Flood insurance in Massachusetts: Average costs & coverage options

Learn about Massachusetts flood insurance costs, options, and coverage requirements and get protected today.

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Pat HowardManaging Editor & Licensed Home Insurance ExpertPat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

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Jennifer GimbelJennifer GimbelSenior Managing Editor & Home Insurance ExpertJennifer Gimbel is a senior managing editor and home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our homeowners insurance coverage. Previously, she was the managing editor at Finder.com and a content strategist at Babble.com.
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Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®Certified Financial PlannerIan Bloom, CFP®, RLP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, he was a financial advisor at MetLife and MassMutual.

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Massachusetts flood insurance: By the numbers

  • Massachusetts has around 235,000 properties with a greater than 26% chance of severe flooding over the next 30 years, yet only 23% are protected with flood insurance

  • The average cost of flood insurance in Massachusetts is $1,269 per year when purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

  • The NFIP’s new method for determining the cost of flood insurance, the average cost of flood insurance in Massachusetts will eventually increase to $2,097 per year — or a roughly 65% increase over what homeowners are currently paying.

  • While flood insurance is typically only required by mortgage lenders if you live in a high-risk flood zone, 23% of all NFIP flood damage claims come from homes in areas with a minimal-to-moderate risk of flooding.

In Massachusetts, roughly 77% of properties with an extreme risk of flooding do not have flood insurance coverage. Because homeowners insurance doesn’t typically cover flood damage, Massachusetts residents should consider purchasing flood insurance in addition to home insurance — regardless of whether their property is located in a high-risk flood zone or not. [1]

Compare flood insurance rates in Massachusetts

Do you need flood insurance in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, you’re not legally required to purchase flood insurance. However, your mortgage lender can require you to purchase it if you live in a high-risk flood zone according to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood maps. If flood insurance is not required as part of your mortgage, it’s a good idea to purchase it anyway.

Roughly 90% of natural disasters in the U.S. involve flooding. And consequently, floods happen just about everywhere — 99% of U.S. counties are estimated to have had at least one flood event in recorded history. It’s also estimated that roughly twice as many properties in the U.S. are at risk of flood damage than previously thought. [2]  

Given that greater than 1 in 5 flood damage claims are made by homeowners in low- to moderate-risk flood areas on FEMA flood maps, Massachusetts homeowners will want to consider flood insurance regardless of where they live

How much is flood insurance in Massachusetts?

The average cost of flood insurance in Massachusetts is $1,269 per year or $106 per month through the National Flood Insurance Program, which is about 43% more expensive than the national average of $888 per year. [3] However, your own flood insurance rates may be higher or lower than the Massachusetts average depending on your home’s elevation, size, and overall flood risk.

Looking at the average cost of flood insurance for each county in Massachusetts, Nantucket’s $1,526 annual flood insurance premium was the most expensive on average. The county’s nearly 500 NFIP policyholders are expected to see their rates jump nearly $1,300 on average, or 87%, in the coming years under Risk Rating 2.0 — the NFIP’s new rating system.    

On the flip side, Worcester County had the cheapest flood insurance rates in our analysis, with homeowners there paying an average of $839 each year for coverage. Under Risk Rating 2.0, Worcester residents won’t be hit by nearly the same level of sticker shock as those in Nantucket, with premiums expected to rise about 34% in the coming years.

County

Average annual cost

Average risk-based cost

Barnstable County

1,281

2,277

Berkshire County

1,189

2,005

Bristol County

1,381

1,999

Dukes County

1,344

2,955

Essex County

1,147

2,067

Franklin County

1,148

2,872

Hampden County

1,295

2,360

Hampshire County

1,096

2,168

Middlesex County

877

1,247

Nantucket County

1,526

2,854

Norfolk County

1,201

1,803

Plymouth County

1,455

2,265

Suffolk County

1,482

2,541

Worcester County

839

1,127

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Compare flood insurance rates in Massachusetts

Average flood insurance cost in Massachusetts by flood zone

Flood insurance rates for a particular property are based primarily on its location and whether or not it’s in a high-risk flood zone. If you live in a high-risk area, you’ll likely pay more for flood insurance compared to if you lived in a moderate- to low-risk area. 

Here are the average flood insurance rates in areas of Massachusetts with a high risk, moderate-to-low risk, and unmapped risk, according to our analysis of NFIP flood insurance data.

Massachusetts flood zone

Average annual cost

High risk (A or V)

$2,973

Moderate to low risk (B, C, or X)

$863

Undetermined risk (D)

$1,346

How to find out if your home is in a high-risk flood zone

To find out if your current or future home is in a high-risk FEMA flood zone and whether you’ll need to purchase flood insurance, consult the agency’s Flood Map Service Center

But for a more accurate reading into your home’s flood risk both now and in the future, consider using a more advanced flood risk model like Risk Factor — FEMA’s new method for determining the cost of flood insurance.

What does flood insurance cover?

Flood insurance helps cover the cost of flood damage to your home and belongings. That means if your house is damaged due to flooding caused by heavy rainfall, a hurricane, high coastal tides, or any other sources of natural flooding, flood insurance can pay to repair or replace your property. 

A standard flood insurance policy through the NFIP comes with two main coverages that can be purchased together or individually.  

