Residents of Houston know how devastating flooding can be. Buying flood insurance can give you peace of mind knowing you have help getting back on your feet after a disaster. Our study of flood insurance in Houston found the average cost of a policy, where to get coverage and historical flooding in Harris County, where Houston is located.
- How much does flood insurance cost in Houston?
- Houston flood insurance requirements
- Where to get flood insurances quotes
- Historical flooding in Houston
Cost of flood insurance in Houston
Flood insurance in Houston costs $595 a year on average, based on our analysis of open-source FEMA data. However, flood insurance costs range throughout the Houston metropolitan area from less than $500 in Pasadena to almost $900 a year in Jersey Village.
|City||Average annual cost of flood insurance||Average coverage amount||Number of policies|
|West University Place||$502||$337,177||3,354|
|Taylor Lake Village||$588||$332,273||1,069|
|Harris County average||$548||$292,699||318,305|
People who live in Harris County pay an average of $548 a year for coverage. Adding that much money to already high premiums for home insurance in Texas isn’t appealing, but we recommend all Houston-area residents purchase flood insurance because home insurance does not cover flood.
The cost of flood insurance isn’t always predictable. Just because Houston is at higher risk of flooding than other cities doesn’t mean its rates are more expensive. For this reason, many people can find coverage for cheaper than they may think. We recommend connecting with an insurance agent to discuss your options and costs.
Houston flood insurance requirements
Flood insurance requirements in Houston are the same as in the rest of the country. Because Harris County, which includes Houston, participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you’ll have to follow NFIP rules in order to get coverage.
Flood insurance is required by the U.S. government if both of the following criteria are true:
- You live in a federally designated high-risk area.
- You have a federally backed mortgage.
To find out if you live in a high-risk area, use FEMA’s flood map tool. Many residents in the Houston area live in high-risk zones. High-risk zones are designated as A, AE, A1-A30, AH, AO, V, VE and V1-V30. You can learn more about your flood zone in our article about how location affects flood insurance rates.
If you aren’t required to have flood insurance by the government, your mortgage lender might still require it as a condition of your loan. But even if you don’t need flood insurance by mandate of the government or your lender, we still suggest purchasing a policy to protect your home.
Buying flood insurance in Houston
There are a handful of insurance companies that provide flood insurance in Texas. The vast majority of people buy NFIP flood insurance, which are government-backed policies. You cannot purchase a policy directly from the government, however — you usually have to go through an insurance company.
The price of NFIP flood insurance does not vary between insurers. Premiums are set by the U.S. government, meaning you should pick a company that works best for you in terms of convenience and customer experience. About three quarters of Texans buy flood insurance from one of the following six companies:
- Wright National
These are among the most popular companies for flood insurance in Houston. If you are satisfied with your current auto or home insurance company, you might consider asking your company if it can also provide flood insurance. Keeping all of your insurance policies with one company can be convenient.
There is also a small market for private flood insurance, but most folks in Texas choose to go with NFIP flood insurance. A private flood insurance policy may be right for you if you need a particularly high coverage amount. NFIP provides a maximum of $250,000 of coverage for your home and $100,000 for your belongings.
Flood insurance coverage
NFIP flood insurance policies have two parts: building coverage and contents coverage. These two coverages protect your home and belongings from flood damage due to:
- water overflow during tropical storms or hurricanes
- storm surge
- runoff and mudflow
You can buy up to $250,000 of building coverage, which protects your home’s structure. This part of your policy covers structural parts of your home such as:
- Electric and plumbing
- Kitchen appliances
Contents coverage is an optional part of flood insurance, but we recommend that everyone adds it to their policy. Think of how valuable all your belongings are. If they are damaged in a flood, replacing your property can be very expensive. Contents coverage covers your belongings, like:
- Artwork (up to $2,500)
You can purchase up to $100,000 of contents coverage.
FEMA estimates that one inch of water can cause more than $25,000 of damage to your home. Homes in any location can flood — there is no such thing as being safe from flood damage. Flood insurance can help you be prepared if the unexpected happens and safeguard against expensive repair bills after a disaster.
Historical flooding and claims in Houston
The average NFIP flood insurance claim payment was more than $54,000 in Texas between 1996 and 2019. Houston’s high risk of flooding, combined with the amount of damage even a small amount of flooding can cause, has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in paid claims in Harris County.
The spikes in 2001 and 2008 represent Tropical Storm Allison and Hurricane Ike. Official claims payment figures aren’t available yet for Harris County for Hurricane Harvey in 2017, although estimates are around $8.9 billion in claims paid as a result of the storm.
Flooding catastrophes don’t occur every year, but when they do, they’re devastating. There's no telling when a flood will hit Houston again, but when it does, being prepared with flood insurance can help you recover.
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