Does Renters Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

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Standard renters insurance policies will not cover the contents of your rental home if you are flooded due to weather. Flooding from internal leaks are covered. To have coverage for flood damage related to Mother Nature, you need to have a separate flood insurance policy. We'll explore below how as a renter you can insure yourself against flood damage from natural disasters.

When Does Renters Insurance Cover Flood Damage

Renters insurance will never cover damage to your belongings caused by a flood from Mother Nature. So if there was a storm surge that flooded your rental, ruining your belongings, you would not be reimbursed for their replacement. That also applies if sewage overflows and enters your home. The only time your rental home is covered by flooding is if the flood is from an internal leak, and was caused by either a pipe burst, leaking AC unit, overflowing bathtub, etc. Anything weather-related, you are out of luck.

What Does Renters Flood Insurance Cover?

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 would be protected for all of the following:

  • Clothes
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Curtains
  • Portable and window air conditioners (easily moved or relocated)
  • Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers
  • Carpets not included in building coverage (carpet installed over wood floors, etc.)
  • Clothes washers and dryers
  • Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)
  • Food freezers and the food in them (but not refrigerators)

There are some important exclusions. If the home you're renting has a basement, what's covered down there is different from what's covered in the rest of the home. The following is the only personal property covered in a basement:

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

As for how much coverage you should have, we would recommend you buy the same amount of flood coverage as you have for personal property on your renters policy. Typically that should be around $10,000 to $50,000 (the highest amount usually afforded for contents coverage is $100,000). We always recommend renters have a listed inventory of all they own, as well as their values.

Should You Get Flood Insurance for Your Rental Property?

You should get flood insurance for your rental if you live in a moderate to high risk area. Most renters will not need flood insurance, but you definitely do not want to underestimate your chances. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (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. Nearly a quarter of all flood claims come from homes in B, C, and X zones, so you need to be vigilant in finding out what zone you live in. To find out if your area is at risk, you can go here. The table below is our recommendation on getting flood insurance based on your zone.

ZoneShould You Get Flood Insurance?
VYes
AYes
BHighly recommended
CRecommended
XRecommended

If you are still unsure of whether to get flood insurance, we also found data from over 2,000 counties and determined the 300 counties with the most flood damage per rented households. 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 homeowners and renters is easily attainable through the National Flood Insurance Program, a government-run program that is by far the largest flood insurer in the country. You can get a policy directly through them, but you generally will ask your insurance company to broker a policy for you.

Currently there are 79 insurers in partnership with the NFIP, so it is very likely that the top renters insurers will be able to get you a flood policy. State Farm recently pulled out of its partnership with the NFIP, so if State Farm is your renters insurer, you may have to go directly to the NFIP. Your neighborhood also has to be a participating member of the NFIP - virtually all towns located near bodies of water should have coverage available though. You can check your locality's participation here.

Private Flood Insurance

Another option beside the NFIP is a private flood insurance company. This industry is still small; the NFIP wrote 3 to 4 times as much in premiums in 2016 than private flood insurers did. Still, the option can become more appealing, since the NFIP still has to be renewed by the Federal Government in September 2017. If the renewal leaves the NFIP underfunded, that can severely impact how much coverage the organization can afford to give. Other benefits of private flood insurers are that they give higher limits than the NFIP--though that should not affect renters as much as it does homeowners since renters only need to cover their personal belongings.

The risks of going with a private flood insurer is that they may drop you, as is their prerogative, if they deem you too risky. The NFIP on the other hand can never drop you. Also, if you leave the NFIP, and decide to come back, you can find your rates much higher than when you left if your area has become more risky for floods in recent years.

Currently, we view the best bet for private flood insurance to be the Flood Insurance Agency. It is backed by Lloyd's of London and AIG, and offers policies in 34 states. If you live in California and Florida, you have a few more options to compare with:

How Much Does Renters Flood Insurance Cost?

For just contents coverage, you should probably expect to typically pay anywhere between $300 and $1,000 per year for renters flood insurance, though some policies can cost several thousand for lots of coverage in very risky areas. We got quotes from The Flood Insurance Agency to get a rough idea of what different policies may cost.

ZoneCoverage AmountYearly Premium
V$20,000$572
$60,000$1,632
$100,000$2,692

A

$20,000$556
$60,000$791
$100,000$1,094
X$20,000~$200
$60,000~$300
$100,000~$400

If you are in a zone V, you can end up spending thousands on protecting the contents of your home. If you live in less risky spots, your yearly premiums are obviously much lower, but may actually be equal to the entirety of your renters policy. It is unfortunate how expensive it can be, but it is still better than having all of your stuff ruined in a flood.

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