The Best Flood Insurance Companies of 2022

If there is even the most remote possibility your home could be flooded, you need the best flood insurance to protect your investment.

By Karon Warren | Updated Mar 17, 2022 4:23 PM

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The Best Flood Insurance Companies Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

Unless you live in a readily apparent flood zone (think by a river or along the coastline), having insurance for flooding may not cross your mind as a necessity. However, this is one specialty insurance policy you should have if there is even the slightest chance your home could be flooded. Why? Renters and homeowners insurance policies don’t usually cover flood damage. In addition, if you live in a high-risk flood area and have a government-backed mortgage, you are required to have flood insurance. Even if you don’t have a government-backed mortgage or live outside a high-risk flood area, your mortgage lender may require you to have flood insurance. Therefore, it’s essential to know what flood insurance is, what coverage it provides, and who offers the best flood insurance.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Allstate
  2. BEST COVERAGE OPTIONS: Neptune
  3. BEST ONLINE SERVICES: Assurant
  4. BEST FOR MILITARY MEMBERS: USAA
  5. BEST AGGREGATOR: Better Flood Insurance
The Best Flood Insurance Companies Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Flood Insurance

When shopping for the best flood insurance, it’s important to know what it is and what’s needed in flood insurance coverage. This includes everything from understanding what flood risk zone a home is in, to how much coverage a homeowner can get, to who sells flood insurance and how to file a claim.

Flood Risk Zone

A homeowner needs to know their flood risk zone to know how much flood insurance coverage they might need. A homeowner can find their flood risk zone by searching for their local flood map through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Map Service Center. (Homeowners may also see this referenced as a FEMA FIRM map.) The map will show a home’s proximity to flood risk zones, typically including a water body such as a lake, river, or coastline. However, it’s important to note that a homeowner doesn’t have to live near a body of water to be at risk for flood damage. Heavy rains, poor drainage, or road or other construction projects could lead to flood damage. In fact, according to FEMA, a FEMA flood map that shows any location with a 1 percent chance or higher of experiencing a flood each year is considered a high-risk area. Per FEMA, those areas have a minimum 1-in-4 chance of flooding during the term of a 30-year mortgage.

NFIP vs. Private Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is offered through two avenues: purchasing a federal plan through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or from a private flood insurance company. If a homeowner’s community participates in the NFIP, the NFIP must provide coverage to any homeowner who applies. Private flood insurance companies, though, have no such requirement. Flood insurance policies through the NFIP have coverage limits that may vary from the coverage limits that are offered by policies through a private flood insurance company. If a homeowner has a high-value property, private flood insurance may be the right choice to get the coverage a homeowner needs to repair their home or replace personal belongings.

Home Residency Status

When applying for flood insurance, a homeowner will need to declare their home residency status, which will be either a primary residence or a principal residence. A primary residence is a home occupied for at least 51 percent of the year, whereas a principal residence is a home used for 80 percent or more of the year. The designation determines how any claim will be paid.

Suppose a homeowner wants to receive the replacement cost of the home in the event of a loss. In that case, the home must be their principal residence, and they must have coverage for at least 80 percent of the home’s full replacement cost or the maximum insurance coverage available from an NFIP policy. If the home is listed as a primary residence, any claim will be paid using the actual cash value of the structure.

Coverage Limits

When purchasing NFIP flood insurance, it’s important to note that a policy has specific coverage limits. A homeowner can buy a policy covering up to $250,000 of damage to the home’s actual structure. This also includes damage to the furnace, water heater, HVAC system, and any flooring such as tile, carpet, or hardwood. It also covers debris removal and cleanup from the damage. Not all policies cover basements, crawl spaces, or ground-level enclosures, so a homeowner should talk with their insurance agent to see if the entire home will be protected.

Homeowners can purchase a separate NFIP policy covering their personal belongings inside the home. The coverage limit for this type of policy is $100,000 and covers clothes, furnishings, appliances, and other personal property.

Coverage limits for the structure of the home and personal property may be different if a homeowner purchases a private flood insurance policy. Suppose the cost of replacing a home and personal property exceeds the NFIP policy coverage limits. In that case, homeowners may need to purchase flood insurance from a private flood insurance company to get the amount of coverage they need.

Service Area

NFIP flood insurance policies are available only to residents who live in communities that have adopted and enforced specific floodplain management regulations that adhere to the NFIP’s minimum requirements. These communities are found to have high-risk flood areas called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), which have a 1 percent chance of flooding within a given year.

