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Average Cost of Flood Insurance 2021

Average Cost of Flood Insurance 2021

The average flood insurance policy obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) costs $734 per year.

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Your own rates may be different than average. The cost of an individual flood policy will depend on how much coverage you need and your proximity to the nearest body of water. Below 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 $920 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.

Rank
State
Average cost
Difference from average
1Vermont$1,512106.0%
2Connecticut$1,471100.4%
3Rhode Island$1,41893.2%
4Pennsylvania$1,30577.8%
5Massachusetts$1,29476.3%
6West Virginia$1,27373.4%
7New York$1,23167.7%
8Missouri$1,15256.9%
9Ohio$1,15156.8%
10Maine$1,11952.4%
11Iowa$1,11551.9%
12Indiana$1,10049.9%
Show All Rows

Data calculated by dividing each state's total written premiums by number of flood insurance policies in force

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The average cost of flood insurance appears to be cheaper in the South, but quite high in the Northeast and Midwest. 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 of the five most expensive places to insure a property against flooding. Nearby Pennsylvania ranked fourth, between Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

States with the most expensive flood insurance

States with the lowest average flood insurance costs

The three flood-prone states of Louisiana, Texas and Florida were among the more affordable places to find NFIP coverage. In fact, Florida was the cheapest place to get flood insurance, on average. 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.

States with the cheapest flood insurance

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 (TFIA), operates in 48 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. Below we've collected sample quotes using three FEMA-designated flood zones in three states, as well as for homes without an elevation certificate from FEMA. You’ll see that similar homes have fairly similar prices across these states — with rates being identical in Texas and Florida.

State
"V" Zone - no elevation certificate
"V" Zone
"A" Zone
"B" Zone
New Jersey$13,658$9,219$2,715$491
Florida$13,660$9,222$2,717$491
Texas$13,660$9,222$2,717$491

Annual premiums for a two-story house with $250,000 of dwelling coverage, $100,000 of contents coverage and $5,000 deductible

As the table shows, private flood insurance pricing is heavily influenced by FEMA's flood maps. Regardless, the agency's mapping accuracy has drawn 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 your home’s structure, 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. Individual sub-limits will often restrict coverage for valuable items like artwork and furs. 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 a standard home insurance policy rarely covers flood damage. If you've taken a mortgage in an area that's particularly 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. In these areas, homeowners 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, over 90% of owner-occupied homes have homeowners insurance. Only 6% 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 (40.3%)51. Utah (0.5%)
2. Florida (31.4%)50. Minnesota (0.6%)
3. Hawaii (20.8%)49. Wisconsin (0.7%)
4. South Carolina (14.5%)48. Michigan (0.7%)
5. Texas (12.1%)47. Ohio (0.8%)

Includes Washington, D.C.

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
Residential policies in force
Percent of homes insured
1Louisiana1,157,652466,86540.3%
2Florida5,237,5191,644,58931.4%
3Hawaii279,96058,36720.8%
4South Carolina1,388,492201,04014.5%
5Texas6,179,278750,05512.1%
6New Jersey2,081,798201,7349.7%
7Delaware264,50325,1779.5%
8Mississippi740,65155,2957.5%
9North Dakota198,41112,3766.2%
10North Carolina2,642,709133,0595.0%
11Virginia2,110,71398,0404.6%
12Rhode Island251,14610,7194.3%
Show All Rows

Rank is in descending order of 'Homeowners with flood insurance', which is an estimate based on ratio of NFIP policies in force (FEMA) to owner-occupied housing units (U.S. Census Bureau). Analysis excludes private flood insurance policies.

Expert Insights to Help You Make Smarter Financial Decisions

ValuePenguin has curated an exclusive panel of professionals, spanning various areas of expertise, to help dissect difficult subjects and empower you to make smarter financial decisions. Read on for more auto insurance insights. 

  1. With sea levels rising, do you see the risk of flooding becoming a more prominent worry for homeowners in the future?
  2. Do you believe there will be a point when high-tide flooding transitions from a regional issue to a nationwide problem?
  3. It’s been featured in the news recently that NASA suspects the combination of climate change and the moon’s natural "wobble" could result in record flooding in the 2030s. Is this inference something that people should start planning for now?
  4. What are some measures people can take to effectively mitigate the effects of flooding today?

headshot of expert
  • Chris Karmosky
  • Assistant Professor of Meteorology and Climatology
  • Read Answer

The commentary provided by these industry experts represent their viewpoints and opinions alone.

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headshot of expert

Chris Karmosky

Assistant Professor of Meteorology and Climatology, SUNY Oneonta

With sea levels rising, do you see the risk of flooding becoming a more prominent worry for homeowners in the future?

In short — yes. The recent (2021) report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that flood events will become more frequent and more intense because of climate change. Not only will sea levels be rising, but more frequent and more intense storm systems pile on top of that. So if the same strength storm hits an area that was hit years ago, now the flooding is worse because of sea-level rise. But on top of that, the warming climate means that storms are likely to be even stronger, which also means that flooding will be worse.

This "one-two punch" of stronger storms and higher sea levels is concerning. And while we often think about flooding in coastal regions, inland river and stream flooding can also become more of a problem as the climate changes.

Do you believe there will be a point when high-tide flooding transitions from a regional issue to a nationwide problem?

