Does Renters Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

Although standard renters insurance policies cover some forms of water damage to your personal property, renters insurance does not cover flood damage to your belongings due to weather. For example, water damage caused to your belongings by a burst pipe may be covered under a renters insurance policy, but damage caused to the same belongings by the overflow of a nearby body of water won't be. Flood insurance for renters needs to be purchased in the form of a separate flood insurance policy.

When Does Renters Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

As a general rule, renters insurance will not cover damage to your belongings caused by water coming from outside the house, as this is considered flood damage rather than water damage. So if there were a storm surge that flooded your neighborhood, ruining your belongings, your insurer would not reimburse you for the damage. That also applies if sewage overflows and enters your home.

However, there are some cases in which tenants are covered for non-flood water damage due to internal leaks. Renters insurance often covers water damage unrelated to weather, such as plumbing leaks. Even if water damage is related to weather, tenants could be covered if the event is not classified as flood damage. For example, if a violent storm results in a leaking ceiling damaging your personal belongings, your renters insurance would cover the damage even though it is weather-related. However, in this instance you should avoid filing a claim: Your landlord is on the hook, as they are responsible for the structural integrity of their rental property and any damages resulting from poor maintenance.

What Does Flood Insurance For Renters Cover?

Renters flood insurance, also called flood insurance contents coverage, is coverage you will need to purchase separately from your standard renters insurance policy. As a renter, you just need to purchase flood insurance that protects your belongings. You do not have to worry about the structure of the home—that is the landlord's concern. With renters flood insurance you can protect all of the following and more from flood damage:

  • Clothes
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Curtains
  • Portable and window air conditioners
  • Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers
  • Carpets, unless they were installed over an unfinished floor
  • Clothes washers and dryers
  • Valuable items such as furs and artwork up to $2,500
  • Food freezers and the food in them (not refrigerators)

We recommend you buy the same amount of flood coverage as you have for personal property on your renters insurance policy. You can estimate the value of your belongings yourself by making a home inventory. If you need assistance, many insurers such as Allstate have personal property calculators on online that can help in cataloging all your belongings.

Does Renters Flood Insurance Cover Possessions In Your Basement?

If the home you're renting has a basement, fewer types of possessions kept there are covered by flood insurance than in the rest of your home. The following is the only personal property flood insurance covers in a renter's flooded basement:

  • Washers and dryers
  • Food freezers and the food in them (but not refrigerators)
  • Portable and window air conditioners

Considering a basement is especially vulnerable to flooding hazards, be sure to store valuable possessions in other parts of the house if you want them to be covered by flood insurance.

Do You Need Flood Insurance As a Renter?

We recommend that you get renters flood insurance if you're a renter living in a moderate to high flood risk area and encourage you to consider buying it even if you live in lower-risk areas. Renters on the Florida coast, for example, may need flood insurance more than most tenants, but unless you're living in an elevated apartment or home, you don't want to underestimate your risk. To find out whether you live in a high-risk flood zone, you can go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website and look up your address. FEMA divides areas based on their elevation and proximity to water and gives them five levels of risk. In the riskiest "V" zone, you have a 1% chance every year of having a flood in your home and a 25% chance over 30 years. However, flood damage can also happen in lower-risk areas, with nearly a quarter of all flood claims coming from homes in the lower-risk B, C, and X zones. The table below is our recommendations on getting flood insurance based on your zone.

ZoneShould you get flood insurance?
VYes
AYes
BHighly recommended
CEncouraged
XEncouraged

If you are still unsure of whether to get flood insurance, we also reviewed data from over 2,000 counties and determined the top 300 counties with the most flood damage per rented household. If you see your county toward the top of the list, perhaps you should consider getting a flood insurance policy—if a place can get a major flood once it can always happen again.

