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Consumer Insight

April 23, 2024

Do I Need Flood Insurance? Why You Should Consider a Flood Policy to Protect Your Home

Flooding is the most frequent and expensive natural disaster in the U.S., according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, standard homeowners insurance policies don’t usually cover flood damage.  

Consider buying a flood insurance policy to protect your home and your finances. 

What are the financial risks associated with flooding? FEMA says just an inch of water can cause more than $25,000 worth of damage. Without a flood policy, you would have to pay for repairs and replacements on your own. Use FEMA’s Flood Cost Tool to assess how much it could cost you to recover after a flood.  

Does where I live determine if I should have flood insurance? Where it rains, it can flood. One fourth of all floods happen outside of high-risk areas. Use FEMA’s flood map to assess your risk level.  

How can I purchase a flood insurance policy? Contact your insurance agent or company to buy a flood policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). You must live in a community that participates in the NIFP to buy a policy; you can find out if you do here.  

You may also have the option to buy a private flood policy.  

What will my flood insurance policy cover? After a flood, your NFIP policy will cover direct physical losses to your building and its contents.  

  • Building coverage will protect the following: electrical and plumbing systems; furnaces and water heaters; refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances like dishwashers; permanently installed carpeting; permanently installed cabinets, paneling, and bookcases; window blinds; foundation walls, anchorage systems, and staircases; detached garages; fuel tanks, well water tanks, and pumps; and solar energy equipment.  

  • Contents coverage will protect the following: personal belongings like clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment; curtains; washer and dryer; portable and window air conditioners; and valuable items, such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500). 

If I rent my home, do I still need a flood insurance policy? Yes. If you rent, your landlord or property management company’s flood policy will not cover your personal property. You would need your own flood insurance policy to replace your belongings.  

How do I file a claim? Your insurance agent or company can help you file a claim. You can refer to the NAIC Post-Disaster Claims Guide. Your state department of insurance can also help. 

What else should I know about flood insurance? Flood insurance policies usually have a 30-day waiting period before coverage begins. The exemption does not apply if you’ve newly purchased your home and bought your flood insurance policy at the same time.  

Take the NAIC’s What the Flood?! quiz, a free, interactive tool that will help you learn how flood insurance can protect you.  

About the National Association of Insurance Commissioners

As part of our state-based system of insurance regulation in the United States, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides expertise, data, and analysis for insurance commissioners to effectively regulate the industry and protect consumers. The U.S. standard-setting organization is governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer reviews, and coordinate regulatory oversight. NAIC staff supports these efforts and represents the collective views of state regulators domestically and internationally.