  • 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 the NFIP will reimburse you 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 on each claim. Choosing a higher deductible will lower your flood insurance premium, but it will also reduce your claim payment.

Covered by NFIP flood insurance

  • Your home’s structure, including electrical and plumbing systems

  • Built-in appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers

  • Personal belongings like clothing, furniture, and electronics

  • Expensive valuables (up to $2,500)

  • Detached garages 

  • Debris removal

Not covered by NFIP flood insurance

  • Home or personal property damage caused by mold, mildew, or moisture

  • Currency, precious metals, and valuable papers

  • Belongings outside of your home, such as trees, plants, decks, hot tubs, etc

  • Any belongings in your basement

Flood insurance helps fill an important coverage gap

Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover water damage caused by flooding, so if you live in a flood-prone area of Massachusetts, you should consider purchasing flood insurance.

How to get flood insurance in Massachusetts

To get flood insurance, you can go one of two routes: 

  • NFIP flood insurance policy: Backed by the federal government and sold by insurance companies

  • Private flood insurance: Backed and sold by private insurers, it provides superior and often cheaper coverage compared to the NFIP plan

In order to purchase flood insurance through the NFIP, you need to live in a participating community. Fortunately, nearly 97% of all communities in Massachusetts participate in the program. And if you live in one of the 9 communities that doesn't offer NFIP coverage, you may still be able to purchase private flood insurance.

Private flood insurance policies typically come with higher coverage limits for your home and personal belongings if they’re damaged by flooding. Additionally, they often include coverages and other benefits that aren’t available in the NFIP plan. This includes loss of use coverage to help cover the cost of lodging or restaurant meals in the event 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 Massachusetts residents can expect with NFIP and private flood insurance.

NFIP flood insurance

Private flood insurance

Building property coverage

Max of $250,000

Up to $15 million depending on the company

Personal property coverage

Max of $100,000

Up to $1 million depending on the company

Additional living expenses

Not included

Often included

Basement contents

Limited to wall fixtures, air conditioners, washer/dryers

Often covered

Deductible

$1,000 to $10,000

$1,000 to $50,000

Waiting period

30 days

As little as 0 to 10 days

Accepted by mortgages

Yes

Yes

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Compare flood insurance rates in Massachusetts

How to save money on flood insurance in Massachusetts

There are several steps that Massachusetts homeowners can take to mitigate the risk of flood damage to their home while also lowering their flood insurance rates. Here are the most effective ways to reduce the cost of flood insurance, according to FEMA.

  • Flood-proof your home. Elevating your home, moving water heaters and other home systems to higher ground, filling in basements and crawl spaces, and installing flood openings or barriers in your home can all lead to lower flood insurance rates. 

  • Increase your policy deductible. Setting your deductible at the $10,000 maximum can reduce your rates by as much as 40%, according to FEMA. Before increasing your deductible, make sure it’s set to an amount you can afford to pay out of pocket.  

  • Take advantage of community-wide discounts. If your community is enrolled in the NFIP’s Community Rating System, you’re eligible for a discount of anywhere from 5% to 45%. You can visit FEMA’s Community Rating System page to see if your community participates. 

  • Use an elevation certificate. An elevation certificate (EC) is a document that details your home’s flood risk. If you have an EC and it can prove that your home is above the Base Flood Elevation in your community, that could help lower your rates.

Massachusetts flood insurance companies

Whether you’re interested in purchasing both your home and flood insurance through the same company or mix and match with different companies, here are the providers you’ll need to go to for either NFIP or private flood insurance.

NFIP flood insurance providers in Massachusetts

The following 21 companies are approved to sell NFIP flood insurance policies to customers in Massachusetts: 

Private flood insurance providers in Massachusetts

The following two companies offer standalone private flood insurance in Massachusetts:

  • Federal Insurance

  • Zurich American

Excess flood insurance providers

The following five companies offer excess flood insurance, which is a type of private flood insurance that increases coverage limits for your home and personal belongings beyond the maximum amount offered through the NFIP:

  • AIG 

  • Berkley Insurance 

  • Federal Insurance

  • Markel

  • Wright National Flood Insurance 

Flood endorsement providers

The following three companies offer a flood insurance coverage endorsement that can be added to your homeowners insurance policy. Flood endorsements provide the same coverages as a separate flood insurance policy, but often have lower available coverage limits.

  • Stillwater 

  • Kingstone Insurance 

  • American European Insurance Company

Curious how private flood insurance options stack up to the competition? Compare quotes with Policygenius and we’ll do our best to find you the cheapest and best flood insurance coverage for your home — whether through the NFIP or a private flood insurer.

Compare flood insurance rates in Massachusetts

References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of oureditorial standards.

  1. Risk Factor

    . "

    Does Massachusetts have Flood Risk?

    ." Accessed December 06, 2023.

  2. The New York Times

    . "

    New Data Reveals Hidden Flood Risk Across America

    ." Accessed December 06, 2023.

  3. Federal Emergency Management Agency

    . "

    Flood Insurance Data and Analytics

    ." Accessed December 06, 2023.

Author

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

Editor

Jennifer Gimbel is a senior managing editor and home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our homeowners insurance coverage. Previously, she was the managing editor at Finder.com and a content strategist at Babble.com.

Expert reviewer

Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, he was a financial advisor at MetLife and MassMutual.

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