Much of Florida is prone to flooding, so Sunshine State residents should consider purchasing flood insurance to protect their home and belongings from costly flood damage.
Published May 10, 20224 min read
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Of the 2.5 million Florida homes in the FEMA-designated special flood hazard area, or areas with a one in four chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage, just 43% have flood insurance.  
A typical homeowners insurance policy does not cover water damage caused by flooding, including storm surge after a hurricane, river and coastal flooding, and heavy rains. Florida residents will want to consider purchasing flood insurance to fill in this important coverage gap.
Around 27% of the roughly 9 million housing units in Florida have a high risk of flooding, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Most Florida homeowners purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a FEMA-backed federal government program.
Most Florida insurers offer either NFIP flood insurance or their own private flood coverage that you can purchase as a separate policy or as an add-on to your homeowners insurance.
The average cost of flood insurance in Florida is $785 per year, which is about 6% higher than the national average, according to our analysis of NFIP data. But your own rates will depend on your home’s flood risk, its structure and elevation, whether your coverage is through the NFIP or a private company, and several other factors.
Generally speaking, your flood insurance rates will be higher if you live in a high-risk flood zone, or an area with at least a 1% chance of flooding during any given year.
You can check what flood zone your house is in by looking at FEMA’s flood maps. Any zone with an A or V is considered high risk, so if you live in one of those areas and have a mortgage on your house, you may be required to purchase flood insurance.
In cities throughout Florida, average flood insurance costs range anywhere from $194 per year to $3,877. Coastal cities like Miami have relatively low flood insurance rates, while Key West, Sanibel, and other places with more exposure see significantly higher rates.
Keep in mind that average flood insurance costs are for FEMA flood insurance policies only, and may not be indicative of what you’ll pay for private flood insurance. In fact, a study by Milliman found that 77% of single-family homes in Florida could see cheaper premiums with private flood insurance. 
To ensure you’re getting the best flood insurance at the most affordable rate, make sure to compare NFIP and private flood insurance options.
If your home is located in a high-risk flood zone and you have a mortgage through a federally regulated bank, you’ll likely be required to purchase flood insurance as part of your loan agreement. While this coverage generally isn’t required if you live in a lower risk area, you should still consider flood insurance given Florida’s frequent tropical storms and catastrophic flood events.
A standard flood insurance policy through the NFIP comes with two main coverages that can be purchased together or as individual policies.
Building property coverage: Pays to repair or rebuild your house or garage if they’re damaged in a flood. The maximum building property coverage limit with the NFIP is $250,000, meaning that’s the most you’ll be reimbursed for repairs, regardless of the damage amount.
Personal property coverage: Pays to repair or replace your belongings if they’re damaged in a flood. This includes your furniture, electronics, clothes, and any other items you own. The maximum personal property coverage limit with the NFIP is $100,000.
Each coverage also comes with its own separate out-of-pocket deductible, which is the amount you’re responsible for paying before your insurance kicks in. That means if your home and belongings are damaged in the same flood event, you’ll have to file two separate claims with separate deductibles.
Many Florida homeowners are turning to private flood insurance as a lower cost (and higher quality) alternative to federal flood insurance.
Private flood insurance generally has higher coverage limits, more comprehensive coverage options, and other perks that aren’t available through the heavily regulated NFIP. This includes coverage for things like additional living expenses to pay for hotel stays or restaurant meals if your house is badly damaged and you’re forced to evacuate; or replacement cost coverage for your personal belongings.
Here’s a look at what Florida residents can expect with NFIP coverage compared to the private flood insurance option.
|NFIP||Private flood insurance|
|Maximum home rebuild limit||$250,000||Typically up to $500,000 or higher|
|Availability||All but two Florida counties||May be limited in higher-risk areas|
|Waiting period||30 days||As little as two weeks|
|Accepted by mortgage lenders||Yes||Yes|
|Replacement cost building coverage||Yes||Yes|
|Replacement cost contents coverage||No||Yes|
|Loss of use coverage||No||Yes|
|Loss avoidance coverage (sandbags, etc)||No||Yes|
|Debris removal coverage||Yes||Yes|
Additionally, private flood insurance typically has a waiting period of under two weeks, which is the amount of time it takes for the policy to become active after you’ve been approved for coverage. With the NFIP, you have to wait up to 30 days before your flood insurance policy kicks in. This is an especially important consideration for Florida homeowners who are purchasing flood insurance right before or during hurricane season.
A standard home insurance policy does not cover flooding, so you’ll need to purchase flood insurance to protect your home and belongings in the event of a flood. If your house is flooded and you don’t have this coverage, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for any repairs or remediation costs.
Flood insurance isn’t legally required in Florida, however coverage is mandatory if you have a mortgage on your house through a federally-backed lender (FHA, VA, USDA loans, or any mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac) and you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), as designated by FEMA. Here’s a look at the total number of housing units and the percentage of all homes in high-risk flood zones for each county in Florida.
While around 73% of Florida housing units are in flood zones X, C, and B, or areas with a moderate to low risk of flooding, around 25% of all flood insurance claims come from these areas. This makes flood insurance an important consideration regardless of where you live in the Sunshine State.
Additionally, FEMA flood maps are notoriously outdated and are generally not viewed as a reliable source of an individual property’s flood risk. For a more accurate look at your home’s risk of flooding and your potential flood insurance needs, consider using more advanced tools like Flood Factor.
When you’re ready to buy flood insurance, be sure to compare quotes from both the NFIP and private flood insurance plans. If you have homeowners insurance, your provider likely offers flood coverage via the NFIP, but it may have a private flood insurance option as well.
If it doesn’t, consider comparing private flood insurance options from as many as 31 companies in Florida. If you feel you’re paying too much for NFIP coverage, you may find significantly cheaper rates with one of the following Florida flood insurance companies: