Since homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage to your home or belongings, flood insurance can provide valuable financial protection. Lenders usually require it for mortgages on homes in high-risk flood zones. It's also worth considering in many situations when it's not lender-required.
Most flood insurance is issued by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), but private companies also offer flood insurance in many states.
Here is a closer look at the estimated costs of NFIP flood insurance in each state and how Risk Rating 2.0, the new process for setting flood insurance premiums, may increase or reduce the amount you pay.
Flood insurance at a glance
- The location of your home plays a big part in determining your flood insurance rate.
- NFIP flood insurance policies offer up to $250,000 for the structure of your home and up to $100,000 for your personal belongings.
- You are required to have flood insurance if you live in a Special Hazard Area and have a federally backed mortgage.
In this article:
How much does flood insurance cost in my state?
We saw the average annual cost of flood insurance range from $443 a year in Maryland to $1,315 per year in Vermont, with a nationwide average of $851 per year.
The figures in the table below are for flood insurance policies through the NFIP. 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.
|State||Average annual cost||% of homes with flood insurance|
|District of Columbia||$484.29||1.50%|
|Source: FEMA, U.S. Census Bureau|
Cheapest states for flood insurance
Maryland has the cheapest rates on flood insurance, $37 a month, which is slightly less than the average cost in Alaska, $39 a month.
|State||Average annual cost||Average monthly cost|
|District of Columbia||$484.29||$40|
Most expensive states for flood insurance
Vermont has the most expensive flood insurance at $110 a month, followed by West Virginia at $109 a month.
|State||Average annual cost||Average monthly cost|
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Understanding Risk Rating 2.0 — FEMA’s new flood insurance rules
FEMA recently changed the way flood insurance is priced. On Oct. 1, 2021, the agency rolled out the first phase of Risk Rating 2.0, which was designed to bring more equitable pricing to flood insurance.
Under Risk Rating 2.0, the cost of flood insurance is primarily based on the cost of replacing a home and each property's unique flood risk.
FEMA's Risk Rating 2.0
Risk Rating 2.0 will use five main variables to determine a property’s flood risk:
- Historical flood frequency
- Flood type: river, rainfall, coastal surge, coastal erosion
- Distance to water source
- Property characteristics: elevation, soil, etc.
- Cost to rebuild
Risk Rating 2.0 is changing the amounts that millions of Americans pay for flood insurance. More than five million people are currently insured through the NFIP. Nearly 80% of these policyholders will pay $10 to $100 more a month as their policies renew.
Around 1.2 million policyholders will immediately see a rate decrease of between $10 and $100 a month.
Our research shows that, for the most part, property owners in lower-value homes and neighborhoods will pay less under Risk Rating 2.0, while property owners in higher-value homes and neighborhoods will pay more.
|State||% of policies with an increase||% of policies with a decrease||% of policies that will increase by $20 or more||% of policies that will decrease by $20 or more||% of policies that will increase by $60 or more||% of policies that will decrease by $60 or more||Total policies affected|
Our analysts also found that Hawaii, Texas and Mississippi have the highest percentages of policyholders who will see a price increase as the new rating system takes effect. Meanwhile, more than 50% of policyholders in Alaska, Michigan, Maryland and Utah will see their rates drop.
West Virginia, Maine and Connecticut have the largest percentages of policyholders who will see a price decrease of $20 or more, while Rhode Island has the largest percentage of policyholders who will experience a price decrease of $60 or more.
Florida has the largest number of policyholders that will see a major change. Nearly 22,000 Floridians will see the cost of their flood insurance drop by $100 or more, and 1,200 policyholders will see it increase by $100 or more.
Risk Rating 2.0 went into effect for new policyholders on Oct. 1, 2021, and on renewals for existing policyholders beginning April 1, 2022.
States where homeowners are dropping flood insurance
FEMA changed the way flood insurance was regulated and priced in 2021. Our team of analysts looked at the number of NFIP policies going back to March 2021. Over the last 20 months, a little over 300,000 property owners have canceled their flood insurance with the NFIP. In some states, however, the number of property owners who have left the program is much higher.
Florida has the highest number of property owners who have left the flood insurance program, while North Dakota has the highest percentage of people who have canceled their flood insurance. In all, three states (Minnesota and the Dakotas) had more than 20% of people drop their flood insurance. Utah is the only state that experienced an increase in the number of people with NFIP flood insurance.
|State||Number of policies (as of March 2021)||Number of policies (as of November 2022)||% change|
What does flood insurance cover and do I need it?
NFIP flood insurance policies offer up to $250,000 in building coverage and up to $100,000 in contents coverage.
