Flood insurance in Pennsylvania: How much does it cost & is it required?

While 13% of Pennsylvania homes face a severe risk of flooding, just 7% have flood insurance.

Pat Howard 1600

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Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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.

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The average cost of flood insurance in Pennsylvania is $766 per year when purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). [1] But your own flood insurance rates may be lower or higher than the statewide average depending on your home’s location and risk of being flooded.

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While flood insurance isn’t legally required in Pennsylvania, your mortgage lender may require you to purchase a policy if you live in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated special flood hazard area according to the agency’s flood maps. Pennsylvania homeowners can purchase flood insurance through the NFIP, which is a FEMA-backed program, or through private flood insurance companies. 

How much is flood insurance in Pennsylvania?

The average cost of flood insurance in Pennsylvania is $64 per month through the NFIP, the federal government entity that provides the vast majority of flood insurance policies in the U.S; while private flood insurance costs around $78 per month. 

Looking at the 29 Pennsylvania cities with at least 200 policyholders, the average cost of flood insurance is as high as $3,163 in Harrisburg, a city with an extreme risk of flooding over the next 30 years; and as low as $458 per year in Swoyersville, a city with a moderate risk of flooding, according to Risk Factor. [2]

Your flood insurance costs are generally calculated based on the following factors:

  • Where you live

  • Your home’s elevation and construction type

  • The amount of coverage in your policy

  • Policy deductible amount

In addition to the above factors, the amount you pay for flood insurance will also depend on how your flood insurance provider calculates your rates.

10 cheapest Pennsylvania cities for flood insurance

Here are the cheapest cities in Pennsylvania for flood insurance out of those with at least 200 NFIP policyholders.

City

Average annual cost

Swoyersville

$458

Forty Fort

$587

Kingston

$621

Lower Merion

$625

Scranton

$773

Lower Moreland

$876

Edwardsville

$880

Athens

$882

Hanover

$906

Wilkes-Barre

$927

10 most expensive Pennsylvania cities for flood insurance

Here are the most expensive cities in Pennsylvania for flood insurance out of those with at least 200 NFIP policyholders.

City

Average annual cost

Harrisburg

$3,163

Johnstown

$2,667

Pittsburgh

$2,101

Derry

$2,076

Susquehanna

$1,954

Upper Darby

$1,946

Tinicum

$1,928

New Hope

$1,857

Bloomsburg

$1,542

Washington

$1,429

Flood insurance rates by flood zone in Pennsylvania

Flood insurance rates in Pennsylvania will generally vary depending on where you live and whether or not your house is in a FEMA flood zone, which it determines based on the likelihood of flooding over a period of time. 

Any A or V zone, for example, has at least a 1% chance of flooding during any given year. Also referred to as a 100-year flood plain, these areas have the highest flood risk, according to FEMA flood maps. 

Here are the average flood insurance rates in areas with a high risk, moderate to low risk, and undetermined risk, according to an analysis of NFIP premium data.

Flood zone

Average annual cost

High risk (A or V)

$2,028

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

$804

Undetermined risk (D)

$1,447

Regardless of which flood zone you live in, you’ll want to make sure you’re finding the best flood insurance at the most affordable rate. For the best flood insurance policy comparison, consider comparing both NFIP and private flood insurance plans with Policygenius. 

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

To find out if your current or future house is in a FEMA-designated flood plain, consult the agency’s Flood Map Service Center. These maps can help you make an informed decision about where to live, what to build, and can help you determine whether or not you’ll need flood insurance.

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Is flood insurance mandatory in Pennsylvania?

While you aren’t legally required to buy flood insurance in Pennsylvania or anywhere else in the country, if your home is one of the approximately 180,884 in a FEMA high-risk flood zone, your mortgage lender may require it as part of your loan agreement. 

But even if your lender doesn’t require it, homeowners in flood-prone counties in the southeast, southwest, and northwest parts of the state should consider flood insurance protection. While only around 3% of Pennsylvania homes are located in high-risk areas according to FEMA flood maps, Risk Factor estimates this number to be more like 13%, so your home may face greater risk than you’re even aware of. [3]

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 Pennsylvania.

What does flood insurance cover in Pennsylvania?

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 coastal storm, a lake overflow, 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, you should consider purchasing flood insurance to ensure your home and personal belongings are completely protected.

Compare NFIP & private flood insurance in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania homeowners can buy flood insurance in one of two ways: through the NFIP, which is regulated and backed by the federal government and sold by insurance companies, or private flood insurance.

Private flood insurance policies typically come with higher reimbursement limits for your home and personal belongings. Additionally, they often include coverages and perks that aren’t available in the NFIP plan, including 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 Pennsylvania residents can expect with NFIP and private flood insurance.

NFIP flood insurance

Private flood insurance

Building property coverage

Max of $250,000

Up to $15,000,000 depending on the company

Personal property coverage

Max of $100,000

Up to $1,000,000 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

Availability

56 states and jurisdictions

May be limited in higher-risk areas

Pennsylvania flood insurance companies

The best way to shop for flood insurance is to compare quotes from both the NFIP and private flood insurance companies. If you have homeowners insurance, then your provider may offer flood insurance via the NFIP or their own standalone flood insurance policy or coverage endorsement.

After analyzing data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, we found at least 12 companies that offer private flood insurance in Pennsylvania. If you’re looking for better coverage or lower rates, consider getting quotes from one of the following companies. 

Company

Average annual cost

Assurant

$701

Bankers Insurance

$237

Chubb

$1,014

National Fire & Marine Insurance

$1,703

National General

$945

Neptune

$738

Palomar

$538

The Flood Insurance Agency

$1,350

Trisura

$692

TypTap

$1,097

United Speciality Insurance

$839

Wright Flood

$619

Our team of licensed insurance agents at Policygenius can help you compare policies and find the best option for you. Click the calculator to get started.

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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 our

editorial standards.
  1. Federal Emergency Management Agency

    . "

    Flood Insurance Data and Analytics

    ." Accessed September 21, 2022.

  2. Risk Factor

    . "

    Does Pennsylvania have risk?

    ." Accessed September 21, 2022.

Corrections

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Author

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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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.

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