If a homeowner does not live in a participating NFIP community, they can still purchase flood insurance, but they’ll have to buy it from a private flood insurance company. According to FEMA, more than 40 percent of flood claims from 2015 to 2019 were filed for properties outside high-risk flood areas. Talk with insurance agents in the area to see if flood insurance is a good option.

Quote and Claims Processes

As with all insurance, it’s crucial to speak to several insurance companies to get a flood insurance quote. Quotes are based on several factors, including the home’s age, design, and location; if the property is a principal or primary residence; the flood zone at or around the home; the amount of coverage; and the deductible on the policy.

To file a claim for flood insurance, a homeowner will need to report flood damage to their flood insurance company as soon as possible. Typically, they will need to report a claim within 60 days of the date of the flood damage. The insurance company should provide information regarding a homeowner’s specific policy regarding claim procedures and all necessary forms required with the claim.

Waiting Period

It’s important to note that most flood insurance policies include a waiting period, so a homeowner can’t purchase a policy if a storm is expected within a few days. All NFIP policies have a 30-day waiting period. The only exception is if a homeowner purchased an NFIP flood insurance policy at the same time they bought a new home. If purchasing a private flood insurance policy, check with your agent to see what, if any, waiting period is attached to the policy. Some private flood insurance policies do not have a waiting period before homeowners can make a claim.

Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value Coverage

Most policies include two coverage options when purchasing flood insurance: replacement cost coverage and actual cash value coverage. If a homeowner selects replacement cost coverage, the policy will pay to replace or repair the damaged items regardless of cost up to the policy’s coverage limit.

If a homeowner selects actual cash value coverage, the policy will pay a depreciated value of the damaged items. For example, if a homeowner chooses actual cash value coverage and the water heater needs to be replaced, the policy will pay an amount equal to what the existing water heater is valued for at the time of the claim, not how much it will cost to purchase a new water heater.

When looking at coverage costs, replacement cost coverage will cost more than actual cash value coverage.

Discounts

To lower the cost of flood insurance, homeowners can speak with their current homeowners insurance company to see if the company offers a discount for bundling flood insurance with homeowners insurance. Auto insurance companies also may offer a discount for bundling car insurance with flood insurance, so be sure to ask.

Another way to lower flood insurance premiums is for homeowners to raise their homes. In fact, FEMA says elevating a home is the fastest way to reduce flood insurance rates. If a homeowner lives in a high-risk flood area, raising the home’s elevation just 1 foot higher than the area’s base flood elevation (BFE) could reduce the annual flood insurance premium by up to 30 percent.

Excess Flood Coverage

Excess flood insurance coverage refers to additional coverage beyond the original flood insurance policy. Typically, this is a private flood insurance policy that provides additional coverage once your NFIP policy reaches its coverage limits. If a homeowner lives in a high-risk flood zone and still has a mortgage on their home, their mortgage lender could require them to purchase this excess flood insurance coverage.

Even if a homeowner is not required to purchase excess flood coverage, they may want to do so to protect their investment. For example, if a home will cost $500,000 to rebuild it and a homeowner has an NFIP policy with a coverage limit of $250,000, they likely will need a private flood insurance policy for $250,000 to ensure they have the funds they need to replace their home.

AM Best Rating

AM Best is a credit rating agency that reviews insurance agencies to measure the company’s creditworthiness and financial strength to determine how likely the company is to serve its clients and pay claims—or not. It has created its own ranking system, which ranges from the highest A++ to B+, as well as 10 vulnerable ratings ranging from B to S. This is a good way to check out the reputation of an insurance company before making any purchases.

Our Top Picks

Companies available nationwide with solid AM Best ratings and good coverage options ended up at the top of our list.

Best Overall

The Best Flood Insurance Companies Option: Allstate
Photo: allstate.com

Why It Made the Cut: Allstate flood insurance offers diverse bundling options, unique coverage features, and customizable plans, so homeowners get the exact coverage they need from a trusted company.

Allstate offers high levels of customization in its flood insurance policies (especially when customers work with an agent in-person), so homeowners get the right coverage for their needs. In addition, homeowners can receive extra savings on their insurance premiums when they bundle flood insurance with their vehicle, home, and life insurance policies.

Allstate’s prices may be higher than others on the market, but the company offers coverage that many others don’t. This includes coverage for sewage and drain backup as well as lawn and garden coverage to repair the yard once the debris is removed. Allstate’s website has many free informational resources available for homeowners that break down confusing insurance jargon in a digestible manner.

