Everything You Need to Know About Flood Insurance in Florida

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If you live in a FEMA-designated high-risk flood zone in Florida, you may need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy to comply with your mortgage lender’s requirements. 
A standard homeowners insurance policy won’t cover damage caused by flooding. That’s because about 90% of all natural disasters in the US involve flooding—and flooding affects multiple properties at once, making it too big a threat to cover under a normal home insurance policy. 
Yet, according to a 2020 study by the Insurance Information Institute (III), only 27% of US homeowners have flood insurance. That may be because many people don’t realize floods aren’t covered by their existing home insurance—until it’s too late.
As weather patterns become more unpredictable and severe, it’s more important than ever to understand how flood insurance works in your state. That’s why home and auto insurance comparison app Jerry created this guide to flood insurance in Florida—one of the states with the highest rates of flooding in the US. 
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What is flood insurance?

Flood insurance is a specialized type of property insurance that covers financial losses from water damage specifically caused by flooding
Your regular homeowners insurance policy, which should cover most water damage due to plumbing failures, won’t cover you if your house or belongings are damaged in a flood—that’s why buying a separate flood insurance policy is so important. 

What does flood insurance cover?

There are two types of flood insurance coverage: building coverage, which covers the structure itself, and contents coverage, which covers your personal property. 
Together, these coverages will provide financial protection for appliances, furniture, carpet, electrical and heating systems, jewelry, electronics, and more. 
Keep in mind that flood insurance won’t cover every object in your home—or every type of flooding. Sewer backups not directly caused by large-scale flooding (i.e., two or more acres or multiple properties) won’t be covered. Neither will money, cars, personal property in basements, or additional living expenses incurred as a result of a flood. 
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what’s covered (and what isn’t) under each type of insurance:
Type of coverageWhat it coversWhat it doesn’t cover
BuildingElectrical and plumbing systems Water heaters and furnaces Large appliances like dishwashers or refrigerators Permanently installed bookcases, cabinets, and paneling Permanently installed carpets Window blinds Foundational walls, staircases, and anchorages Detached garages Fuel tanks, solar panels, and well water tanks/pumpsDecks and patios Swimming pools Fences and landscaping
ContentsClothing Furniture Electronic equipment Curtains Washing machine and dryer Portable air conditioners, including window units Carpets not included in building coverage Valuables such as artwork up to $2,500Valuable papers Currency Anything stored in a basement

Do you need flood insurance in Florida?

The short answer: maybe
There’s no federal or statewide requirement that all homeowners purchase flood insurance. However, flood insurance is a requirement to get a federally-backed mortgage on a house in an area at high risk for flooding
If you live in an area that’s at a moderate or high risk of flooding, your mortgage lender will likely require you to purchase a flood insurance policy. 
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) oversees the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which offers flood insurance to homeowners based on their level of risk as determined by FEMA. Although the NFIP manages flood insurance, the actual policy will come from a private company like Allstate or Farmers Insurance. 
You don’t need a mandate from your mortgage lender to buy flood insurance. You don’t even need to be in a FEMA-designated high risk area! Anyone can buy flood insurance, and it’s a good idea if you’re in an area with a higher-than-average rate of flooding like southern Florida.
In fact, over 40% of NFIP claims are filed by homeowners outside of FEMA’s designated high-risk flood zones
To buy a NFIP-backed flood insurance policy, you must live in one of Florida’s participating communities (here’s a handy list from FEMA). If your hometown doesn’t appear on that list, you can still buy flood insurance, but you’ll have to go through a private company like Neptune or FloodSimple. 

What flood zones require flood insurance in Florida?

Federal flood insurance purchasing requirements apply to Florida homeowners whose property lies in a flood zone with a letter grade starting with A or V. These zones have a 26% chance of flooding over the course of the 30-year mortgage
On the other hand, if you live in a flood zone graded B, C, D, or X, your flood risk is lower (though not nonexistent) and you won’t be required to purchase flood insurance coverage. 
You can use FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center or Flood Factor® to determine your home’s level of risk. 
Key Takeaway If you live in a designated high-risk flood zone (starting with A or V) and have a government mortgage, you must purchase flood insurance. 

How much does flood insurance cost in Florida?

The national average cost of flood insurance is $739 per year, but Florida’s average flood insurance premium is considerably lower at just $599 per year
However, the NFIP instituted a new pricing methodology called Risk Rating 2.0 in October 2021. As of April 2022, about 23% of flood insurance premiums nationwide will drop, but 12% of Florida policies can be expected to rise by at least $10 a month
The exact cost of your flood insurance policy will depend on your location, the size and type of building you’re covering, the age of the property, and more. The coverage limits for residential customers are $250,000 for building coverage and $100,000 for contents coverage. Your provider may also set a deductible limit on your policy. 

How to save money on flood and auto insurance in Florida

You can reduce the cost of flood insurance in Florida by: 
Keep in mind that flood insurance doesn’t cover damage to cars. To make sure your ride’s protected in the event of a flood, download the Jerry app. Our insurance geniuses will find you personalized quotes from 50+ top insurance providers in 45 seconds or less, and you’ll get end-to-end support while you sign up for a new policy. 
On average, Jerry users save $887 a year on car insurance—that’s $288 more than the average annual cost of flood insurance in Florida! 
“I had limited time to find a new insurance plan in Florida, so I tried Jerry. My experience was personalized and professional, and they found me a plan that fits my portfolio. You should give them a try.” —Valencia T.
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