Flood insurance statistics

We break down average flood insurance rates by state, how likely you are to file a claim, and why it pays to take out a policy — even if you’re not in a high-risk flood zone.

Pat Howard 1600

By

Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a senior editor and licensed home insurance agent 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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Did you know a standard homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover any damage caused by flooding? You’re not alone. Over half of all homeowners in the U.S. had no idea either. Add to this the fact that a quarter of all flood claims occur to homes outside high-risk flood zones, and it’s no wonder experts recommend all homeowners sign up for flood insurance.

Not sure where to begin? Or how much you can expect to pay? We broke down flood insurance facts and statistics to make sure you’re prepared for when the unthinkable happens.

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Flood insurance by the numbers

  • Just 1 inch of flood water can cause $25,000 in damages [1]

  • 99% of U.S. counties were affected by a flooding disaster from 1996 to 2019 [2]

  • 90% o​​f natural disasters in the U.S. involve flooding [3]

  • You’re 27 times more likely to experience a flood than a fire during a 30-year mortgage [4]

  • 25% of flood claims occur to homes outside of high-risk areas [5]

  • 53% of homeowners don’t realize that flood damage is not covered by standard home insurance policies [6]

  • Over 95% of flood insurance policies are purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) versus the private insurance market [7]

  • Only 1 in 10 homeowners have flood insurance through the NFIP [8]

  • Louisiana has the highest percentage of flood-insured homes — nearly 25% of homes are protected through the NFIP [9] [10]

  • Minnesota has the lowest percentage of flood-insured homes — just 0.33% have a flood insurance policy through the NFIP [11] [12]

  • $985 was the average annual NFIP policy premium in 2021 [13]

  • $44,401 was the average flood claim payout from the NFIP in 2021 [14]

  • 145 people died due to a flooding catastrophe in 2021 — up 145% from 2020 [15]

➞ Learn how to buy flood insurance

NFIP flood insurance rates by state

The average cost of an NFIP flood insurance policy in 2021 was $985, according to data provided by the National Flood Insurance Program. [16] However, how much you ultimately pay depends on the following factors:

  • Your coverage amounts and type of coverage

  • The age and build of your home

  • Your home’s location and flood zone

Here’s a breakdown of how much homeowners paid on average in 2021, depending on what state they lived in.

StateAverage annual rateAverage monthly rate
Alabama$717$60
Alaska$963$80
Arizona$747$62
Arkansas$952$79
California$880$73
Colorado$989$82
Connecticut$1,496$125
Delaware$757$63
District of Columbia$854$71
Florida$613$51
Georgia$724$60
Hawaii$687$57
Idaho$797$66
Illinois$1,135$95
Indiana$1,147$96
Iowa$1,199$100
Kansas$1,033$86
Kentucky$1,150$96
Louisiana$736$61
Maine$1,122$94
Maryland$630$53
Massachusetts$1,298$108
Michigan$1,080$90
Minnesota$1,002$84
Mississippi$830$69
Missouri$1,228$102
Montana$883$74
Nebraska$1,080$90
Nevada$798$67
New Hampshire$1,075$90
New Jersey$957$80
New Mexico$948$79
New York$1,266$106
North Carolina$742$62
North Dakota$819$68
Ohio$1,211$101
Oklahoma$973$81
Oregon$950$79
Pennsylvania$1,370$114
Rhode Island$1,427$119
South Carolina$637$53
South Dakota$1,099$92
Tennessee$978$82
Texas$656$55
Utah$714$60
Vermont$1,648$137
Virginia$796$66
Washington$969$81
West Virginia$1,305$109
Wisconsin$1,076$90
Wyoming$1,067$89

Methodology

State averages were calculated using 2021 data provided by the National Flood Insurance Program. [17] We divided the total written premiums and federal policy fees in each state by the number of in-force policies in each state to determine the average cost of premiums and fees by state.

Top 10 states with the most expensive flood insurance rates

Why do land-locked states like Vermont, Missouri, and West Virginia have some of the highest rates around? It’s likely because most of the homeowners opted for flood insurance in these states because their home is located on a floodplain, which is a low-lying area near a river that’s prone to flooding. The greater risk of flooding comes with a higher insurance price tag to match.

RankStateAverage annual rateAverage monthly rate
1.Vermont$1,648$137
2.Connecticut$1,496$125
3.Rhode Island$1,427$119
4.Pennsylvania$1,370$114
5.West Virginia$1,305$109
6.Massachusetts$1,298$108
7.New York$1,266$106
8.Missouri$1,228$102
9.Ohio$1,211$101
10.Iowa$1,199$100

Top 10 states with the cheapest flood insurance rates

Meanwhile, coastal states including Florida, Maryland, and South Carolina have some of the cheapest flood insurance rates. Why? Because of the National Flood Insurance Program’s goal to make access to flood insurance for homeowners who are most at risk more affordable.

