How Much is Flood Insurance?
People are often surprised to learn that their homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. If you live in a flood prone area, you may be wondering how much flood insurance costs, and whether or not you can afford it. Of course, if your property has increased flood risk, you can't really afford not to have flood insurance, and furthermore your lender may require you to buy it. So how much is a flood insurance policy and how can you keep your cost down?
Most flood insurance policies sold in the United States are backed by the national flood insurance program. Premiums rates for NFIP policies vary considerably and are based on a number of factors.
NFIP Premium Cost Factors
Your Property’s Flood Zone Flood zones are ratings FEMA assigns to specific geographic areas based on the areas estimated level of flood risk. The NFIP uses this information to help determine how much flood insurance will cost and whether or not it is mandatory. Flood zones with the highest risk are classified as special flood hazard Areas, or SFHAs, and include both A and V zones. Properties in a Special Flood Hazard Area are required to have flood insurance.
The State You Live In With the NFIP, the state you live in can affect the amount you pay for your flood insurance. Some states have higher averages than others. Connecticut has the highest average at $1,394.83, and Louisiana the lowest at $664.43. This might seem counter intuitive since Louisiana is very flood prone state, but the average in flood prone states tends to be pulled down because more people in these states tend to purchase flood in lower risk areas.
The Elevation of Your Home’s Lowest Floor Since the lowest floor of your home is typically the most vulnerable to flooding, its elevation is often the most significant factor impacting your flood insurance premium. This information is compared to your area’s base flood elevation, which is the projected level flood waters are expected to reach during a 100-year flooding event. If your home’s lowest floor is below the base flood elevation, your flood insurance rate can increase significantly. On the other hand, if your lowest floor is above the base flood elevation, you may be able to save a considerable amount on your premium. This information may require you to hire a qualified surveyor to produce an elevation certificate for your property, which can be costly. Luckily, many private insurers do not require an elevation certificate.
The Value of your Property and its Contents The amount and the type of coverage you select will affect your policy’s overall cost. The NFIP offers a maximum of $250,000 of building coverage for residential properties. Those looking for more coverage will need to purchase excess flood insurance or find a primary policy through a private insurer. When purchasing flood insurance, it is important to consider whether or not you want to insure the contents of your home. Many people assume that damage to their personal property will be covered under their homeowners policy, and since content coverage is not required, elect to go without it. Unfortunately, flood is an excluded peril under standard homeowners and renters policies. While foregoing contents coverage can save you money in present, it could cost you more in the event of a loss. Choosing a higher deductible can also help to lower your premium, but you will need to ensure you hold enough in reserve to satisfy your deductible in the event that you end up filing a claim.
Your Home's Age and Occupancy Your insurance rates may increase or decrease depending on when you home was built. Homes built using older construction techniques and materials tend to sustain more significant damage during natural disasters and as a result require more extensive repair. In addition, costs to repair or replace older homes are often much higher than for newer ones. If you are fortunate enough to have a secondary home, you may find that it costs more to insure it than your primary residence. Seasonal homes tend to be “riskier” because they are unoccupied much of the time. Losses at unoccupied residences tend to be more extensive since no one is around to take preventative measures, and it may take longer to notice and address any damage.
Location of Your Utilities Heating and cooling systems, water heaters, electrical panels, and other utilities are a vital part of your home.They are also expensive to repair or replace! Keeping them elevated so they are less likely to be damaged in a flood can offer flood insurance savings.Consider elevating your utilities by using attic space, an upstairs closet, or elevated platform.
Private Insurance May Be A Better Deal
There are some key differences that could make private insurance a better fit for you. Private insurers are better positioned to provide you with more robust coverage at prices you can afford.
You can get coverage for your finished basement. While this coverage may cost more, it is not available through the NFIP.
The maximum coverage amounts available through the NFIP ($250,000 for residential buildings, and $100,000 of contents) are not always enough to have you fully covered. A private policy can cover you for up to $5 million.
You can get coverage for extra expenses such as debris removal, or additional living expense coverage which pays for things like pet boarding, or a hotel stay if your home is uninhabitable following a covered loss.
Private insurance can provide you with better coverage and often does so while helping you save a substantial amount on your premium. Floodprice.com can help you find the right private insurance coverage for your property. Check out our website and get a quote today.