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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.

Average cost
Difference from average
3Rhode Island$1,41893.2%
6West Virginia$1,27373.4%
7New York$1,23167.7%
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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 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.

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.

"V" Zone - no elevation certificate
"V" Zone
"A" Zone
"B" Zone
New Jersey$13,658$9,219$2,715$491

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

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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.

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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.

Owner occupied housing units
Residential policies in force
Percent of homes insured
4South Carolina1,388,492201,04014.5%
6New Jersey2,081,798201,7349.7%
9North Dakota198,41112,3766.2%
10North Carolina2,642,709133,0595.0%
12Rhode Island251,14610,7194.3%
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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.

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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.

Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst is a Data Writer at ValuePenguin who writes about insurance. His analysis has been featured in Forbes, MSN, USA News and Fox News, among others. He's also appeared in interviews broadcast by ABC and the CW. He previously taught composition and research at Wright State University.

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.