Building coverage pays to repair structural damage to your home, and contents coverage pays to repair or replace belongings such as furniture, electronics, clothing and certain types of appliances. If you're a renter, you can purchase a contents-only flood insurance policy.
If you have a mortgage on a home in a high-risk flood zone, as determined by FEMA's extensive mapping system, your lender will probably require flood insurance.
If you don't have a mortgage or your home is in a low- or moderate-risk flood zone, you can still purchase flood insurance on an optional basis, as long as your community participates in the NFIP. Most communities do.
Along with providing flood insurance, the NFIP works with communities to develop land-use policies and building codes that reduce flood risks.
If you are wondering why you should consider flood insurance if your lender does not require it, here are two statistics that FEMA frequently cites to answer this very question:
- One inch of flood water can cause up to $25,000 in damage to a home.
- More than 25% of NFIP flood insurance claims come from outside high-risk flood zones.
How does my flood zone impact my flood insurance rates?
Homes located in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) have the highest flood insurance rates, while those in moderate- and low-risk zones usually qualify for considerably lower rates.
FEMA's flood zone maps, which you can find in the Map Service Center on the agency's website, have several different codes. Any zone beginning with the letter A or V, such as AE or V1, is an SFHA. Zones beginning with the letters B, C or X are low- and moderate-risk areas.
Our analysis shows that NFIP flood insurance for homes in low- and moderate-risk areas is 40% cheaper than it is for homes in SFHAs.
|Flood zones||Annual flood insurance rate|
|All A and V zones (SFHAs)||$888|
|Moderate to low flood hazard areas||$590|
According to National Flood Services, the following states are most at risk for flooding:
- Louisiana: 50.56% of state of the state is within an SFHA zone
- Florida: 40.8% of state of the state is within an SFHA zone
- Mississippi: 23.14% of state of the state is within an SFHA zone
- Arkansas: 22.5% of state of the state is within an SFHA zone
- New Jersey: 19.27% of state of the state is within an SFHA zone
How much does flood insurance cost in Zone AE?
If you live in flood zone AE, the average cost of flood insurance is $934 as of July 2023, according to FEMA. If you live in an SFHA, 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.
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Flood insurance losses paid by the NFIP
In 2022, the total amount of payments of all flood claims amounted to over $100 million. 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 in 2022 as of June.
|District of Columbia||$9,545|
How does private flood insurance work?
Where available, private flood insurance can often be purchased as either an alternative to NFIP flood insurance or as enhanced coverage to add to an NFIP policy.
Here are a few potential advantages of private flood insurance over an NFIP policy:
- You can sometimes get a better rate from a private flood insurance policy than you can on one issued through the NFIP.
- Some private flood insurance providers offer higher coverage limits than the NFIP, which can prove valuable if the replacement cost value of your home is more than $250,000 or your personal items are worth more than $100,000.
- Some private flood insurance companies often offer loss of use coverage, which pays for temporary living expenses while your home is being repaired. NFIP flood insurance does not include loss of use.
We listed the biggest private flood insurance companies in the U.S. below.
|American International Group (AIG)||42%|
|Zurich Insurance Group||12%|
|Berkshire Hathaway Inc.||8%|
|Source: NAIC data, sourced from S&P Global Market Intelligence, Insurance Information Institute.|
How to save on flood insurance
Flood insurance can be an expensive investment, but there are several ways to lower your flood insurance premiums.
- Increase deductible. Picking a high deductible will lead to lower premiums, but if you make a flood claim you will need to make sure you have the deductible amount ready.
- Get an Elevation Certificate. An Elevation Certificate provides information of your home's flood zone, the area surrounding your home, the elevation of its lowest floor and its building characteristics. Getting a certificate can lower your premium.
- Install flood openings. Installing flood openings on the walls of the lowest level of your home, such as your basement, can lower your flood insurance premium.
- Fill in your basement. You can save on your premium if you fill in your basement with material like gravel.
- Elevate your home. Elevating your home can decrease damages if your area floods and it can significantly lower your premium.
Frequently asked questions about the cost of flood insurance
The average cost of flood insurance through the federally backed National Flood Insurance Program is $851 a year.
Replacement cost value in flood insurance is the estimated price of repairing or rebuilding your home to like-new conditions. Replacement cost reflects the price of building materials and labor. It's usually lower than your home's market value, which includes your land, but more than actual cash value, which factors in depreciation.
If you’re looking to compare flood insurance rates, you can contact private flood insurance carriers. Private flood insurance companies may offer you better rates compared to the one issued through the NFIP.
We sourced our data from FEMA and the U.S. Census Bureau. The average costs of NFIP flood insurance are based on policies in force as of July 2023. We obtained demographic data from the Census Bureau to calculate the percentage of homes with flood insurance in each state.
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