How much does flood insurance cost in 2023

Written by Leslie Ventura / February 4, 2022
Reviewed by Kara McGinley
Fact checked by Jennifer Lobb

Key points

  • 90% of natural disasters in the U.S. involve flooding.
  • A standard home insurance policy won’t cover flood damage.
  • You can buy flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or from a private insurance company.
  • The NFIP only covers up to $250,000 in building damages, whereas a private policy may provide more coverage.

99% of U.S. counties were impacted by a flood between 1996 and 2019, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damage, and without flood insurance you could be hit hard by out-of-pocket expenses. 

The following information can help you decide if flood insurance is right for you and how much you might expect to pay for coverage.

Inside this article

  1. What is flood insurance?
  2. What does flood insurance cover?
  3. What isn’t covered by flood insurance?
  4. Who needs flood insurance?
  5. How much is flood insurance?
  6. How to buy flood Insurance
  7. NFIP vs. private flood insurance
  8. Frequently asked questions

What is flood insurance?

Flood insurance, purchased separately from your homeowners insurance policy, covers your house and belongings for damage caused by torrential rains, hurricane-related flooding, mudflow, inland flooding and flash floods. 

Most homeowners who purchase flood insurance buy it through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is backed by FEMA, but you may also be able to buy a policy in the private flood insurance market.

What does flood insurance cover?

Through the NFIP, there are two types of flood insurance: building coverage (for your home) and contents coverage (for your personal items). You can purchase one or both types of coverage, depending on your needs.

Building coverage, also known as dwelling coverage, can help with the cost to rebuild or repair several parts of your home, including:

  • The structure of your home, including foundation and walls

  • Detached garages

  • Heating and cooling systems, such as furnaces, air conditioners and water heaters

  • Electrical or plumbing systems

  • Permanently installed carpeting 

  • Permanently installed cabinets, paneling and wallboards

  • Cooking stoves, refrigerators and built-in appliances 

  • Well-water pumps and tanks, solar energy equipment and fuel tanks

Contents coverage will protect the following:

  • Furniture

  • Clothing

  • Electronics

  • Washers, dryers, portable air conditioners and other appliances

  • Valuables such as jewelry and artwork (up to $2,500)

  • Carpets and rugs 

  • Oher personal belongings 

What isn’t covered by flood insurance?

Damage not covered by NFIP flood insurance includes:

  • Damage caused by pipe bursts (your homeowner’s insurance policy may cover broken pipes)

  • Property outside of your house’s base foundation, including decks, patios and pools

  • Mold and mildew that could have been avoided

  • Living and/or lodging expenses if your house is uninhabitable during repair

  • Vehicles damaged by flooding (comprehensive car insurance typically covers this)

Who needs flood insurance?

If you live in an area that is considered high-risk for flooding, you should purchase flood insurance. This type of coverage is often required if you:

  • Have a mortgage. Lenders usually require flood insurance for properties in flood zones. Additionally, people living in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) with a government-backed mortgage are required to purchase flood insurance. Even if you live outside of a high-risk area, your lender may still require you to have flood insurance.  

  • Received disaster assistance. If you received a FEMA grant or loan-interest loan from the Small Business Administration as a result of previous flooding, you need to purchase flood insurance if you want to be eligible for emergency assistance in the future. 

Even if you aren’t required to purchase flood insurance or live in a location that isn’t currently considered high risk, you may still want to purchase coverage. More than 40% of NFIP claims filed from 2014 to 2018 did not occur in a high risk area. Even one inch of water can require $25,000 worth of repairs to a home.

While high-risk areas have a one-in-four chance of flooding during a 30-year-mortgage, low- to moderate-risk communities are also susceptible to flooding due to poor infrastructure, broken water mains, snow melt, rain and more. 

Flood risks change over time along with natural variations in climate and landscape. The FEMA Flood Map Service Center and your local government resources can help you determine if flood insurance is a wise investment for you.

How much is flood insurance?

The average annual cost of flood insurance through the NFIP is $995, according to a survey of NFIP rates across the nation. 

How much you pay for coverage will depend on the following:

  • Location of and flooding risk to your property

  • Composition and layout of your home, including building materials, number of floors and any elevated machinery, such as a central air conditioning unit or hot water heater

  • Type and use of your property 

  • Type of policy you purchase (building only or building and contents)

