7 Best Flood Insurance Companies of 2021
In the U.S., floods are the most common natural disaster.
If you live in an area that has hurricane season, you are more susceptible to floods, as well as other catastrophic disasters like heavy wind, rain, and an overflow of water.
Yet many renters and homeowners believe that their renters or home insurance policies cover damages stemming from these hazardous conditions.
This is not true.
A standard homeowners, condo owners, or renters insurance does not cover damage caused by flooding. In addition to homeowners insurance, you need to purchase separate flood insurance coverage.
So, if you don’t have flood insurance and a hurricane rips the roof off your home, or if a flood causes a deluge in your rental’s basement, you may have to pay out-of-pocket to fix these damages that can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But if you purchase flood insurance, which is relatively inexpensive in the scheme of things, your insurance will pay for all the costs beyond your deductible.
If you are unaware about getting flood insurance, you’re not alone and it may be not your fault.
For example, if you are buying a house for the first time, both real estate agents and mortgage lenders will often fail to tell you about flood insurance requirements until the house is already in escrow.
Another example is that a home buyer or renter may believe that the area or vicinity surrounding their homes doesn’t seem prone to flooding.
But just because there appears to be no immediate danger to flooding, these homes may be already rated as high-risk zones by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
If you need to decide about purchasing flood insurance, or if you don't want to be caught off guard when a hurricane hits and causes flood damage to your home, this article will help you understand everything you need to know about flood insurance.
Best Home Flood Insurance Companies
- Allstate: Best Overall
- Chubb: Best for High Limits of Coverage
- Liberty Mutual: Best Coverage
- Geico: Best for Small Premiums
- USAA: Best for Veterans
- Assurant: Best for Competitive Rates
- Farmers: Best for Insurance Discounts
Allstate: Best Overall
Allstate flood insurance is designed to help protect you from financial burdens associated with flooding.
When just one inch of water in a home costs more than $25,000 in damages, it's important to have protection against floods.
NFIP policies are only available through Allstate agents and when purchased through an Allstate agent your premium can be discounted up to 35%.
Chubb: Best for High Limits of Coverage
As an expensive investment, it's important to protect your home and all of your belongings. Chubb is the only company in the industry with such high limits of coverage- so you can feel confident when you go back to protecting what matters most.
Chubb has an underwriting policy that can provide up to $15 million in total property coverage for homes, vehicles, and personal possessions. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is limited to about 250K or less on your home while Chubbs' offer goes up as high at 15 Milion which exceeds it by an exceptional margin of safety!
Liberty Mutual: Best Coverage
Liberty Mutual insurance is an invaluable economical investment that can provide you with peace of mind after a disaster. We help you rebuild and recover from tough situations like fires, earthquakes, and floods.
If you're looking for the best coverage in your area, Liberty Mutual has it. We know what disasters are like around here better than anyone else because we help people get back on their feet every day.
The WYO program under FEMA is in communities all over the United States, and Liberty Mutual offers NFIP policies that can protect against costly damage.
Geico: Best for Small Premiums
Federal government-backed flood insurance.
Geico is a Federal Government-backed company that has been in business for over 80 years and takes pride in being reliable, dependable, responsible, trustworthy, and accountable.
Previous incarnations of flood insurance were often expensive and only available from a few providers. But now, with Geico Flood Insurance you can have continued access to inexpensive protection for your belongings at any time, without having the worry of being uninsured in the event of a disaster.
USAA: Best for Veterans
USAA has been around for over eighty years and has a reputation of being the company who stands behind military families. They have set out to provide consumers with not just affordable flood insurance but also peace of mind that they will be taken care after if flooding occurs.
USAA's flood protection maintains a long track record of keeping members secure during natural disasters, no matter how large the area impacted.
USAA is a great option for those in need of a quick and affordable homeowners insurance with maximum coverage up to $250,000.
Assurant: Best for Competitive Rates
With Assurant, you can’t go wrong. Protect what matters most with one of the nation's leading providers for flood insurance. Offering 30 years worth of experience and wide coverage in America, see why Assurant Insurance is the best choice for your family's protection against floods.
Assurant is a well-trusted company that offers competitive rates for flood insurance. They have been in the industry since 1972 and today are well known as one of the best options out there and one of the first companies to participate in the NFIP.
Farmers Insurance: Best for Insurance Discounts
Though disasters can take many forms, protecting your home and loved ones against the unpredictability of water is something we all need. Farmers flood Insurance provides this protection by helping prevent you from experiencing unplanned financial loss in case of a natural disaster.