RankCountyStateNumber of Rented HouseholdsProperty Damage (2008 to 2016)Property Damage per Rented Households
1TunicaMS2136$1,000,400,000$468,352
2OrleansVT2762$500,184,000$181,095
3FranklinVT4807$500,760,000$104,173
4GibsonTN5628$500,001,000$88,842
5TiogaNY4453$325,000,000$72,985
6MonroeAR1161$38,995,000$33,587
7OwenIN1651$50,065,500$30,324
8LinnIA24909$750,000,000$30,110
9PrairieAR904$26,317,000$29,112
10LouisaIA919$20,975,000$22,824
11DelawareIA1420$29,300,000$20,634
12RenvilleND251$5,096,000$20,303
13FremontIA706$13,732,000$19,450
14ClayIN2552$45,025,750$17,643
15WashingtonCO570$10,000,000$17,544
16BartholomewIN9174$150,063,000$16,357
17JonesIA1946$31,250,000$16,059
18SharpAR1534$23,851,000$15,548
19NelsonND285$4,165,000$14,614
20ShelbyTN140611$2,050,160,000$14,580
21IzardAR1113$15,845,000$14,236
22BroomeNY28278$400,840,000$14,175
23East CarrollLA873$12,000,000$13,746
24MorganIN5849$80,083,000$13,692
25MusselshellMT479$6,000,000$12,526
26DavidsonTN126853$1,500,000,000$11,825
27LincolnNM2141$25,000,000$11,677
28WashingtonFL1949$22,570,000$11,580
29MchenryND474$5,327,000$11,238
30WabashaMN1615$17,790,000$11,015
31NewtonAR646$6,500,000$10,062
32MartinIN814$8,115,500$9,970
33JohnsonIA24068$230,700,000$9,585
34SteeleMN3234$30,800,000$9,524
35StarrTX3989$37,850,000$9,489
36MingoWV2545$24,005,000$9,432
37JacksonTN1061$10,000,000$9,425
38WardND10968$101,731,000$9,275
39WayneMO1274$11,305,000$8,874
40OtsegoNY6624$58,000,000$8,756
41PetroleumMT59$515,000$8,729
42SullivanIN1761$15,086,500$8,567
43BrewsterTX1659$14,000,000$8,439
44CarrollIN1586$13,376,000$8,434
45MorganCO3720$30,725,000$8,259
46Sweet GrassMT485$4,000,000$8,247
47TensasLA635$5,200,000$8,189
48WyomingPA2579$20,000,000$7,755
49IssaquenaMS129$1,000,000$7,752
50SomersetNJ28235$218,000,000$7,721
51JacksonIN4654$35,199,250$7,563
52LoupNE68$500,000$7,353
53WeldCO31396$230,340,000$7,337
54GreeneIN2858$20,144,600$7,048
55HunterdonNJ7516$52,500,000$6,985
56HolmesFL1575$10,905,000$6,924
57CarltonMN2762$19,000,000$6,879
58DaviessIN2961$20,079,500$6,781
59McleanND840$5,555,000$6,613
60BensonND722$4,720,000$6,537
61StoneAR1198$7,770,000$6,486
62WyomingWV1588$10,035,000$6,319
63WoodruffAR1057$6,589,000$6,234
64ClarkMO667$4,125,000$6,184
65SalineIL2737$16,880,000$6,167
66ClaytonIA1763$10,860,000$6,160
67KidderND219$1,345,000$6,142
68AntelopeNE667$4,000,000$5,997
69BoulderCO49783$297,000,000$5,966
70WellsND411$2,450,000$5,961
71MarshallIL929$5,500,000$5,920
72LivingstonKY691$4,087,000$5,915
73OliverND117$687,000$5,872
74AcadiaLA6826$39,900,000$5,845
75FultonAR1024$5,920,000$5,781
76IndependenceAR4111$23,657,000$5,755
77Jefferson DavisLA2886$16,601,000$5,752
78WoodfordIL2416$13,800,000$5,712
79BollingerMO914$5,155,000$5,640
80HarrisonIA1290$7,175,000$5,562
81SearcyAR814$4,450,000$5,467
82SanbornSD210$1,100,000$5,238
83OvertonTN1932$10,002,000$5,177
84HaakonSD194$1,000,000$5,155
85BentonIA1946$10,000,000$5,139
86VermilionLA5462$27,800,000$5,090
87LawrenceAR2009$10,130,000$5,042
88MononaIA1016$5,077,000$4,997
89MercerND770$3,808,000$4,945
90MorrisNJ46961$229,350,000$4,884
91PulaskiIL590$2,853,000$4,836
92MillsIA1110$5,109,000$4,603
93CheathamTN2731$12,500,000$4,577
94AvoyellesLA4205$19,025,000$4,524
95KeokukIA846$3,820,000$4,515
96HoustonMN1450$6,520,000$4,497
97PerryTN623$2,800,000$4,494
98CarterKY2267$10,131,000$4,469