While high-tide flooding is projected to become worse due to sea-level rise, not all coastlines will be affected by this phenomenon. Coastlines with a steep incline into the ocean, such as on the west coast of the U.S., will experience far less inundation (flooding) than the more level east coast. The East Coast region contains the areas that are already seeing the most significant high-tide flooding, particularly the Mid-Atlantic and the Southeast.

The geometry of the coastline, prevailing wind direction and underlying geology also affect a region’s vulnerability to high-tide flooding. So while more frequent and more intense high-tide flooding events are expected in the coming decades, and some places will experience high-tide flooding that didn’t before, this will remain a regional issue, with perhaps some expansion of the regions affected.

It’s been featured in the news recently that NASA suspects the combination of climate change and the moon’s natural "wobble" could result in record flooding in the 2030s. Is this inference something that people should start planning for now?

It’s always prudent to plan ahead for flooding events. I’m far more concerned not just about the moon’s "wobble" but about the potential for multiple factors to enhance flooding at the same time — specifically sea-level rise added to flooding from existing and now stronger storms. Variations in the lunar cycle have masked some sea-level rise to this point but will begin to enhance sea-level rise in the coming decades.

Should people plan now? Weather forecast models have become so much better even in just the last decade and can forecast flood events several days in advance with impressive results. And while this might be enough time to evacuate from a hurricane, or deploy temporary sandbags, it’s not always enough time to adequately protect waterfront and water-adjacent property. Property improvements can take months or even years to plan and carry out. And of course, local, state and federal government flood mitigation efforts can take much longer. Therefore, it’s imperative that planning for things to get worse in the future begins now.

What are some measures people can take to effectively mitigate the effects of flooding today?

As I am someone with a background in geography, to me this is a question of scale. There are certain smaller-scale things that homeowners can do themselves to mitigate flooding — shoreline protection measures, ensuring effective drainage with proper grading of the property and regularly clearing storm drains of debris. That last one is an often-overlooked measure that can greatly help with flooding, especially in autumn months when fallen leaves regularly clog drains.

Then there are larger-scale issues that go beyond what any single homeowner can take on. This includes the preservation of wetlands (which serve as a natural flooding buffer), reducing the number of paved surfaces and maintenance of levees and storm walls. Proper local and regional planning can provide protection for not just one person or family, but for the whole community.

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The recent (2021) report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that flood events will become more frequent and more intense because of climate change. Not only will sea levels be rising, but more frequent and more intense storm systems pile on top of that. So if the same strength storm hits an area that was hit years ago, now the flooding is worse because of sea-level rise. But on top of that, the warming climate means that storms are likely to be even stronger, which also means that flooding will be worse.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EThis \"one-two punch\" of stronger storms and higher sea levels is concerning. And while we often think about flooding in coastal regions, inland river and stream flooding can also become more of a problem as the climate changes.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Ch4\u003EDo you believe there will be a point when high-tide flooding transitions from a regional issue to a nationwide problem?\u003C\/h4\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EWhile high-tide flooding is projected to become worse due to sea-level rise, not all coastlines will be affected by this phenomenon. Coastlines with a steep incline into the ocean, such as on the west coast of the U.S., will experience far less inundation (flooding) than the more level east coast. The East Coast region contains the areas that are already seeing the most significant high-tide flooding, particularly the Mid-Atlantic and the Southeast.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EThe geometry of the coastline, prevailing wind direction and underlying geology also affect a region\u2019s vulnerability to high-tide flooding. So while more frequent and more intense high-tide flooding events are expected in the coming decades, and some places will experience high-tide flooding that didn\u2019t before, this will remain a regional issue, with perhaps some expansion of the regions affected.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Ch4\u003EIt\u2019s been featured in the news recently that NASA suspects the combination of climate change and the moon\u2019s natural \"wobble\" could result in record flooding in the 2030s. Is this inference something that people should start planning for now?\u003C\/h4\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EIt\u2019s always prudent to plan ahead for flooding events. I\u2019m far more concerned not just about the moon\u2019s \"wobble\" but about the potential for multiple factors to enhance flooding at the same time \u2014 specifically sea-level rise added to flooding from existing and now stronger storms. Variations in the lunar cycle have masked some sea-level rise to this point but will begin to enhance sea-level rise in the coming decades.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EShould people plan now? Weather forecast models have become so much better even in just the last decade and can forecast flood events several days in advance with impressive results. And while this might be enough time to evacuate from a hurricane, or deploy temporary sandbags, it\u2019s not always enough time to adequately protect waterfront and water-adjacent property. Property improvements can take months or even years to plan and carry out. And of course, local, state and federal government flood mitigation efforts can take much longer. Therefore, it\u2019s imperative that planning for things to get worse in the future begins now.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Ch4\u003EWhat are some measures people can take to effectively mitigate the effects of flooding today?\u003C\/h4\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EAs I am someone with a background in geography, to me this is a question of scale. There are certain smaller-scale things that homeowners can do themselves to mitigate flooding \u2014 shoreline protection measures, ensuring effective drainage with proper grading of the property and regularly clearing storm drains of debris. That last one is an often-overlooked measure that can greatly help with flooding, especially in autumn months when fallen leaves regularly clog drains.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EThen there are larger-scale issues that go beyond what any single homeowner can take on. This includes the preservation of wetlands (which serve as a natural flooding buffer), reducing the number of paved surfaces and maintenance of levees and storm walls. Proper local and regional planning can provide protection for not just one person or family, but for the whole community.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E\n\n\u003C\/div\u003E\n","padding":"double"}

Methodology

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 November 2020. 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.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.