District of Columbia home is in a FEMA-designated high-risk flood zone, your mortgage lender might require you to purchase flood insurance.
While some places may be at higher risk than others, flooding can happen anywhere, and many homeowners don’t realize that their standard home insurance policy doesn’t cover flood damage until a natural disaster has occurred.
If you’re a homeowner, it’s essential to know how flood insurance works and what your area’s level of flood risk is. That’s why home and
car insurance comparison app
Jerry is here to tell you what you should know about flood insurance in the District of Columbia.
What is flood insurance?
Flood insurance is a type of property insurance that offers financial protection if you experience loss and damage due to an external flooding event.
A standard homeowners insurance policy might cover water damage under certain circumstances that are
named in your policy.
However, flooding events from water sources outside your home are rarely covered and usually require separate flood insurance to protect your home and belongings.
What does flood insurance cover?
There are two types of flood insurance coverage: building coverage and contents coverage. Building coverage will protect the structure that makes up your home, while contents coverage will protect your possessions inside.
Together, these two coverages will help pay for repair and replacement costs of your furniture, valuables, furnaces, appliances, detached garages, carpets, electrical and plumbing systems, and more.
However, your payouts will be subject to your policy’s coverage limits. For residential customers, these are usually $250,000 for building coverage and $100,000 for contents coverage.
While flood insurance covers a lot, it won’t cover everything—items kept in basements, swimming pools, fencing, and vehicles won’t be covered (your
auto insurance can potentially cover flood damage to your cars). It also won’t include loss of use coverage if your home becomes temporarily uninhabitable.
Not every type of flooding event is covered, either. For example, a sewage backup likely wouldn’t merit coverage unless it was directly caused by large-scale flooding.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) defines large-scale flooding as affecting “two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties.”
These are some flooding events that could warrant coverage under a flood insurance policy:
Irregular overflow of inland or tidal waters
Unusual and/or rapid surface water accumulation or runoff
Collapse of land along a shoreline due to erosion caused by waves or water currents exceeding expected levels
Here’s a more in-depth look at what is and isn’t covered by both types of flood insurance:
Water heaters and furnaces
Refrigerators, dishwashers, and other large appliances
Electrical and plumbing systems
Permanently installed bookcases, cabinets, and paneling
Permanently installed carpets
Foundation walls, staircases, anchorage systems
Solar energy equipment
Well water tanks/pumps
Decks and patios
Hot tubs, swimming pools
Washing machines, dryers
Portable and window air conditioners
Carpets not included in building coverage
Valuables like jewelry or artwork up to $2,500
Items kept in a basement
Do you need flood insurance in Washington, D.C.?
While there’s no legal requirement for you to have a flood insurance policy in Washington, D.C., your mortgage lender might require you to have one if you live in an area with a higher risk of flooding.
If you’re living in an area that FEMA has designated as a moderate- to high-risk flood zone and you have a federally-backed mortgage, you’ll be required to purchase flood insurance. Residents in high-risk zones with private mortgages may also be required to take out a policy.
Over the next 30 years, the number of properties at risk of significant flooding in Washington, D.C. is expected to increase by 8.8%, with a total of 8,000 properties at risk of substantial flooding by 2050.
Lower-elevation areas like Foggy Bottom and Buzzard Point are projected to face notable risk from river flooding and water runoff.
Even if flood insurance isn’t required based on your assessed risk, it’s still worth considering. Flooding can happen anywhere, and over 40% of claims that homeowners file with the NFIP are actually for properties outside flood zones deemed high-risk.
You can find flood insurance policies through the
NFIP or a private provider. If you’re looking to purchase an NFIP-backed flood insurance policy, you’ll need to live in a
participating community, of which D.C. is one.
If you don’t live in a participating community, you can still search for policies via private companies like Neptune.
What flood zones require flood insurance in Washington, D.C.?
Whether a mortgage lender requires you to have flood insurance for your Washington, D.C. home depends on what kind of flood zone you live in.
If your property lies within a high-risk flood zone—which will begin with the letter A or V—a federally-backed mortgage will require that you purchase a flood insurance policy.
Flood zones beginning with B, C, or X have comparably lower risks of flooding, meaning you won’t be required to purchase flood insurance for a federally-backed mortgage. However, no area is completely free of flood risk, making flood insurance a good investment for any homeowner.
Key Takeaway If you live in a flood zone that FEMA deems high-risk, a federally-backed mortgage will require that you purchase flood insurance.
How much does flood insurance cost in Washington, D.C.?
The average cost of a flood insurance policy in D.C. is about $817 per year, or $68 per month, which falls below the national average of about $958 per year.
Policyholders can expect some price changes in the coming months thanks to FEMA’s new pricing methodology, called
Risk Rating 2.0. New policies began using this updated methodology in October 2021, and changes for existing policies will go into effect upon renewal dates on and after April 2022.
In the District of Columbia, 88% of single-family home policyholders are projected to see a decrease in their flood insurance costs, while 12% are expected to see an increase of $10 or less per month.
How to save money on flood and auto insurance in District of Columbia
Flood insurance can save you thousands in the event that a flood damages your home or personal belongings, but unfortunately, that coverage won’t include your car. Your vehicle’s
car insurance policy will need to provide protection against flooding.
Do you need a better car insurance policy? The
Jerry app can help you find one!
If you’ve never used Jerry before, this is how it works. After downloading the app, you can review competitive quotes from dozens of top insurance providers to find the right coverage at the right price.
Later, when your policy’s up for renewal, Jerry will even find you new quotes automatically so you can make sure you’re still getting a good deal.
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