99ChattoogaGA2717$11,922,000$4,388
100AlexanderIL856$3,695,000$4,317
101DunnND422$1,820,000$4,313
102CalhounFL1164$4,840,000$4,158
103MasonIL1251$5,000,000$3,997
104CrawfordWI1655$6,551,000$3,958
105EmmonsND268$1,048,000$3,910
106GallatinIL483$1,883,000$3,899
107McleanKY820$3,090,000$3,768
108DauphinPA40083$150,000,000$3,742
109WatonwanMN1050$3,900,000$3,714
110DouglasWI5661$21,000,000$3,710
111KnoxIN5003$18,252,250$3,648
112HansonSD138$500,000$3,623
113SibleyMN1133$3,960,000$3,495
114CalhounAR498$1,740,000$3,494
115HardingSD147$510,000$3,469
116LawrenceIN4372$15,117,500$3,458
117JacksonAR2073$7,150,000$3,449
118CaldwellLA878$3,000,000$3,417
119EvangelineLA4150$14,100,000$3,398
120ButlerIA1137$3,861,000$3,396
121MortonND3179$10,793,000$3,395
122VigoIN14972$50,244,000$3,356
123BradfordPA6427$21,300,000$3,314
124PopeIL327$1,081,000$3,306
125FayetteIA2103$6,857,000$3,261
126OsceolaMI1875$6,000,000$3,200
127StoryIA16803$52,665,000$3,134
128StantonNE483$1,510,000$3,126
129FentressTN1619$5,026,000$3,104
130LakeMI973$3,000,000$3,083
131VernonWI2524$7,667,000$3,038
132WindsorVT6818$20,275,000$2,974
133GuadalupeNM525$1,550,000$2,952
134CherokeeGA17961$53,005,000$2,951
135PerryAR834$2,459,000$2,948
136RandolphAR1900$5,550,000$2,921
137CarterMT139$400,000$2,878
138JuneauWI2589$7,450,000$2,878
139FremontWY4476$12,540,000$2,802
140SmithKS368$1,030,000$2,799
141NewaygoMI3242$9,000,000$2,776
142FranklinNY5398$14,865,000$2,754
143Van BurenIA561$1,540,000$2,745
144ColfaxNE928$2,500,000$2,694
145ClevelandAR670$1,800,000$2,687
146Big HornMT1493$4,000,000$2,679
147DallasAR944$2,500,000$2,648
148OsborneKS385$1,015,000$2,636
149ConcordiaLA1994$5,201,000$2,608
150LyonIA793$2,050,000$2,585
151RamseyND1862$4,715,000$2,532
152RichlandWI1821$4,601,000$2,527
153IowaIA1494$3,747,000$2,508
154La PazAZ2089$5,200,000$2,489
155McdowellWV1663$4,005,000$2,408
156FranklinMA9438$22,563,000$2,391
157MuscatineIA4245$9,975,000$2,350
158BuchananIA1759$4,100,000$2,331
159MaconTN2355$5,455,000$2,316
160NewtonTX875$2,021,000$2,310
161EssexNY4282$9,815,000$2,292
162DeshaAR1977$4,515,000$2,284
163SwainNC1558$3,545,000$2,275
164LarimerCO48018$109,000,000$2,270
165BottineauND575$1,297,000$2,256
166ClayAR1752$3,950,000$2,255
167StillwaterMT889$2,000,000$2,250
168WashingtonVT7419$16,432,000$2,215
169BallardKY721$1,580,000$2,191
170PutnamTN11459$25,109,000$2,191
171LeeIA3741$8,075,000$2,159
172CedarIA1622$3,500,000$2,158
173JohnsonNE467$1,000,000$2,141
174BlaineNE61$130,000$2,131
175HamlinSD377$800,000$2,122
176KittitasWA7629$16,150,000$2,117
177WhiteAR9555$19,972,000$2,090
178OrangeVT2570$5,365,000$2,088
179JohnsonIL839$1,730,000$2,062
180UnionLA1994$4,000,000$2,006
181FultonIL3292$6,600,000$2,005
182WaltonFL7400$14,760,000$1,995
183MadisonFL1763$3,500,000$1,985
184KingsburySD506$1,000,000$1,976
185ButteSD1177$2,325,000$1,975
186CameronLA330$650,000$1,970
187DyerTN5418$10,451,000$1,929
188RapidesLA17427$33,455,000$1,920
189JacksonFL4469$8,570,000$1,918
190ColumbiaPA8145$15,500,000$1,903
191LoganCO2654$5,000,000$1,884
192WashingtonRI13266$24,810,000$1,870
193MassacIL1481$2,750,000$1,857
194MarionMO3832$7,111,000$1,856
195Big HornWY1215$2,211,500$1,820
196WinneshiekIA1900$3,450,000$1,816
197LincolnAR964$1,750,000$1,815
198PerkinsSD332$600,000$1,807
199HickmanTN2023$3,600,000$1,780