Specs

  • NFIP: Yes
  • Service area: 50 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Quote process: Online, phone, or through an agent
  • Claim process: Online or phone
  • AM Best rating: A+

Pros

  • Plans are highly customizable, especially when working with an agent
  • Policyholders can bundle vehicle, home, and life insurance policies
  • Unique excess coverage options including sewage and drain backup and lawn and garden coverage
  • Many free informational resources available on the provider website

Cons

  • Costs may be higher than those of competitors

Best Coverage Options

The Best Flood Insurance Companies Option: Neptune
Photo: neptuneflood.com

Why It Made the Cut: Neptune offers some of the highest coverage limits, meaning homeowners can get the additional coverage they need for their homes.

Because Neptune is not an NFIP flood insurance policy provider, it can offer higher coverage limits so homeowners can receive the coverage they need for their homes and belongings. The structure coverage limit is $4 million, and the personal property limit is $500,000. The policy also may include coverage for a basement as well as temporary living arrangements. On the downside, homeowners can only file a claim by phone, which could be problematic if phone lines are down after a natural disaster. However, homeowners don’t have to submit photos or elevation certificates when filing a claim.

Specs

  • NFIP: No
  • Service area: 48 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Quote process: Online, phone, or through an agent
  • Claim process: Phone
  • AM Best rating: A

Pros

  • Comprehensive asset coverage, including basement and temporary living arrangements
  • Home structure can be insured for up to $4 million and contents up to $500,000
  • Pictures and elevation certificates not required to file a claim

Cons

  • Policyholders must file claims by phone

Best Online Services

The Best Flood Insurance Companies Option: Assurant
Photo: assurant.com

Why It Made the Cut: Assurant offers both NFIP and private add-on policies so homeowners can get all the coverage they need from one company.

With Assurant, homeowners can get policy quotes online for both an NFIP policy and private add-on policies, so they get a good idea of how much flood insurance coverage will cost for their needs. Assurant’s prices may be relatively high, but the company offers a lot for the price. Homeowners file a claim online, expediting the claims process and ensuring homeowners get their payouts sooner. And, when filing a claim, if a homeowner’s policy includes the FlexCash program, they could receive up to $10,000 to use for travel and hotel costs if a homeowner is displaced from their home, whether for a few days or an extended period.

Specs

  • NFIP: Yes
  • Service area: 50 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Quote process: Online, phone, or through an agent
  • Claim process: Online, phone
  • AM Best rating: A

Pros

  • Streamlined online quote and claims process
  • FlexCash program provides up to $10,000 in discretionary funds
  • Private flood policies available for flexible coverage

Cons

  • Prices may be higher than those of competitors

Best for Military Members

The Best Flood Insurance Companies Option: USAA
Photo: usaa.com

Why It Made the Cut: USAA may offer the lowest rates for flood insurance coverage for active or retired military members and their families.

With an AM Best rating of A++, USAA typically offers flood insurance coverage at rates below the national average. If homeowners bundle flood insurance coverage with vehicle, home, life, and health insurance, additional savings may be available. Also, if homeowners carry flood insurance but don’t file any claims for an extended period, they could receive additional discounts on their premiums. USAA is only available to current or former military members and their families, but it’s a great insurance option to look into if a homeowner qualifies for the coverage.

Specs

  • NFIP: Yes
  • Service area: 50 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Quote process: Online or phone
  • Claim process: Online or phone
  • AM Best rating: A++

Pros

  • Policyholders can earn discounts for going extended periods without filing a claim
  • Prices typically fall below the national average
  • Policyholders can bundle with vehicle, home, life, and health insurance

Cons

  • Applicants must be current or former members of the military, or a family member

Best Aggregator

The Best Flood Insurance Companies Option: Better Flood Insurance
Photo: betterflood.com

Why It Made the Cut: Better Flood Insurance searches for the best flood insurance policy for a homeowner, saving time and money.

Searching for flood insurance can be confusing and time-consuming, but Better Flood Insurance works for homeowners. Using its comprehensive online quote system, Better Flood Insurance will search for flood insurance companies that cover a homeowner’s area and provide the coverage they need for their home and personal belongings. Search results include an instant pricing estimate and helpful online comparison tool so homeowners can see which companies offer the coverage they want at a price they can afford. However, some companies may require homeowners to provide an elevation certificate, which is an extra step in the process. But for homeowners who want to ensure they’re getting the best deal, Better Flood Insurance’s tools can make homeowners confident in their decisions.