  • The amount of coverage you purchase

  • The deductible you select

  • Whether you purchase coverage from NFIP or a private insurer

Average cost of NFIP flood insurance by state 

StateAverage annual cost of NFIP flood insurance
Vermont$1,610
Connecticut$1,498
Alabama$732
Alaska$947
Arizona$767
Arkansas$964
California$904
Colorado$997
Delaware$754
Florida$624
Georgia$732
Hawaii$680
Idaho$809
Illinois$1,124
Indiana$1,159
Iowa$1,206
Kansas$1,051
Kentucky$1,176
Louisiana$747
Maine$1,128
Maryland$629
Massachusetts$1,308
Michigan$1,074
Minnesota$996
Mississippi$841
Missouri $1,237
Montana$889
Nebraska$1,077
Nevada$799
New Hampshire$1,094
New Jersey$960
New Mexico$966
New York$1,273
North Carolina$751
North Dakota$830
Ohio$1,226
Oklahoma$991
Oregon$968
Pennsylvania$1,390
Rhode Island$1,452
South Carolina$630
South Dakota$1,109
Tennessee$986
Texas$669
Utah$733
Virginia$805
Washington$991
West Virginia$1,337
Wisconsin$1,071
Wyoming$1,082
AVERAGE$995

How to buy flood Insurance

Homeowners can buy flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program or from a private insurer. 

National Flood Insurance Program

The NFIP is managed by FEMA, an official arm of the United States government, which works with more than 50 private insurance companies to provide flood protection nationwide. 

NFIP offers flood insurance with both building and contents coverage for home and business owners, as well as contents coverage for renters. Homeowners can purchase up to $250,000 in building coverage and both homeowners and renters can purchase up to $100,000 in contents coverage. 

To purchase a policy through the NFIP, you must live in one of the 23,000 U.S. communities that participate in the federal program. 

Federal flood insurance policies written by insurance companies that participate in the Wrote Your Own (WYO) program. A contractual agreement between insurance companies and FEMA, the WYO program allows insurance companies to write and service federal flood insurance policies under their own name, while still being underwritten by the NFIP itself. 

The easiest way to purchase NFIP flood insurance is by calling your existing insurance provider. If you don’t have an insurance agent, you can locate a company that sells flood insurance at FloodSmart.gov or by calling the NFIP directly at 877-336-2627. 

NFIP policies have a duration of one year and typically include a 30-day waiting period before the coverage goes into effect. As such, it’s important you purchase coverage well before an anticipated storm. 

Private flood insurance 

Private flood insurance is becoming increasingly popular as more companies enter the market and gain access to sophisticated models to predict risk, according to the Insurance Information Institute. 

One of the primary reasons homeowners may choose private flood insurance is due to higher policy limits. The NFIP only provides up to $250,000 in building coverage and $100,000 in contents coverage. 

Private companies can offer coverage that extend past the NFIP caps, with some companies offering up to $5 million in building coverage and $1 million for personal belongings. 

Private flood insurance policies may also have shorter waiting periods than NFIP coverage and cover loss of use expenses, like for temporary lodging or restaurant meals while your home is being rebuilt after a flood. Policy features vary, however, so always check with a potential insurance provider before purchasing coverage. 

A private flood insurance policy can act as supplemental insurance to bridge a coverage gap or it can act as a standalone policy. However, keep in mind that private insurance companies can decline your request for coverage or cancel your policy if the property is considered too risky by the insurer.

NFIP vs. private flood insurance

NFIPPrivate flood insurance
Can only purchase up to $250,000 in building coverage and $100,000 in contents coverageTypically offers coverage with higher building and contents limits
Backed by the federal governmentBacked by the insurer
30-day waiting periodShorter waiting period
Does not cover loss of use/lodgingTypically covers loss of use/lodging

Tip: When deciding if you need flood insurance, make sure to go over every detail of your standard homeowners insurance and NFIP flood insurance. There are many limitations around what’s covered and not covered.

Frequently asked questions

Does homeowners insurance cover flooding?

No, a standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flooding. In order to cover your house and belongings for damage from floodwaters, you must purchase flood insurance through the NFIP or from a private insurance agency.

Is flood insurance required?
Can you shop around for flood insurance?

About the Authors

Leslie Ventura

Leslie Ventura

Leslie is a freelance finance and lifestyle writer from Chicago who’s been writing professionally since 2010. Prior to her freelance career, Leslie was a reporter for the Las Vegas Weekly where she regularly interviewed some of the world's top entertainers and entrepreneurs. 

Leslie has a passion for making the intimidating world of finance accessible to everyone, especially people of color and the LGBTQ community. Having started her own personal finance journey in her early 30s, she believes it’s never too late to start investing in yourself.

Full bio
 Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

I am the deputy editor of insurance and an experienced journalist and editor. My work and insights have been featured in MSN, Lifehacker, Kiplinger, Propertycasualty360 and more.

Full bio
Jennifer Lobb

Jennifer Lobb

Jennifer is an experienced insurance and personal finance writer. For nearly a decade, she’s helped consumers make educated decisions about the products that protect their finances, families and homes. 

Prior to joining Sound Dollar, Jennifer served as the deputy editor of insurance at Forbes Advisor and was an insurance staff writer and editor at U.S. News.  She also spent several years covering finance and insurance for various financial media sites, including LendingTree and Investopedia.

Full bio

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