Because homeowner’s insurance policies may not cover flood damage, you may need to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). But how much does it cost?
The NFIP offers building and contents coverage, with maximums of $250,000 for buildings and $100,000 for personal belongings. Here are the most significant factors that affect the price of your policy:
As you might expect, your location plays a significant role in the cost of your flood insurance. This is because flooding can occur anywhere, but certain areas are more prone to it than others. As a result, some states have higher average flood insurance premiums than others.
Another factor that influences the cost of your flood policy is the area’s historical flood loss data. You can find this information through your local government or a tool like FEMA’s. It considers building occupancy, first-floor height, and the property’s elevation above sea level.
In addition to the factors above, the type of flood coverage you need and the deductible you choose will also influence your insurance costs. For instance, some policies offer only building coverage, while others provide both building and content coverage. Also, the more you get insured, the higher your premium will likely be. Lowering your insurance costs can be accomplished by increasing your deductible or making structural changes to your home that lessen the chance of damage, such as elevating utilities, elevating your house, installing flood openings, and filling in basements.
Besides home structure damage, flood insurance can protect personal belongings such as furniture and appliances. Your agent will help you determine how much content coverage to purchase based on your house’s size and the value of your possessions. Building and contents coverage reimburses the cost of repairing or replacing your property. Additional coverage may also be available for the loss of use of your home and the costs associated with moving.
Before 2021, the only factor influencing your flood insurance cost was where you lived and whether or not you were in a flood zone. However, FEMA recently implemented a new rating system called Risk Rating 2.0 that considers more factors. This includes how often your area floods, the cost of rebuilding, and the property’s elevation. Those who live in the highest-risk areas can expect to see significant increases in their policy rates.
If you live in a high-risk area and have a mortgage, your lender will compel you to buy flood insurance. But even if you’re not required to get NFIP coverage, it’s worth checking out the average flood insurance cost for your specific location and property. You might be surprised to find that a flood policy is far less expensive than you might think.
Building and Contents Coverage
The cost of your flood insurance policy will also depend on the amount of building and contents coverage you choose. The NFIP provides up to $250,000 in in-building coverage for homeowners and $100,000 in contents coverage for renters. However, private companies that offer flood policies may provide higher limits and more coverage options.
Insurance providers consider your home’s size, construction, and age when assessing the building coverage. They will also look at how close your house is to the base flood elevation (BFE), based on historical weather data and how much it costs to rebuild your home where flooding is most likely.
When assessing the contents coverage, your insurance provider will consider the value of your personal belongings. It will also consider whether your items could be replaced with similar ones or upgraded to newer models. For example, if floodwaters damage your 15-year-old recliner beyond repair, the insurer will only pay enough to replace it with a used one of similar quality.
Your deductible, like that of other insurance plans, has a significant impact on how much you pay for flood insurance. The NFIP requires you to meet a minimum deductible of $1,000 for building coverage and $10,000 for contents coverage. If you opt for a lower deductible, you can save money on your premium.
You can also save money by purchasing flood insurance through the private market. This is available through FEMA-contracted agencies and some national insurance companies. However, if you are shopping in the private market, make sure the policies you compare are comparable. That means checking the deductible, amount of building and contents coverage, any waiting period, and whether or not the policy covers loss of use.
Your home’s location and the risk of flooding in your area will have a significant impact on how much you pay for a flood insurance policy. However, you can reduce risks by elevating your property and installing flood vents in crawlspaces and basements.
The NFIP uses an automated system called Risk Rating 2.0 to generate rates based on several factors, including the value and construction of your property, the flood zone it’s located in, and the deductible you choose. This new approach is designed to be more customized and fairer than previous methodologies.