AE. Find out which 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.
|Flood zones||Yearly flood insurance rate|
|All A and V zones (SFHAs)||$962|
|Moderate to low flood hazard areas||$485|
Your rates may vary, as all homes are different. However, these premiums show how living in different flood zones can affect how much you pay for flood insurance.
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 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.
Flood risks by state
Floods are one of the most common types of natural disasters in the country, according to FEMA. Louisiana, Texas and Florida saw the highest number of claims through the NFIP. Even if you don’t live in an area prone to flooding, you should still consider flood coverage.
|State||Total flood insurance claims|
|District of Columbia||441|
States with the most flood insurance policies
States near the coast tend to have more homeowners with flood insurance policies. Florida came in at the top, with over 1.7 million policies as of March 2021. These are the states that have the most policies through the NFIP.
|State||Active NFIP policies||% of households with NFIP flood insurance|
Total flood insurance losses paid by the NFIP by state in 2021
In 2021, the total amount of payments of all claims amounted to over $71 billion. That's a lot of coverage compared 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||Average annual premium|
|District of Columbia||$4,635,111|
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.
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.
The rise of private flood insurance
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.
Frequently asked questions
Q: How much does flood insurance cost?
A: The average cost of flood insurance is $958 a year, according to our study. However, rates vary depending on a number of factors.
Q: Is flood insurance required?
A: Flood insurance is required by the government if you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Your mortgage lender can also require flood insurance as a condition of your loan.
Q: Does homeowners insurance cover flood?
A: No, homeowners insurance does not usually protect you from floods. Flood insurance is a separate, stand-alone policy.
Q: Should I get flood insurance?
A: We recommend every homeowner purchase flood insurance, even if it isn't required. Floods can cause severe damage to your home and belongings.
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.
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