RankStateAverage annual rateAverage monthly rate
1.Florida$613$51
2.Maryland$630$53
3.South Carolina$637$53
4.Texas$656$55
5.Hawaii$687$57
6.Utah$714$60
7.Alabama$717$60
8.Georgia$724$60
9.Louisiana$736$61
10.North Carolina$742$62

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NFIP flood insurance policies by state

We analyzed data from the National Flood Insurance Program [18] and the U.S. Census Bureau [19] to calculate the percentage of homes in each state with flood insurance policies through the NFIP.

StateNumber of homesActive NFIP policiesInsured homes
Alabama2,288,33052,2782.28%
Alaska326,2002,2000.67%
Arizona3,082,00026,4020.86%
Arkansas1,365,26513,4160.98%
California14,392,140203,9291.42%
Colorado2,491,40418,4240.74%
Connecticut1,530,19732,6332.13%
Delaware448,73526,3865.88%
District of Columbia350,3642,0490.58%
Florida9,865,3501,714,00817.37%
Georgia4,410,95679,5451.8%
Hawaii561,06660,52910.79%
Idaho751,8595,6880.76%
Illinois5,426,42935,3310.65%
Indiana2,923,17518,2170.62%
Iowa1,412,78911,4670.81%
Kansas1,275,6898,2070.64%
Kentucky1,994,32319,0780.96%
Louisiana2,073,200509,02024.55%
Maine739,0727,4501.01%
Maryland2,530,84464,5632.55%
Massachusetts2,998,53756,0201.87%
Michigan4,570,17319,9030.44%
Minnesota2,485,5588,1840.33%
Mississippi1,319,94560,9974.62%
Missouri2,786,62118,2310.65%
Montana514,8034,0890.79%
Nebraska844,2788,4241%
Nevada1,281,01810,1900.8%
New Hampshire638,7957,4241.16%
New Jersey3,761,229210,4835.6%
New Mexico940,85910,9141.16%
New York8,488,066165,6331.95%
North Carolina4,708,710139,1272.95%
North Dakota370,6428,2552.23%
Ohio5,242,52426,6550.51%
Oklahoma1,746,80711,5760.66%
Oregon1,813,74724,3941.34%
Pennsylvania5,742,82849,3920.86%
Rhode Island483,47411,2542.33%
South Carolina2,344,963206,5738.81%
South Dakota393,3753,0150.77%
Tennessee3,031,60527,1480.90%
Texas11,589,324786,0516.78%
Utah1,151,4143,9320.34%
Vermont334,3183,2190.96%
Virginia3,618,247100,7392.78%
Washington3,202,24131,8641%
West Virginia855,63512,4901.46%
Wisconsin2,727,72611,7980.43%
Wyoming271,8871,6100.59%

Methodology

To calculate the percentage of owner-occupied homes in each state with flood insurance through the NFIP, we divided the total number of active NFIP policies [20] in each state by the total number of owner-occupied homes in that state according to the U.S. Census Bureau. [21]

Keep in mind that we did not take into account homes with private flood insurance.

Top 5 states with homeowners most prepared for a flood

We nailed down the states with the highest percentage of homes with flood insurance through the NFIP. 

RankStateInsurance homes
1.Louisiana24.55%
2.Florida17.37%
3.Hawaii10.79%
4.South Carolina8.81%
5.Texas6.78%

Top 5 states with homeowners least prepared for a flood

Here are the top five states with the lowest percentage of homes with flood insurance through the NFIP.

RankStateInsured homes
1.Minnesota0.33%
2.Utah0.34%
3.Wisconsin0.43%
4.Michigan0.44%
5.Ohio0.51%

NFIP flood insurance claims and total payouts by state

The average flood insurance claim payout through the NFIP was $44,401 in 2021. [22] Check out the table below to find out how many claims were filed in your state — and the average payout for the claims that were approved.

StateTotal claimsAverage claim payout
Alabama563$32,187
Alaska11$14,078
Arizona160$33,200
Arkansas148$ 36,195
California79$ 37,590
Colorado51$ 20,017
Connecticut904$ 25,738
Delaware118$ 15,276
District of Columbia21$ 6,994
Florida4,288$ 37,385
Georgia598$ 29,787
Hawaii114$ 36,106
Idaho4$ 1,984
Illinois120$ 16,004
Indiana114$ 42,566
Iowa26$ 38,248
Kansas28$ 25,152
Kentucky730$ 34,800
Louisiana20,865$ 60,344
Maine5$ 18,341
Maryland192$ 12,306
Massachusetts207$ 16,875
Michigan330$ 14,424
Minnesota5$ 16,559
Mississippi1,609$ 24,216
Missouri148$ 34,532
Montana4$ 0
Nebraska16$ 33,163
Nevada38$ 39,988
New Hampshire22$ 62,740
New Jersey7,297$ 37,990
New Mexico55$ 21,134
New York3,793$ 33,248
North Carolina707$ 40,724
North Dakota5$ 5,463
Ohio193$ 24,348
Oklahoma76$ 44,050
Oregon37$ 15,473
Pennsylvania2,188$ 33,042
Rhode Island74$ 24,992
South Carolina256$ 16,401
South DakotaN/AN/A
Tennessee1,115$ 51,241
Texas2,357$ 32,074
Utah21$ 21,465
Vermont26$ 28,669
Virginia302$ 13,278
Washington70$ 39,584
West Virginia240$ 29,075
Wisconsin36$ 9,441
Wyoming2$ 0

Methodology

To calculate the average flood insurance claims payout through the NFIP in each state, we divided the total claims payments in each state by the number of claims that were filed and closed with payment in that same state. [23]  

The NFIP didn’t have data available for South Dakota as of December 2021, which is why we marked that state as N/A.

