Here, we've listed the average premium for flood insurance in each state and explore the factors that lead to the geographic variation in costs.
Average cost of flood insurance by state
Both homeowners and renters can access flood insurance coverage from the NFIP, which is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). We found the average annual premiums for flood insurance vary by up to $884 between states.
The table below shows what the average homeowner in each state pays for flood insurance. Keep in mind that differences in location and the requested level of coverage can lead to major variations in cost.
|Cost rank||State||Average annual cost||% difference from U.S. average|
|37||District Of Columbia||$734||3.7%|
Visualized on a map, the average cost of flood insurance appears to be cheaper in the South, but quite high in the Northeast and Midwestern states. However, prices can be different within the same state depending on whether you look for NFIP policies or private insurers.
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States with the highest average flood insurance costs
The most expensive NFIP flood insurance premiums were in New England: Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts were the four most expensive places to insure a property against flooding. Nearby Pennsylvania ranked fifth.
States with the lowest average flood insurance costs
The three flood-prone states of Louisiana, Texas and Louisiana were among the most affordable places to find NFIP coverage. Costs by state come down to the amount of flood coverage homeowners receive on their policies, which can be, in part, determined by flood zones. Based on mean flood insurance costs, Utah and Georgia are also relatively affordable.
Cost of private flood insurance
Private flood insurance has recently grown in popularity as an alternative to the NFIP, but not all states have access to a private flood insurance company. One of the largest private insurers, the Flood Insurance Agency, operates in 37 states and is currently the only company offering online quotes.
Rates aren't affected by state borders so much as by your distance from the water's edge. Here, we've collected sample quotes using three different FEMA-designated flood zones in three different states.
|State||"V" Zone||"A" Zone||"B" Zone and Lower|
As the table shows, private flood insurance pricing is heavily influenced by FEMA's flood maps. Regardless, the agency's mapping accuracy has drawn persistent criticism from both insurers and homeowners.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
Like homeowners insurance, private flood insurance provides coverage for both your building property and personal property. In contrast, NFIP flood insurance requires you to buy these two coverages separately.
Building property coverage will reimburse you for flood damage to the structure of your home, up to your policy limit. This includes the foundation, electrical and plumbing systems, HVAC systems and appliances such as refrigerators and stoves.
Personal property coverage will pay for flood damage to your personal belongings. This includes personal belongings ranging from furniture and portable appliances to clothes and food. Coverage for valuable items like artwork and furs will often be restricted by individual sub-limits. For an NFIP policy, these sub-limits are set at $2,500.
NFIP policies are limited in their coverage. Private flood insurers can offer higher limits, making them preferable for homeowners with more assets to consider.
Do I Need Flood Insurance?
Many homeowners are unaware that flood damage is almost never covered in a standard home insurance policy. If you've taken a mortgage in an area that's especially vulnerable to flooding, your lender probably required you to buy additional flood-specific coverage (as mandated by federal regulations).
If you live in a high-risk flood zone and you don't have flood insurance, you should seriously consider it. According to FEMA, floods are the most common natural disaster in the country. You can find out if you live in a high-risk flood zone by looking up your address on the FEMA Flood Map Service Center.
Even if you don't live in a high-risk zone, you should consider purchasing flood insurance. No property has zero risk of flooding: In fact, approximately 25% of all flood insurance claims are made in low-to-moderate flood risk areas. Homeowners in these areas qualify for FEMA's "Preferred Risk Policy", available at cheaper rates as low as $129 per year for dwelling and contents coverage.
Are Homeowners Covered Against Flood Damage?
Lenders usually only require borrowers to buy flood insurance if their homes are in a high-risk area for flooding. This means flood insurance policies are far less widespread than home insurance, which is required on virtually every mortgage.
Nationwide, about 91% of owner-occupied homes have homeowners insurance. Only 7% have an NFIP flood insurance policy.
The ratio of flood insurance coverage varies by state. Residents in coastal states tend to buy flood insurance policies in much higher numbers than inland areas. This is reflected in the states with the highest and lowest ratios of active flood insurance:
|Most insured states||Least Insured states|
|1. Louisiana (43.9%)||51. Utah (0.6%)|
|2. Florida (33.9%)||50. Michigan (0.7%)|
|3. Hawaii (23.2%)||49. Minnesota (0.8%)|
|4. South Carolina (15.6%)||48. Wisconsin (0.8%)|
|5. Texas (12.5%)||47. Ohio (1.0%)|
Use the table below for a full analysis of the data on written flood premiums and policies in force for each state, according to FEMA's data.
|Rank||State||Owner-occupied housing units||NFIP flood insurance policies in force||% of homes with flood insurance|
|30||District of Columbia||121,540||2,102||1.7%|
For our analysis of U.S. flood insurance costs, we referred to the most recently available rate data and state-specific breakdowns from the National Flood Insurance Program. The NFIP's latest release was published in June 2019. Our quote data for private flood insurance premiums were based on sample addresses from Florida, Texas and New Jersey for each of the three FEMA-designated flood zones.