In the event of a flood, farmers can purchase two different types of insurance to protect their property. The first option is Standard Risk which covers properties in high-risk zones determined by NFIP while Preferred Risk provides coverage for low to moderate risk areas at reduced cost - it's worth looking into!
How We Picked
How would you like to know which company is best for your needs?
We've taken the time and effort necessary into finding this information, so that all will be revealed. The following criteria had an impact on what makes up our list: customer reviews; policy discounts offered by certain insurers in order of preference (ease-of-accessibility); number ratings given from users across different platforms--these are just some indicators but they matter most because people use them when making decisions about who they want working closely with during emergencies!
What is Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance is a type of property insurance that covers damages due to floods and flooding.
It covers the outside structure of your home, rental, or building, as well as the contents within, such as furniture, electronics, appliances, clothing, and more, if they are damaged or destroyed.
Flood insurance is designed to cover damage if a flood is externally caused, such as flooding due to hurricanes, heavy or torrential rain, storm surges, blocked storm drainage systems, snowstorms, levee dam failures, tropical storms, and overflowing rivers.
These are known as “true” floods and are what your flood insurance covers.
While your homeowners or renters insurance may pay for water damage due to broken pipes, flood insurance pays for damages when water accumulates on normally dry ground and the water must cover more than two acres of land.
But if water damage is the result of internal fluctuations in your home, rental, or condo, your insurance will not cover this.
This includes a failed sump pump causing water to back up in your basement, or water from a burst pipe that damages your walls or floors.
So, if you have a standard renter or homeowners insurance, the only way to get insured for floods is to get a rider to cover this type of water damage.
Do You Need Flood Coverage?
You will need flood insurance if you live in a designated flood zone.
But if your home could cause floods due to melting snow, or from an overflowing creek, river, or pond, or even from water running down a steep hill, you should invest in flood insurance to be on the safe side.
Even if you live inland and are far away from major rivers, these things can still wreak havoc on your home or rental property.
If you don’t know if your home is in a flood risk area, you can check the risk of any property at FloodSmart.gov or via the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website map.
But it’s a good idea to buy flood insurance because, in the U.S., just one inch of water can cause around $25,000 or $27,000 or more in damages to your home.
This is the average cost to repair your home and replace your personal belongings as stipulated by FEMA’s Estimated Flood Loss Potential.
And, also according to FEMA, 25% of homeowners or renters who don’t even live near a flood zone have made flood damage claims to their insurers.
So, it doesn’t matter where you live for a flood to happen.
And flood insurance can be more than a smart financial investment.
Your mortgage lender will likely require you to have a flood insurance policy if your home is in a flood zone.
In addition, if your mortgage is federally regulated, such as an FHA loan, you are required to purchase flood insurance.
What Natural Disasters Does Flood Insurance Cover?
- When there’s extreme rainfall due to hurricanes and tropical storms
- When oceans, rivers, and lakes overflow
- When there’s melting snow, failed levees and dams, and mud that flows to your property due to a deluge
What Items Do Flood Insurance Cover?
What is covered by flood insurance is the same whether you purchase a private policy or a federal-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy.
The following items are considered part of the building's structure and are covered, according to FEMA:
- The insured building and its foundation
- The electrical and plumbing systems
- Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
- Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
- Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
- Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases, and cabinets
- Window blinds
- Detached garages. (Up to 10% of building property coverage.)
- Debris removal
Contents coverage up to your policy limits, and which covers what's inside of your structure, such as:
- $2,500 in valuables such as jewelry, fine arts, and furs
- Home décor, such as window blinds.
- Washer and/or dryer
- Kitchen items like blenders, toasters, microwaves, countertop ovens
- Portable A/Cs or heaters
- Carpets not permanently installed, such as area rugs and runners
- Permanently installed items like cabinets, bookcases, carpets, staircases, and foundation walls.
- Appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, stoves, ovens, furnaces, water heaters, heat pumps, and fuel tanks.
- Detached garages
- Solar energy systems.
If you buy a NFIP policy, contents coverage is optional.
What Does Flood Insurance Not Cover?
Items that aren’t typically covered by flood insurance include:
- Injuries caused by flooding.
- Items that aren't typically covered by flood insurance include:
- Valuable papers, including cash, currency, stock and bond certificates, and precious metals
- Property outside of the home, such as a deck, patio, any form of fence structure, swimming pool, hot tub, landscaping, or septic systems
- Mold, mildew, or moisture damage
- Loss of use
- Most furniture and items stored in basements or below-ground rooms
- (note that bookcases and floor covering are not covered if they are installed below ground).
- Any improvements you made to your basement, such as finished walls, belongings (such as those stored in boxes), and new flooring.
What Does Flood Insurance Provide?
