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, 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.

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. 

FEMA estimates may undersell flood risk for millions of properties 

New research suggests the nation’s flood risk is much higher than previously thought. We found an additional 5,866,497 properties that are at risk of flooding - that’s a 67% increase over previous estimates.

The sharp jump in “at-risk” estimates is because the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been using outdated maps that are sometimes more than 15 years old. According to FEMA’s maps, there are 8,735,871 properties that have a 1% chance of annual flooding. New estimates, however, put the number of “at-risk” properties at 14,602,368. 

The massive increase in the number of flood-prone properties is even more pronounced when looked at state-by-state. Our team of analysts found 23 states with a 100% or more increase in the number of at-risk properties

Overall, these new estimates could lead to significant changes in the price of flood insurance. Newly added properties would be required to purchase flood insurance or increase their coverage limits and current flood premiums could rise dramatically because of the updated risk.

Ranking states difference in properties at flood risk
Rank State FEMA properties at risk Updated properties at risk Additional properties at risk Percent difference
1 Utah 21,775 113,061 91,286 419%
2 Wyoming 8,287 35,235 26,948 325%
3 Montana 29,841 122,579 92,738 311%
4 Idaho 38,047 148,427 110,380 290%
5 Tennessee 101,363 383,176 281,813 278%
6 Vermont 13,000 39,720 26,720 206%
7 Colorado 43,332 131,245 87,913 203%
8 Washington 121,528 362,612 241,084 198%
9 Pennsylvania 194,395 564,589 370,194 190%
10 Minnesota 76,831 215,595 138,764 181%
11 Oregon 97,918 268,020 170,102 174%
12 New York 238,991 615,503 376,512 158%
13 Michigan 124,089 315,568 191,479 154%
14 South Dakota 24,944 62,585 37,641 151%
15 West Virginia 134,228 326,639 192,411 143%
16 Kentucky 96,807 227,003 130,196 134%
17 Maryland 58,653 133,682 75,029 128%
18 Ohio 219,885 493,012 273,127 124%
19 New Hampshire 29,006 64,907 35,901 124%
20 Georgia 157,125 347,744 190,619 121%
21 California 495,409 1,090,903 595,494 120%
22 Illinois 205,709 451,693 245,984 120%
23 Virginia 162,511 344,445 181,934 112%
24 North Carolina 276,897 538,921 262,024 95%
25 Iowa 152,723 294,023 141,300 93%
26 Wisconsin 144,008 273,377 129,369 90%
27 Maine 29,452 55,652 26,200 89%
28 North Dakota 30,277 56,396 26,119 86%
29 Alabama 187,900 334,919 147,019 78%
30 Missouri 157,928 280,239 122,311 77%
31 Connecticut 60,373 106,659 46,286 77%
32 Kansas 79,455 133,441 53,986 68%
33 Indiana 168,977 282,546 113,569 67%
34 Massachusetts 117,104 193,261 76,157 65%
35 Oklahoma 107,395 168,869 61,474 57%
36 South Carolina 196,922 271,494 74,572 38%
37 Nebraska 74,366 102,440 28,074 38%
38 Delaware 28,922 39,663 10,741 37%
39 Texas 860,021 1,150,908 290,887 34%
40 New Mexico 98,221 128,766 30,545 31%
41 Arkansas 152,904 191,610 38,706 25%
42 Rhode Island 23,920 26,478 2,558 11%
43 Nevada 41,301 44,597 3,296 8%
44 Florida 1,719,376 1,833,341 113,965 7%
45 Mississippi 249,723 255,655 5,932 2%
46 New Jersey 393,550 385,438 -8,112 -2%
47 Arizona 129,491 118,667 -10,824 -8%
48 Louisiana 560,991 477,065 -83,926 -15%
-- USA 8,735,871 14,602,368 5,866,497 67%
Methodology: To find the disparity in flood risk, we analyzed flood map data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and compared it to new research by the First Street Foundation. First Street's new calculation takes the rise in sea levels, creek floods and additional rainfall into account.
 

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

Frequently asked questions

Q: How much does flood insurance cost?

A: The average cost of flood insurance is $699 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.

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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