Flood Insurance in Massachusetts: How Much it Costs and When You Need Coverage

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In Massachusetts, the average flood insurance premium is $1,251 per year. This average accounts for all federally-sponsored flood insurance policies active in the Bay State. If your house is located in one of the Special Flood Hazard Areas identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) flood mapping system, then your mortgage lender may require you to purchase flood insurance coverage.

Average cost of flood insurance in Massachusetts

Bay Staters with flood insurance pay an average cost of $1,251 per year for about $260,000 in coverage. However,National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) rates are based on whether your property is in a high-risk flood zone as defined by FEMA. This means that your NFIP flood insurance quote could be much higher or lower than the state's overall average.

As an example, consider the difference in average flood insurance premiums between Boston and Brockton. In both cities, the average coverage amount is close to $275,000. However, Bostonians pay an average annual cost that's less than half of what homeowners in Brockton must pay. This is due to insurers calculating a higher risk of flood damage in Brockton as opposed to Boston. The table below lists the differences in flood insurance costs and coverage limits in major Massachusetts cities.

CityPolicies in forceAverage coverage amountAverage premium
Boston4,065$277,278$815
Worcester371$261,724$2,131
Springfield85$440,640$972
Lowell1,160$201,685$795
Cambridge627$143,574$394
Brockton294$274,074$1,965
New Bedford280$322,835$1,436
Quincy3,794$245,748$1,053
Lynn860$265,011$776
Fall River92$313,011$2,297

Note that these numbers apply to NFIP-sponsored flood insurance. Federal law regulates the cost of flood insurance that's backed by the NFIP, which means that you'll see the same rates regardless of which insurer or agent is providing the quote. If you aren't satisfied with the cost of NFIP insurance or happen not to qualify for federally-backed coverage, you'll have to look for a private insurer that sponsors its own flood policies.

When is flood insurance required in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts state law doesn't require flood insurance coverage, but mortgage lenders often do so in order to limit their own risk. Flood insurance often becomes a mortgage borrower's required coverage if your property is located within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as described on FEMA's flood insurance rate map for your neighborhood. SFHAs are more likely to flood due to low elevation or proximity to open water.

FEMA updates its rate maps as new data become available on a rolling basis, so even existing homeowners are sometimes placed into new SFHAs and required to buy flood insurance for the first time. If you believe that your property doesn't belong in a newly created SFHA, you and your mortgage lender can jointly file a Letter of Determination Review (LODR) with FEMA. The agency will take up to 45 days to decide whether your home has been zoned correctly.

Even if FEMA revises its zoning at your request, your mortgage lender may still exercise its right to require flood insurance as a condition of your loan.

Flood insurance companies in Massachusetts

Insurance companies offer flood insurance in two forms. Most of the time, they act as participants in the NFIP, which means that they sell and service federal flood insurance but do not set rates, profit from premiums, or pay claims from their own money. Less commonly, private insurers will sponsor and sell their own flood insurance policies. These private policies can sometimes cost less than an NFIP policy, particularly if you face special circumstances such as being recently re-zoned.

Most insurance companies and agents can help you get started in finding an NFIP flood insurance policy, but private coverage may be harder to find. One place to start looking is with surplus line insurance companies. These are companies that provide specialized coverage above and beyond what normal home insurance firms can provide. Below, we've provided a list of insurers licensed to sell surplus line insurance in Massachusetts.

  • AIX Specialty Insurance
  • Coverys Specialty Insurance
  • Ironshore Specialty Insurance
  • Lexington Insurance
  • Liberty Surplus Insurance

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