Besides peace of mind, flood insurance allocates money to repair or even rebuild a home if it is damaged or destroyed by flooding up to the policy limit.
If the renter or homeowner has to file a claim, both will only be responsible for paying the deductible.
Flood insurance also provides coverage for interior property possessions or personal belongings such as appliances, electronics, and more.
According to FEMA, in the last decade alone, floods have caused more than $155 billion worth of damage.
Climate change impacts our weather and is the biggest reason why we have copious amounts of floods that damage most lands. It is the result of hurricanes, dangerous storm surges, and rainfall that can eviscerate coastal cities and even produce inland flooding.
Climate change is responsible for our temperatures climbing.
Water from land and sea is currently evaporating faster, and more water in our atmosphere means more intense precipitation, more intense storms, an increase in heavy rainfall during storms, and an increase in coastal flooding.
According to Climate Central, since land all over the US will fall below safe elevation by 2050, this means that flooding from climate change is expected to impact millions of homeowners and renters around the world sooner than we think.
Climate change affects flooding when a deluge of water evaporates from land and sea as a direct result of increasingly warmer temperatures.
The effects of climate change and global warming are as follows:
- Rising maximum temperatures.
- Rising minimum temperatures.
- Rising sea levels.
- Higher ocean temperatures.
- An increase in heavy rain and hail.
- Shrinking glaciers.
- Thawing permafrost.
- Hurricanes and How to Get Covered
Flooding due to hurricanes is not included in a standard homeowner or renters insurance, which is why you have to buy flood insurance.
But wind damage is covered by a standard policy.
If you live in a hurricane season city, you may want a specific hurricane policy, but that doesn’t exist.
The proper way to get hurricane coverage is to buy windstorm insurance, so you know you’re covered for more than what standard wind damage coverage offers.
Many insurers charge separately for wind deductibles.
And it’s expensive.
The deductible is not based on a dollar amount but rather as a percentage, which is usually around 5% to 10% of your coverage.
So, say your house is insured for $500,000 with a 5% wind deductible.
And then say you experience roof and siding damage due to high winds and the cost to replace them is $30,000.
At the end of the day, you’re responsible for $25,000, with your insurance covering only $5,000 of the damages.
So, while hurricanes aren’t generally named as a peril, their effects are.
This includes wind and flooding.
Wind damage is covered if, say, a tree topples onto your roof, but if you live in a hurricane area, wind damage won’t be covered.
Flooding or a storm surge due to a hurricane is not included in your policy.
But in certain instances, if a wind from a hurricane blows debris and rain through your window and, say, damages your carpet, your insurer may pay to replace it.
It can be confusing to understand what’s covered and what’s not.
You have to talk to your insurance agent to see whether damage from a hurricane is either a covered peril or not.
Hurricanes can also cause sewer backup, but that’s not covered either. So you may have to buy an endorsement for your policy specifically naming that you have sewer backup coverage.
Flood Insurance Policies
Types of flood insurance
It used to be that the only way you can get flood insurance was through the federal-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
But these days, you can get flood insurance through a private carrier.
There are three ways to get flood insurance:
- Through a private insurance company.
- Through your home or renters insurance as an endorsement.
- Through the federal-backed government flood insurance (NFIP).
The NFIP insures more than five million homes.
However, as of this writing, NFIP will no longer be able to provide flood insurance to its customers starting on September 30, 2021.
The NFIP is furiously working with the government to reinstall the program for the long term.
It can’t sell new flood insurance and nor can it renew existing policies.
For existing policies, they will continue their obligations until their expiration date.
Also, claims will continue to be paid as long as FEMA has the money.
There’s no telling when if the NFIP itself will expire permanently or continue.
What You Need to Know About the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
The most common way to get flood insurance is by going through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is part FEMA.
The NFIP underwrites the vast majority of flood insurance in the United States.
According to the latest figures released by FEMA, the NFIP insures more than five million homes.
But even though the insurance is underwritten by the federal government, you can purchase it through most insurance agents who sell home or renters insurance.
Important to note here is that you can’t purchase flood insurance directly from the NFIP. That’s what the insurance agent is for.
Thus, the NFIP partners with a lot of insurance companies that are approved by The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
So you can buy NFIP coverage through several of the largest, brand-name insurers, such as Liberty Mutual, Allstate, and Farmers.
The best thing about NFIP is that it is available to anyone, which means you can get it even if your home or rental is not at risk for floods.
The NFIP covers both the outside and the inside of your home.
- For building coverage, NFIP offers up to $250,000.
- For contents coverage, NFIP offers $100,000.
Do you need to buy NFIP?
