Everything You Need to Know About Flood Insurance in Delaware

Flood insurance in Delaware is required for homeowners with federally-backed mortgages in FEMA-designated flood zones with a high risk of flooding.
Written by Heather Bernhard
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
residents are not legally required to purchase flood insurance policies. However, if you have a mortgage, your lender may mandate coverage. 
Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover damage from floods—only specifically named flood insurance, a separate policy, does that. 
Unfortunately, floods can be quite destructive. According to the
National Flood Insurance Program
, "Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage." 
If this all seems a bit overwhelming, no worries. This simple guide from home and
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What is flood insurance?

Flood insurance is insurance coverage that protects your house and its contents from flood damage. 
Insurance companies usually define floods as, “water that covers more than two acres or two properties on usually dry land.” The excess water can come from various sources, such as storms, snowmelt, and even rogue waves.
Damage from floods can be extremely costly and destroy homes and other buildings. Therefore, flood insurance is usually a good idea, even if it’s not legally required (and even if you live in an area that doesn’t typically see high water).

What does flood insurance cover?

Flood insurance only covers buildings and their contents if they are directly damaged by floodwaters
So, for example, if your basement fills with water due to a flood caused by high rains, it might be covered. But if your basement fills with water because your sump pump overflows, it will not be covered.
Flood insurance also usually covers: 
  • Your home and its foundation
  • Permanently installed carpeting
  • Kitchen appliances, like your refrigerator and stove
  • Electrical and plumbing systems
  • HVAC equipment
  • Permanently installed shelving and cabinets
  • Debris removal
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what’s covered (and what isn’t) under each type of insurance:
Type of coverage
What it covers
What it doesn’t cover
Electrical 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/pumps
Decks and patios, swimming pools, fences and landscaping
Clothing, 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 $2,500
Valuable papers, currency, anything stored in a basement
Key Takeaway Flood Insurance typically limits how much basement damage they will pay for. For example, personal property, carpeting, window treatments, and bookcases are usually NOT covered if they are kept in your cellar.

Do you need flood insurance in Delaware?

Even though flood insurance is not mandated for Delaware residents, your mortgage lender will likely require it if you live in a high-risk area—and a lot of The First State is considered at high risk.
Delaware is at greater risk of coastal flooding than any of the other lower 48 states, except for Florida and Louisiana. The Bethany Beach area, in particular, is worth noting: 2,135 properties (a total of 97% of all properties) are at risk. 
In states like Delaware, where the chances of flooding are so high, it pays to have coverage, even if it isn’t required.

What flood zones require flood insurance in Delaware?

If you live within one of FEMA's Specially Designated Flood Areas in Delaware, your mortgage lender is required by the federal government to mandate flood insurance. 
That means that as long as you are paying off your mortgage, you must maintain flood insurance coverage that is at least equal to your remaining premium—so, if you owe $175,000 on your mortgage, you must have $175,000 in flood coverage. 
Specially Designated Flood Areas (SDFAs) are marked on FEMA's
flood maps
as zones beginning with A and V. Zones marked “X,” “B,” or “C” are considered low-risk and don’t require coverage.
It is important to note that the organization reevaluates its flood maps every year, so even if you're not in a flood zone now, you may be later (and vice versa). 
Key Takeaway Much of Delaware is at serious risk of coastal flooding, so it pays to have a flood policy even if it’s not mandated by your mortgage lender. 

How much does flood insurance cost in Delaware?

The average annual cost of flood insurance in Delaware is $752. It is important to note that this number is based only on NFIP insurance policies: coverage from private insurers may vary significantly.  
If you live in Delaware City, you should also be aware that there is a flood ordinance and the community participates in the
Community Rating System
(CRS). This means that property owners can obtain flood insurance at discounted rates

How to save money on flood and auto insurance in Delaware

The average cost of homeowners insurance in Delaware is $882 a year. Tack $752 on top of that for flood insurance, and you’re looking at $136 a month. 
In addition, flood insurance does not cover damage to vehicles. For that, you’d need comprehensive coverage on your auto policy. It can all add up to a lot of money! 
The best way to save on
—whether you’re shopping for auto, home, or flood—is to compare quotes.
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