Specs

  • NFIP: N/A
  • Service area: 50 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Quote process: Online or phone
  • Claim process: Varies by policy
  • AM Best rating: N/A

Pros

  • Third-party company that searches for lowest prices
  • Thorough online quote system
  • Instant pricing estimate and helpful online comparison tool

Cons

  • Policyholders may need to provide an elevation certificate to file a claim

Our Verdict

For a flood insurance policy that checks all the boxes, Allstate is our Best Overall choice. We chose Neptune for Best Coverage Options because of the higher coverage limits homeowners may need.

How We Chose the Best Flood Insurance Companies

We reviewed dozens of flood insurance companies and looked for ones that served a nationwide base to ensure the coverage plans would be available to most consumers. Because most flood insurance plans are sold through the NFIP, we reviewed companies that sold NFIP plans, but we looked at private flood insurance companies as well since some homeowners need higher coverage limits.

We also looked for companies with high AM Best ratings to ensure they would likely follow through on customer claims and deliver excellent customer service. Offering easy access to quotes and claims processing also was an important consideration.

Before You Choose One of the Best Flood Insurance Companies

First and foremost, not every homeowner or renter needs flood insurance. Therefore, these companies may not be suitable for a homeowner’s insurance needs. Check the FEMA flood maps to see the flood risk for a home’s location. Remember, even if a homeowner is in a low- to moderate-risk area, they may still need flood insurance coverage. It’s vital to speak with a local insurance agent to determine if flood insurance is necessary for a home and personal belongings and, if so, what coverage a homeowner needs. Then homeowners can review the best flood insurance companies listed here to see if one is the right fit.

Cost of Opting for One of the Best Flood Insurance Companies

The cost of flood insurance coverage from one of the best flood insurance companies will vary based on several factors. These include the age, design, and location of a home; the flood zone area; the amount of coverage; and the policy deductible. It also depends on the specific flood insurance company a homeowner selects.

Some companies offer more varied or unique coverage options than their competitors, which could be more expensive. Also, some companies may offer more discounts, making them a more affordable option. It’s important to compare all coverage options, deductibles, and discounts to see which companies offer the best flood insurance for a homeowner’s budget.

The Advantages of Opting for One of the Best Flood Insurance Companies

Choosing one of the best flood insurance companies means a homeowner chooses a company with strong finances, a solid reputation, and straightforward quote and claims processes. Flood damage can cause a lot of stress for a homeowner, and one of the last things a homeowner wants is additional pressure from dealing with a less-than-stellar insurance company. Some of the benefits of choosing one of the best flood insurance companies include:

  • Online quotes so homeowners can easily get an idea of their premiums and coverage options.
  • Strong AM Best ratings to signify solid financial status and likelihood of timely payouts.
  • Easy claims filing to reduce stress after a flood.

FAQs

Shopping for flood insurance can be confusing, especially considering homeowners may be required to get specific coverage for their homes and personal belongings. Knowing what flood insurance is and what coverage a homeowner may need before shopping can help alleviate confusion when talking with the best flood insurance companies.

Q. What is the difference between private flood insurance and NFIP?

NFIP insurance is backed by FEMA and has lower coverage limits. Private flood insurance is offered by private insurance companies and often has higher coverage limits.

Q. How do I know if I need flood insurance?

Checking a FEMA flood zone map can show if your home is in a flood zone, even if it’s a low- or moderate-risk zone.

Q. How much should I pay for flood insurance?

Flood insurance costs vary based on several factors, but FEMA says the average homeowners flood insurance premium is approximately $500 per year.

Q. Do I pay monthly or annually for flood insurance?

Your specific flood insurance company will dictate how you pay for your flood insurance premiums. Some companies offer installment options, while others do not.

Q. Is flood insurance tax deductible?

Unless you use all or part of your home for business purposes, such as renting out your home, you cannot deduct flood insurance from your personal taxes.

Q. What is the difference between flood zone A and AE?

Flood zone A is a high-risk flood zone without a base flood elevation, while flood zone AE does have a base flood elevation. Both areas have a 1 percent chance of flooding each year.

Q. Does flood insurance cover a hurricane?

Flood insurance can cover water damage resulting from a hurricane, such as flooding due to a storm surge.

Q. Does my state require flood insurance?

Flood insurance requirements depend upon the state where you live. For instance, not every homeowner is required to have flood insurance in Florida. However, there are certain Florida homeowners whose mortgage lenders require them to have flood insurance. If you are not certain if you need flood insurance, talk with someone in your state’s insurance commissioner office.