200ButlerMO5936$10,480,000$1,765
201ChicotAR1494$2,600,000$1,740
202BurleighND12322$21,088,000$1,711
203JacksonWI1951$3,337,300$1,711
204GrantND259$442,000$1,707
205TazewellIL12723$21,700,000$1,706
206MercerNJ46152$77,500,000$1,679
207HutchinsonSD627$1,050,000$1,675
208FillmoreMN1752$2,895,000$1,652
209StoddardMO3558$5,850,000$1,644
210MecostaMI4690$7,600,000$1,620
211CaledoniaVT3243$5,255,000$1,620
212SussexNJ8357$13,510,000$1,617
213CarrollGA13445$21,620,000$1,608
214RichardsonNE926$1,481,000$1,599
215YellAR2386$3,796,000$1,591
216OceanaMI1891$3,000,000$1,586
217AllamakeeIA1267$2,000,000$1,579
218TrempealeauWI3057$4,798,640$1,570
219WarrenNJ10436$16,200,000$1,552
220CarterMO668$1,035,000$1,549
221FosterND392$605,000$1,543
222DodgeMN1328$2,027,500$1,527
223MadisonLA1462$2,200,000$1,505
224MitchellIA894$1,345,000$1,504
225OuachitaAR3256$4,861,000$1,493
226LamoilleVT3042$4,535,000$1,491
227CumberlandNJ16847$25,000,000$1,484
228SummitUT3515$5,110,000$1,454
229HendersonIL603$875,250$1,451
230McphersonNE52$75,000$1,442
231DickeyND589$849,000$1,441
232SalemNJ6953$10,000,000$1,438
233HendersonKY6571$9,330,000$1,420
234New MadridMO2678$3,775,000$1,410
235MontgomeryAR732$1,025,000$1,400
236ReevesTX1073$1,502,300$1,400
237Van BurenAR1584$2,215,000$1,398
238IoniaMI5027$7,000,000$1,392
239CarverMN6815$9,440,000$1,385
240KaneUT726$1,005,000$1,384
241CarbonMT1157$1,600,000$1,383
242BakerGA362$500,000$1,381
243OntonagonMI399$550,000$1,378
244WayneIA541$745,000$1,377
245GilmerWV764$1,050,000$1,374
246KentRI19709$27,012,000$1,371
247WashingtonIA2299$3,148,000$1,369
248BurlingtonNJ37334$51,000,000$1,366
249BarryMI3713$5,000,000$1,347
250KossuthIA1404$1,890,000$1,346
251ArkansasAR2690$3,615,000$1,344
252Lac Qui ParleMN573$765,000$1,335
253WapelloIA3872$5,156,000$1,332
254Red RiverLA752$1,000,000$1,330
255JacksonSD385$505,000$1,312
256CleburneAR2490$3,250,000$1,305
257LafayetteFL656$856,000$1,305
258Des MoinesIA4669$6,085,000$1,303
259WashingtonIN2318$3,005,000$1,296
260PikeAR1046$1,350,000$1,291
261LoganND134$171,000$1,276
262WebsterKY1188$1,510,000$1,271
263LucasIA791$1,005,000$1,271
264CarlisleKY360$450,000$1,250
265MahaskaIA2578$3,218,000$1,248
266DouglasGA15360$19,140,000$1,246
267WashingtonUT15845$19,740,000$1,246
268ZiebachSD403$500,000$1,241
269DelawareNY4937$6,110,000$1,238
270ValleyMT908$1,120,000$1,233
271GreenupKY2964$3,625,000$1,223
272CurryOR3298$4,000,000$1,213
273DivideND247$298,000$1,206
274HettingerND181$218,000$1,204
275BaxterAR4408$5,300,000$1,202
276UnionIL1645$1,970,000$1,198
277EmmetIA974$1,165,000$1,196
278HancockIL1684$2,000,000$1,188
279WayneUT253$300,000$1,186
280MontagueTX1689$2,000,000$1,184
281HumboldtIA1021$1,190,000$1,166
282ScottMN8169$9,400,000$1,151
283HowardIA790$905,000$1,146
284WalkerGA6777$7,560,000$1,116
285PeoriaIL25212$28,000,000$1,111
286RipleyMO1265$1,403,000$1,109
287TillamookOR3431$3,800,000$1,108
288VolusiaFL62128$68,600,000$1,104
289ClareMI2736$3,000,000$1,096
290BooneAR4109$4,500,000$1,095
291ClarkAR3087$3,330,000$1,079
292AroostookME8563$9,222,000$1,077
293MccrackenKY9375$10,091,000$1,076
294FloydIA1758$1,868,000$1,063
295IroquoisIL2826$3,000,000$1,062
296BienvilleLA1426$1,500,000$1,052
297LuzernePA41452$43,565,000$1,051
298HoustonTN763$801,000$1,050
299FultonKY983$1,030,000$1,048
300BristolRI5658$5,913,000$1,045

