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Flood Insurance Cost

  The average flood policy premium is around $300 per year. Low-risk flood zone areas may be able to acquire flood insurance for a little more than $100 a year. Some insurance companies will insure higher risk Coastal Barrier Resources Areas but instead of the $340 or so in premiums offered through the government program, they may charge $3,000 or more per year for flood coverage of a home slightly less than $200,000.  
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  You may be eligible for discounts if you live in a low- to moderate-risk zone. Click here for FEMA information about preferred risk policy premiums.

Flood insurance policies are available in three forms: "Dwelling" (most homes); "General Property" (apartments and businesses); and "Residential Condominium Building Association Policy" (condominiums). Flood limits vary according to coverage and location.

There are about 19,000 communities participating in the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program). Entire communities are "mapped" and assigned a zone designation. Some zones more vulnerable than others. You are not required to buy flood insurance if you do not live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). However, floods sometimes occur outside these special hazard areas. Go to FEMA's Community Status Book to see a listing of the communities participating in NFIP.

How to Purchase Flood Insurance

To purchase flood insurance, call your insurance agent or contact one of the many  "WriteYour Own" companies (private companies that write insurance under a special arrangement with FEMA). If your agent does not write flood insurance, call the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) toll free number 1-888-CALL FLOOD, ext. 445 to obtain an agent in your area who writes flood insurance. Premiums may be paid by cash, check, credit card, or  through an escrow account established by your mortgage lender. Generally, if your lender requires you to buy flood insurance, they will escrow the premiums and factor those payments into your monthly payment amount.

Q & A

Who may purchase a flood insurance policy?

NFIP coverage is available to owners/occupants of insurable property located within a community participating in the NFIP. Personal property may also be insured against flood loss as well as Builders (while in the course of construction), condominium associations, and owners of residential condominium units. (Condominium associations may purchase a master policy that covers both common building elements and individual units owned by members of the association. Residential unit owners may purchase building and contents insurance to supplement other insurance purchased by the home owners' association. Non-residential condominium unit owners may only purchase contents coverage however, the non-residential condo building must be insured in the name of the association.

How is flood insurance purchased?

A community must first join the NFIP. A policy may then be purchased from any licensed property insurance agent or broker representing a Write Your Own company.
  • If a property owner perceives a risk of flooding to an insurable building,  he/she contacts an insurance agent or broker or Write Your Own (WYO) company.
  • The insurance agent completes the necessary forms for the builder or buyer. If a building is constructed in a SFHA after the issuance of a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), the builder (or buyer) must obtain an "elevation certificate" completed by a licensed engineer, architect, surveyor, or appropriate community official.
  • The agent submits the application, elevation certification if necessary, and premium to the NFIP or to a participating WYO company.

How are flood insurance premiums calculated?

Many factors impact the premium rates for flood insurance coverage. They include: the amount of coverage desired, location, building age, occupancy, and design, and, the elevation (for buildings in the SFHAs). The only buildings in Zones B, C, and X eligible for preferred risk coverage at a reduced premium are single-family and 2-4 family dwellings. For these exceptions, there are certain loss limitations depending on the amount of insurance purchased.

"Presentment of payment" is the receipt of premium. It is the time that payment is actually received by the NFIP. Delivery to an insurance agent/broker or mailing a premium (postmark date) does not constitute presentment to the NFIP.

What flood losses are covered?

The Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) contains a complete definition of coverage. Direct physical losses by "flood" are covered as well as losses resulting from flood-related erosion caused by waves or currents of water activity exceeding anticipated cyclical levels and accompanied by a severe storm, flash flood, and/or abnormal tidal surge, and damages caused by mudslides.

In some cases, NFIP may also pay claims on buildings subject to imminent collapse or subsidence as a result of erosion so the building can be demolished or relocated before the damage occurs. Specific requirements must be met for such claims to be paid, and the amounts of payment are defined by statute.

Does the NFIP apply a deductible to losses?

A minimum deductible is applied separately to buildings and contents. Higher deductibles reduce policy premiums but will have to be approved by any lien holder.

What if I want flood insurance, but my community doesn't participate in the National Flood Insurance Program?

A: Unfortunately, you may not purchase flood insurance. Let your elected officials know that you want to be in the NFIP program. Most communities are willing to develop a plan for floodplain management and adopt flood-resistant construction practices. A local petition drive may be necessary.

Note: Flood insurance is mandatory as a condition of receipt of federal-related financial assistance for acquisition and/or construction of buildings in SFHAs of any participating community. Those communities notified as "flood-prone" which do not apply for participation in the NFIP within 1 year of notification, are ineligible for federal or federally-related financial assistance for acquisition, construction, reconstruction of insurable buildings in the SFHA. Conventional loans are available in the SFHA of non-participating communities for these purposes at the lender's risk.

Participating Insurance Companies

This list identifies most of the private insurance companies that sell and/or service Federal flood insurance policies. Your local insurance agent or company should also be able to provide this information.

Standard Flood Insurance Policy Forms

Go to FEMA's standard insurance policy forms.

Flood Insurance Manual

Go to FEMA's flood insurance manual.

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