If your mortgage company happens to have a flood insurance requirement, the company may want you to get building protection at the very least.
Or if you live in a high-risk flood zone and have a federal-backed mortgage (such as FHA), your lender will most likely require you to purchase a federal-backed NFIP.
All of the NFIP’s partner companies offer the same flood insurance coverage and maximum payouts.
And all FEMA-approved insurance companies use the same rating factors to calculate their premiums, so you won’t find a better rate from one carrier over another.
Thus, you don’t have to shop around for FEMA-approved providers that are backed by the National Flood Insurance Program.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost?
According to FEMA, most homeowners pay around $400 or less per year for flood insurance if they live in a low or moderate risk vicinity.
In contrast, the national average annual flood insurance costs about $700.
However, homeowners who live in high-risk flood zone areas pay much more.
For example, if you live in a high-risk zone and you want, say, $150,000 in building coverage and $50,000 of content coverage, your premium will likely cost you $1,844 a year.
According to FEMA, your premium is determined by the age and construction of the property (such as if it has a new roof), its proximity to water, its elevation (such as what floor your apartment is on), and the home’s value.
For renters, the cost of flood insurance starts at below $100 and goes up in cost in high-risk flood zones.
What Does NFIP Replace?
NFIP will cover the cost to rebuild your home in the exact shape and form before damages and after you make a claim.
But replacement cost coverage, which is designed to pay the actual cost of replacing your belongings and rebuilding your home, is not offered.
Instead, the NFIP only pays the actual cash value (ACV) for your possessions. An ACV will only reimburse you for the depreciated value of your laptop, smart TV, and clothes, for example.
That means you'll get the current value of your possessions, which may be considerably less than the cost you'll incur to replace them, especially if they are older and have depreciated.
It is for this reason that many homeowners choose to use a private flood insurance company because they can secure a replacement cost coverage
for their possessions regardless of depreciation and up to the limits on their policy.
Thus, replacement cost coverage is more favorable to customers than ACV and is one of the drawbacks of getting insured by the federal government.
Another drawback is that the NFIP puts a cap on the cost to renovate your home and replace your belongings. So. if $250,000 is not enough for building coverage or your contents are worth more than $100,000, this leaves little room for customization and getting higher limits.
How Do You Purchase a NFIP Policy?
You won’t have a hard time buying a NFIP policy. There are over fifty insurance companies nationwide that can offer you NFIP.
So, to get NFIP, you can ask any one of the insurance companies if they can give you an estimate on flood insurance.
Or you can pay for coverage directly from the NFIP if your insurance does not offer this program.
Private Insurance Companies
Since the federally-backed NFIP has less flexibility in terms of premiums, you may want to look at private insurance companies.
Private insurance companies offer higher levels of coverage that go way beyond the cap costs of what NFIPs can offer.
A private insurance company works in two ways.
It either supplements NFIP coverage by providing higher coverage or else replaces it as the homeowner’s primary flood policy.
What is a Private Flood Insurance Company?
The definition of private flood insurance is that it’s a policy that isn’t underwritten by the federal government and isn’t, in any way, related to federal-backed policies.
Private flood insurance will provide money to repair or even rebuild a home if it is damaged or destroyed by flooding.
If the homeowner has to file a claim, they will only be responsible for paying the deductible.
PFI, like NFIP, covers both the structure of your home and the personal contents within.
Many policyholders choose PFI because it’s more comprehensive.
It offers more flexible options and generous coverage such as higher policy limits, fewer exclusions, and even a shorter waiting time before the policy takes effect.
Depending on where you live, private flood insurance can be purchased by top-rated insurance companies such as Neptune Flood and Aon Edge.
For example, look at what Neptune Flood can offer. The company has shorter waiting periods (10 days, much shorter than the 30-day NFIP period) and higher coverage limits.
If what FIP offers ($250,000 in coverage for your home) is not enough, you can choose Neptune for structural coverage as its limit goes up to a staggering $2 million.
And if you have high-value items that are damaged due to a flood, such as jewelry, electronics, and collectibles, NFIP contents coverage of only $100,000 will not be enough.
Neptune instead offers up to $500,000 in contents coverage.
As you do your due diligence, you’ll find private flood insurance companies with more coverage, as well as more customization.
What Are My Choices for Getting Higher Coverage Limits?
If you want to increase your coverage limits using private insurance companies or through NFIP, there are three ways you can do this.
A standalone policy, which will give you higher coverage limits for your home and personal belongings.
Excess Flood Policy
This provides you with additional insurance if you’ve reached your NFIP coverage limits or if this federal policy isn’t enough.