How to Buy Flood Insurance for a Rental Property

Flood insurance for renters is easily attainable through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a government-run program that is by far the largest flood insurer in the country. However, as you cannot buy flood insurance directly from the NFIP, you will have to purchase an NFIP-backed policy through an insurance agent.

Currently there are over 80 insurers in partnership with the NFIP, so it is very likely that the top renters insurance companies will be able to provide a flood policy. One major exception is State Farm, which pulled out of its partnership with the NFIP in 2010. If State Farm is your current insurer, you may have to go to another company or agency for your flood insurance policy. Additionally, to be eligible to purchase a NFIP backed flood insurance policy your neighborhood also has to be a participating member of the NFIP - though virtually all towns located near bodies of water are. You can check your locality's participation here.

Private Flood Insurance for Renters

Another option besides the NFIP is a private flood insurance company. This industry is still small, with private flood insurance policies estimated to be only 3.5% to 4.5% of primary residential flood policies nationwide. However, the private market is growing, and it does provide some competitive advantages for renters over government-sponsored insurance. For one, funding to the NFIP could be at risk given that Congress will only reauthorize the program for short periods of time. If Congress were to allow funding to the NFIP to lapse, it could severely impact how much coverage the program could afford to give. Another benefit of private flood insurance for renters is that it offers higher limits than the NFIP—though the maximum contents limit of $100,000 by the NFIP is likely sufficient to cover most people's personal belongings.

There are risks associated with purchasing a renters flood insurance policy from a private flood insurer, however. One is that private insurers' ability to assess flood insurance risk is unproven, and the market could be upended by a major disaster. If your private insurer underestimates how much it will have to pay out in a major flooding event, they may be unable to pay all of their claims—as a private business they are not backstopped by the government like the NFIP. Also, unlike the NFIP, private insurers can drop your coverage if they deem you too risky.

Currently, we view the best bet for private renters flood insurance to be the Flood Insurance Agency. It is backed by AIG and offers policies in 34 states. Assurant has also become one of the largest players in the flood insurance market in recent years, offering policies in 10 states. If you live in California and Florida, you also may have some regional options for private flood insurance such as Golden Bear and TypTap.

How Much Does Renters Flood Insurance Cost?

Prices for renters flood insurance can range anywhere from below $100 in low-risk areas to thousands of dollars per year in high-risk flood zones. Flood insurance for renters can be expensive, but if you're renting an apartment or home in a place at risk for flood damage you should investigate your options to ensure you're appropriately covered. The following are some examples of NFIP flood insurance quotes available for contents-only coverage. You can get NFIP quotes yourself from major insurers. However, if you reside in a high-risk zone, such as a zone V, quotes may not be available online and your actual quote could be substantially more expensive than these examples.

NFIP contents-only coverage

Coverage amountAnnual premium
$40,000$214
$60,000$256
$100,000$305

If you intend to purchase private, you may be able to find quotes online for both low and high-risk flood zones. We obtained quotes from The Flood Insurance Agency to give you a rough idea of what different renters flood insurance policies may cost.

Flood zoneCoverage amountAnnual premium
A$40,000$547
$60,000$622
$100,000$919
V$40,000$1,590
$60,000$2,210
$100,000$3,913
B/C/X$40,000$327
$60,000$377
$100,000$427
Quotes are for a single family primary residence with a $5,000 deductible

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