WASHINGTON (JUNE 3, 2019 ) —Less than half of Americans who agree that having flood insurance is important have purchased flood insurance, according to a recent national survey from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). This disconnect between intention and action has been brought into sharp relief in the Midwest and South where recovery efforts will continue for years after this spring's devastating floods.
According to the survey, 41% of respondents agree or strongly agree that flood insurance is a "good idea" but only 17% say they have purchased flood insurance, and even that response may be based on a misunderstanding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that only about 3% of homeowners have flood insurance.
"This disparity perhaps reflects the common, though incorrect, assumption that homeowners insurance covers flooding," said Eric Cioppa, NAIC President and Superintendent of the Maine Bureau of Insurance.
The survey of 1,000 American adults conducted in May reveals some staggering information about Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996):
- Millennials are nearly three times more likely to have purchased flood insurance than their Baby Boomer (those born between 1944 and 1964) counterparts.
- Millennials are more likely than their Gen X (those born between 1965 and 1980) counterparts to purchase flood insurance (25% vs. 16%).
- Millennials are more likely to agree/strongly agree that purchasing a flood policy is a good idea (57% vs. 41% for Gen X vs. 24% for Baby Boomers).
Ben Green, a resident of Columbia, South Carolina, regrets not purchasing flood insurance prior to a 2015 flood that cost his family thousands in property damage. When he bought his house in 2013, he was not required to purchase flood insurance. "Not only am I a good candidate to buy flood insurance now, but if any insurance company has such a product in this area, I'd like to help them sell it," he said. "There must be a lot of demand around the state."
Flood insurance policies are available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and on the private market.
The Caravan survey, sponsored by the NAIC, was conducted online by Engine among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,004 adults comprising 502 men and 502 women 18 years of age and older. This survey was live May 20-22, 2019. Raw data are weighted by age, sex, geographic region, race and education to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population age 18 and older.