Homeowners insurance does not cover floods, meaning you need a separate flood insurance policy to fully protect your home. However, flood insurance works differently than other types of insurance: most people get coverage through a government program called the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is run by FEMA.
NFIP flood insurance can be purchased from many participating insurance companies. There is also a small but growing number of people who purchase non-NFIP flood insurance, which is called private flood insurance.
NFIP flood insurance companies
Between 96% and 97% of all residential flood insurance policies are NFIP policies. Although they are federal policies, you buy coverage through an independent insurance company.
|Company||Market share||Offers home, auto or renters insurance|
|Wright National Flood||23%||None|
|Assurant||18%||Home, auto, renters|
|Selective||9%||Home, auto, renters|
|The Hartford||9%||Home, auto, renters|
|Allstate||9%||Home, auto, renters|
|USAA||5%||Home, auto, renters|
|Farmers||4%||Home, auto, renters|
|Progressive||4%||Home, auto, renters|
|National General Holdings||2%||Home, auto, renters (through subsidiaries)|
|Tokio Marine||2%||Home, auto, renters (through subsidiaries)|
|American Family||2%||Home, auto, renters|
|Bankers Insurance||2%||Home, renters|
|Auto-Owners Insurance||2%||Home, auto, renters|
|Source: S&P Global|
If you already have an insurance company and want to see if they are approved to provide flood insurance by FEMA, you can view FEMA’s full list of companies. However, as you can see by the table above, most policies are bought from only a handful of companies.
Shopping for the best flood insurance company is different from shopping for the best homeowners insurance because rates do not vary between flood insurance companies that provide NFIP policies. Prices are set by the government, meaning there is no cheapest flood insurance company for NFIP policies.
The level of service may vary between companies, however. Therefore, the best flood insurance company for you is the one that offers the highest level of service and the greatest convenience. If you already have home, auto or renters insurance through an insurance company you trust, consider asking your agent if it participates in writing NFIP flood insurance policies.
Connect with an insurance agent that can help you purchase NFIP flood insurance.
How much NFIP flood insurance costs
NFIP flood insurance costs around $700 a year. The structure and location of your home are large factors determining how much you pay. For example, homes with basements may be more expensive to insure, or have special exclusions that apply to lower elevations.
Flood insurance can be expensive, and no one wants to add to the cost of owning or renting a home. However, we recommend considering adding flood insurance to your insurance portfolio: just one inch of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
In 2019, the average flood insurance claim paid by the NFIP was $52,000. Ninety-nine percent of U.S. counties experienced a flood event between 1996 and 2019. That goes to show how severe and widespread flooding can be, underlining the importance of flood insurance.
Private flood insurance companies
Very few homeowners and renters choose to buy a private flood insurance policy, but it is slowly becoming more popular. Currently, these are the most common private flood insurance companies in the U.S.:
|Source: Carrier Management Top Private Flood Insurers 2017 Market Study|
Assurant and AIG are the frontrunners in providing private flood insurance, accounting for 65% of all policies together.
How much it costs
There is limited data on how much private flood insurance costs, but it may be cheaper for many homeowners. One of the ways NFIP flood insurance remains affordable to everyone is that residents of low-risk areas subsidize the premiums of residents of high-risk areas. Therefore if you live in a low-risk area, you might consider a private flood insurance company.
Because NFIP flood insurance costs around $700 a year on average, we stand to reason that you may be able to get private flood insurance rates lower $700 with a private flood insurance company. For more exact pricing, we recommend contacting your insurance agent to explore the options for your property.
NFIP vs. private flood insurance
As mentioned, roughly 96% of flood insurance policies are NFIP and 4% are private flood insurance. However, private flood insurance is becoming more common because insurance companies feel more confident in providing policies as flood risk maps become more sophisticated.
One of the largest differences between private and NFIP flood insurance is the coverage limits available. NFIP flood insurance is limited to $250,000 of building coverage and $100,000 of contents coverage. Private flood insurance can have higher coverage limits, which some people may need.
NFIP flood insurance is widely available and is guaranteed to everyone living in one of the more than 23,000 participating NFIP communities. Private flood insurance, on the other hand, is not widely available.
For more information on whether an NFIP company or private flood insurance company is better for you, check out our article on NFIP flood insurance versus private flood insurance.
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