To find the best flood insurance, you should compare quotes from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and multiple private flood insurance companies.
Most flood insurance policies in the U.S. are sold through the NFIP, a government-backed program. Private companies tend to offer more protection, which could be important if you have an expensive home.
It's also important to choose a flood insurance company with a reputation for great service. It will make the claims process much less stressful if your home is damaged in a flood.
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Who has the best flood insurance?
The best flood insurance comes with great customer service and enough coverage to protect your home.
Most flood insurance policies in the U.S. come from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP is a government-backed program that's managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). National Flood Insurance Program policies are sold by private insurance companies.
If you buy an NFIP-backed flood insurance policy, your rates and coverage will be the same regardless of the company you buy it from.
Homeowners can also get private flood insurance, which can be cheaper and typically offers more coverage options. However, it may not be available in some high-risk areas.
How to find the best flood insurance
First, you'll need to find out which options are available in your area. You can get flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) if the area where you live participates in the program. You'll need to visit the FEMA website. Select your state in the "Find a Community Status Report" section to search for your community.
Next, find out which private flood insurance companies do business in your area.
The easiest way to do this is by contacting a local independent insurance agent. An independent agent will be familiar with the flood risks in your area. They can also compare quotes from multiple companies to help you find the best rates.
Determine how much coverage you need
Before you compare flood insurance quotes, you'll need to figure out how much protection you need.
The most basic flood insurance policies should cover the cost to rebuild your home if it's destroyed by floodwater. You should also have enough coverage to replace your belongings, like furniture, clothing and appliances.
The NFIP only offers up to $250,000 of protection for your home and $100,000 for your belongings.
If your home would cost more than $250,000 to rebuild or you own expensive things, a policy from the NFIP isn't the right choice for you.
In addition, the NFIP doesn't help cover your living expenses if your home is damaged in a flood and you have to move out until repairs are made. And it doesn't protect outdoor property like pools, patios or fences. If you need this type of coverage, you should consider private flood insurance.
Choosing private vs. NFIP flood insurance
There are pros and cons of choosing private flood insurance over a government-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy.
Private flood insurance pros and cons
Unlike the NFIP, private flood insurance companies can cancel your policy if your flood risk becomes too great. In addition, private flood insurance may not meet the requirements of your home loan company.
Shop for cheap flood insurance quotes
If you have the option, you should compare quotes for both NFIP and private flood insurance.
An NFIP policy will cost the same amount no matter where you buy it from, so there's no reason to compare NFIP rates.
Most major insurance companies offer NFIP flood insurance.
If your current home insurance company offers flood insurance, you should get a quote there first. In the event your home is damaged by a major storm, having home and flood insurance with the same company will make the claims process much easier.
Both companies earned above-average scores on J.D. Power's home insurance customer satisfaction survey. They also receive fewer complaints than other insurance companies of a similar size, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
However, USAA is only available to those who qualify, and Auto-Owners isn't available in every state. American Family and Amica are good alternatives.
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Customer service scores are especially important because of the nature of flood insurance claims. Most claims are filed after major floods, which typically cause damage to a lot of homes in your area at once. This can make the claims process take longer than usual.
Having a company with a strong record for keeping its clients happy and informed can go a long way in reducing the stress of dealing with a flood.
You should also compare quotes from private flood insurance companies. Chubb, AIG and AXA SA have the best customer service scores among large private flood insurance companies.
Largest private flood insurance companies
Do you need flood insurance?
You should get flood insurance if your home is located in an area that's at risk of flooding.
To find out if you live in a high-risk zone, you can check your area's flood map. Flood zones that start with a "V" or "A" are Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), which are considered very high risk for flooding by FEMA. These zones are usually on the coast or near a large body of water, like a river or lake.
Should you get flood insurance?
Your standard homeowners insurance policy will not cover any damage caused by a natural flood.
Just 1 inch of floodwater can cause $25,000 of damage to a home, according to FEMA. The average flood insurance claim is $30,000, and 20% of all claims come from "moderate to low risk" zones.
If you think there's a good chance your home may flood in the next decade, you should seriously consider buying flood insurance.
How much does flood insurance cost?
Flood insurance costs an average of $731 per year for a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy.
But the cost of coverage varies significantly depending on your home's elevation and how far it is from a body of water. Flood insurance can cost a few hundred dollars per year for low-risk homes and well over $5,000 per year for high-risk homes.
The NFIP uses 24 factors to determine your flood insurance rates, including:
- Your home's age
- Construction materials for your home
- Your home's elevation
- Whether you have a basement
- The number of floors your home has
- Distance to the nearest body of water
Example of NFIP flood insurance rates for different homes
|Property elevation above river||1.0||4.6|
|First-floor elevation from the ground||0.5||5.5|
|Miles to ocean||1.5||4.0|
|Yards to river||40||120|
Elevation is measured in feet.
You can find providers of NFIP-backed flood insurance in your area and get sample quotes at FloodSmart.gov.
Frequently asked questions
Should you shop around for flood insurance?
Yes, it's important to shop for flood insurance from multiple companies. All government-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) insurance policies will offer the same coverage and rate. But you might be able to find more protection and cheaper quotes from a private company.
Does State Farm have flood insurance?
State Farm does not offer flood insurance. The company recently pulled out of its partnership with the NFIP. If you have a home or renters policy with State Farm and would like to buy flood insurance, you may go directly to the NFIP.
Who provides most flood insurance policies?
Most flood insurance policies in the U.S. are through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This government-backed program is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It provides flood insurance to over 5 million households nationwide.
Methodology and sources
To find the average cost of flood insurance in the U.S., ValuePenguin analyzed data published by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Market share information for the largest flood insurance companies was provided by S&P Global, a financial data resource for the insurance industry.