Flood endorsement, which has low coverage amounts, can be added to your homeowners insurance for a small additional premium.
Excess flood insurance
Excess flood insurance covers you for the same types of damages covered under NFIP flood insurance.
If you need coverage beyond the NFIP’s limits, excess flood insurance allows you to increase your coverage.
Excess flood insurance is also for those who live in a community that does not participate in the NFIP.
Available in all of the US, excess flood insurance not only covers high-risk flood zones but also towns or communities that have lower risks.
You purchase excess flood through independent insurance agents or from a home or renters insurance company.
Should You Choose a Private Flood Insurance or a NFIP?
Here’s a breakdown to help you choose:
|Policy Features||Private Flood Insurance||NFIP|
|Max waiting period||10-14 Days||30 Days|
|Coverage limits||Up to $15 million (Depending on the company)||$250,000 for home & $100,000 for possessions|
|State availability||Nationwide, depending on the company||Nationwide in more than 24,000 participating communities|
|Basement contents||May be covered, but with additional cost||No|
|High-cost possessions||Much higher limits than NFIP||Up to $2,500 in damages|
Homeowners and Renters Insurance: What it Covers
Natural disasters such as hurricanes, high winds, tropical storms, sinkholes, and tornadoes can cause great damage to your home or rental.
But a standard homeowner or renter insurance policy doesn’t cover flood damage or other catastrophic disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, and landslides.
For example, a standard insurance policy might cover water damage if your roof leaks due to a hurricane, but it won’t cover flood damage from the same hurricane.
So water damage caused by flooding from a hurricane that ruins your personal belongings is also not included in a standard policy.
The key thing to know here is what kinds of damaging water are covered in a standard insurance policy.
If your toilet overflows or if rain comes in through the house due to a damaged roof, standard insurance will cover that.
If water damage due to broken pipes or pipes burst and flood your house, you’re covered.
But if a roof leaks or if a pipe bursts due to old age and deterioration, a standard policy will only cover damaged contents within your dwelling.
But it will not cover roof or pipe repairs.
And if you knew your roof had damage and didn’t bother to fix it, insurance will not pay.
This can be confusing for those who are looking at adding on a flood insurance rider to their insurance policy.
And the rider will raise your insurance rate but will protect your belongings.
The easiest way to understand what kind of water damage is covered is to determine if the water first touches the ground of your exterior space before coming into your dwelling.
If so, it’s considered flood damage.
To see what a standard homeowner’s policy can do, let’s look at Chubb, a top insurer that offers flood coverage.
Since Chubb’s niche is covering high-end homes, it’s no surprise that the company can insure both your home’s structure and contents up to a combined total of $15 million.
Flood damage usually does not cover personal belongings stored in basements, as well as built-ins such as bookcases. However, Chubb will pay for these things if there is flood damage.
And loss of use is also covered.
If your home (or rental) is damaged by floods to the point that you can no longer live there safely, loss of use will cover temporary living spaces by reimbursing you for any hotel stays, as well as meals that you have at restaurants.
And a unique feature we haven’t seen much is that if you need to move your valuables out of your home because you’re under threat of a flood, Chubb will reimburse you up to $5,000 for these protective measures.
Do your research. Chances are, you’ll find even better coverage costs and even more unique coverage options.
How Does Flood Insurance Work with Homeowners and Renters Insurance?
Policyholders pay an annual premium determined by the deductible they choose and based on how much their home is susceptible to floods.
If the home or rental property is damaged or destroyed by flooding, the policyholders receive cash for the amount of money required to repair the damage, up to the policy limit.
Flood insurance is important to have for homeowners because most homes have basements or the first floor is directly on the ground, making them susceptible to water damage.
Renters should also get flood insurance, which, like a homeowners insurance policy, also can be bought as an add-on to their renters insurance policy.
It’s especially important if their dwelling, such as an apartment building, is on the ground floor, below the ground, or on the first floor.
Renters have the option to purchase coverage only for the contents within the rental.
That’s because the landlord pays for structural damage to an apartment complex, a condo building, or a townhouse, using the landlord’s insurance.
Renters are entitled to the same maximum coverage limits on the same items as homeowners.
Like homeowners insurance, renters insurance doesn’t cover water coming from outside the house, like a storm that damages the contents in your unit.
However, like homeowners insurance, a renters policy does cover interior water damage due to internal leaks, like plumbing leaks.
If you incur a flood and have no flood insurance, don’t think you can rely on governmental assistance.
Federal disaster assistance, as it’s called, is only available when the president makes a formal federal disaster declaration.
And the money from this ruling is usually low and limited to a $5,000 loan that you have to pay back.