Flooding is a constant threat in the city of Houston. Facing multiple floods a year on average, the devastating power of a flood can destroy both your home and your belongings. Fortunately, flood insurance is available to protect both. This is important, as a home insurance policy does not cover flood damage.
Houston's flood record makes flood insurance an expensive investment, and, in some cases, a required one. But it is a small price to pay in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of dollars it can cost to replace your house and personal property after an extreme flood.
In this article
What does flood insurance cost in Houston?
A flood insurance policy costs Houston homeowners an average of $678 a month, based on FEMA's most current open-source data. The Houston average flood insurance rate is higher than the average rate in Harris County, standing at $657 a month. However, it is still below the Texas average rate of $684 a month.
The actual amount you're going to pay for flood insurance is based on multiple factors. These include:
- Flood history in your area
- Flood type occurrence
- The home's distance from a source of water
- Elevation of the home and appliances
- The home's cost to rebuild
This means that depending on where in Houston your home is located, the flood insurance rate you're quoted may be less expensive than you think. Be sure to sit down with a flood insurance provider and discuss all your options.
What flood insurance do I need in Houston?
You're required to have flood insurance in Houston if you fulfill the following criteria:
- You live in a federally designated high-risk flood zone
- You have a federally backed mortgage
You can use FEMA's flood map tool to find out what type of flood zone your home is within. High-risk flood zones in Houston are designated:
- A1 through A30
- V1 through V30
Even if you aren't federally required to have flood insurance, there's a good chance your mortgage lender will require it to cover its own investment. On the off-chance your lender does not require it, you are still in a much stronger financial position to recoup your losses after a flood with coverage.
Where do I get flood insurance in Houston?
There are public insurance companies that provide flood insurance in Texas. These providers take part in the FEMA-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The majority of Houston homeowners who need flood insurance purchase it through the following companies:
- Wright National
NFIP flood insurance costs the same between insurers. While these are the most popular flood insurance providers for Houston residents, you should look for a policy with an insurance company that fits you in terms of your convenience and experience. If your current home insurance company provides flood insurance, check with it first.
There is also a small but growing market of private flood insurance companies. These private companies are able to offer different coverage amounts than NFIP policies are restricted to. However, many mortgage companies are hesitant to honor flood insurance policies from private companies. This is due to reasons ranging from untrustworthy financial stability to the fact that private providers can drop your coverage, whereas your NFIP-backed flood insurance stays in place as long as you continue to pay your premium.
Flood insurance coverage in Houston
NFIP flood insurance policies have two separate parts: building coverage and contents coverage. The two coverage types protect your home from flood damage due to:
- Water overflow due to tropical storm or hurricane
- Storm surge
You can buy up to $250,000 of building coverage through an NFIP policy. This portion covers the structural parts of your home including:
- The foundation
- Electric and plumbing systems
- Kitchen appliances
While contents coverage is considered an optional add-on to a flood insurance policy, it is highly recommended that you purchase it. It provides coverage for your personal belongings, including:
- Artwork (up to $2,500)
NFIP flood insurance policies cover up to $100,000 of contents coverage.
Houston flood insurance in a nutshell
FEMA estimates that just one inch of flood water can cause over $25,000 in damages to your home. A study by First Street Foundation estimated that 1.7 times more homes are at risk for flood damage than the FEMA maps indicate. This means the risk of flooding is higher than we actually know. Flood insurance is an excellent way to prevent going broke when the unexpected happens and disaster hits.
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