Since standard homeowners’ insurance doesn't cover flooding, it's important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S.
Protect Yourself Against Flooding
In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to help provide a means for property owners to financially protect themselves. The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP. Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding.
Flood insurance protects two types of insurable property: building and contents. The first covers your building, the latter covers your possessions; neither covers the land they occupy.
Building coverage includes:
The insured building and its foundation
The electrical and plumbing system
Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished flooring
Contents coverage includes:
Clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
Portable and window air conditioners
Portable microwaves and dishwashers
Carpeting that is not already included in property coverage
Clothing washers and dryers
The two most common reimbursement methods for flood claims are: Replacement Cost Value (RCV) and Actual Cash Value (ACV). The RCV is the cost to replace damaged property. It is reimbursable to owners of single-family, primary residences insured to within 80% of the buildings replacement cost.
All other buildings and personal property (i.e. contents) are valued at ACV. The ACV is the RCV at the time of loss minus physical depreciation. Personal property is always valued using the ACV.
Use the Summary of Coverage for more details on what's covered.
When is Flood Insurance Required
Congress mandated federally regulated or insured lenders to require flood insurance on properties that are located in areas at high risk of flooding.
Below you'll find the insurance requirements for your flood risk area. If you're not sure which area your property is in, take your Risk Profile to learn more.
Residents of High-Risk Areas
Homes and buildings in high-risk flood areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to have flood insurance. In high-risk areas, there is at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.
Residents of Moderate- to Low-risk Areas
Homes and businesses located in moderate- to low-risk areas that have mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are typically not required to have flood insurance. Even though flood insurance isn't federally required, anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. In fact, people outside of mapped high-risk flood areas file over 20-percent of all National Flood Insurance Program flood insurance claims and receive one-third of Federal Disaster Assistance for flooding. When it's available, disaster assistance is typically a loan you must repay with interest.
A lender can require flood insurance, even if it is not federally required.
The NFIP does more than make flood insurance available
NFIP also supports local communities in their efforts to reduce the risk and consequences of serious flooding. In order to participate in the NFIP, a community must agree to adopt and enforce sound floodplain management regulations and ordinances. In exchange for these practices, FEMA makes flood insurance available to homeowners, business owners and renters in these communities.
Find out if your community is one of more than 22,000 communities that have implemented floodplain management measures and participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.