Top 10 cities most at risk of flooding

Not surprisingly, most of the top 10 cities at risk of flooding due to storm surge and hurricane-force winds can be found in coastal areas throughout Florida.

Here’s how it breaks down, according to CoreLogic data analyzed by the Insurance Information Institute. [24]

RankCityHomes at risk of storm surgeHomes at risk of hurricane-force winds
1.New York, NY781,8233,378,397
2.Miami, FL738,9941,997,608
3.Tampa, FL544,4331,102,691
4.New Orleans, LA396,870424,460
5.Virginia Beach, VA395,653578,622
6.Fort Meyers, FL321,940348,965
7.Bradenton, FL284,828373,133
8.Houston, TX261,1031,987,408
9.Jacksonville, FL220,301548,161
10.Naples, FL197,265201,314

Methodology

To calculate the cities most at risk of flooding in the U.S., the Insurance Information Institute analyzed CoreLogic data of the number of homes located in areas at high risk of storm surge or hurricane-force winds. [25]

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Average NFIP flood claims by year

Here’s the average flood claim payout per year up until 2018, according to FEMA. [26]

YearTotal NFIP policiesAverage flood claim payout
20095,700,235$25,133
20105,645,436$26,529
20115,646,144$31,053
20125,620,017$62,674
20135,568,642$27,185
20145,406,725$29,459
20155,205,094$39,861
20165,081,470$62,247
20175,047,602$91,735
20185,178,978$42,580

Top 10 most expensive flood catastrophes in the U.S.

Hurricane Katrina will go down as the most expensive flood catastrophe in terms of total claims paid out by the NFIP — causing $16,258 million of destruction. Meanwhile, Hurricane Harvey brought the highest cost of destruction per household — with homeowners averaging over $115,000 in payments per claim filed with the NFIP.

Check out all 10 of the most expensive flood catastrophes in the U.S. from 1978 to 2019 below. [27]

RankFlood catastropheDateStates affectedTotal flood claims paid (in millions)Average claim amount
1.Hurricane KatrinaAugust 2005AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, TN$16,258$97,474
2.Hurricane HarveySeptember 2017AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, TX$8,909$116,823
3.Superstorm SandyOctober 2012CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV$8,804$66,517
4.Hurricane IkeSeptember 2008AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, OH, PA, TX$2,702$57,866
5.Louisiana severe stormsAugust 2016LA$2,468$91,507
6.Hurricane IvanSeptember 2004AL, DE, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV$1,608$57,097
7.Hurricane IreneAugust 2011CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT$1,346$30,369
8.Tropical Storm AllisonJune 2011FL, LA, MS, NJ, PA, TX$1,105$36,028
9.Hurricane IrmaSeptember 2017FL, GA, SC$1,054$48,095
10.Hurricane MatthewOctober 2016FL, GA, NC, SC, VA$654$39,455

Private flood insurance in the U.S.

The number of insurance companies writing private flood coverage has increased over the last few years — with 175 carriers selling private flood insurance in 2020. [28]

YearPrivate flood insurance companies
2018127
2019152
2020175

Why is the private flood insurance industry on the upswing? 

In the past, flood insurance was viewed as an untouchable risk. But thanks to technological advancements, flood events are more predictable, flood maps are more accurate than that of their FEMA counterparts, and it's now easier to assess the risk faced by each home.

Private flood insurance is also becoming more popular with homeowners since it can offer higher coverage limits than the NFIP, which currently caps coverage at $250,000. It also helps that the federal government ruled that regulated mortgage lenders must accept flood insurance policies from private insurers as long as they’re comparable to NFIP policies.

Top 10 private flood insurance companies

Here are the top writers of private flood insurance in the U.S. in 2020, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). [29]  

Insurance companyTotal premiums writtenMarket share
Zurich$98,74913.8%
Assurant$97,37413.6%
AIG$75,31810.6%
AXA$68,6969.6%
Swiss Re$67,4719.5%
Arch Capital Group$49,6787%
Berkshire Hathaway$41,4175.8%
Liberty Mutual$38,6015.4%
Allstate$35,5845%
MAPFRE$27,1233.8%

Methodology

The Insurance Information Institute analyzed NAIC data of direct premiums written in 2020 for both private residential and commercial coverage from private insurance companies. [30]

Direct premiums are the amount insurance companies make off of each individual insurance policy.

The table does not include FM Global, which reclassified private flood insurance as part of allied lines in 2019. FM Global had $300 million in direct premiums written for private flood insurance in 2018 — 43% of the total U.S. private flood market.

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