What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
To understand what flood insurance covers, you need to know three things first:
1. Standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage at all. It’ll cover some damage from rain, but if your home is filled with water as a result of rising bodies of lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans, it won’t cover you.
2. The most common flood insurance is offered through the federally regulated program known as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It has two policies:
- One that covers your actual home (building property) up to $250,000
- One that covers your personal property up to $100,000
You can buy one or both.
Related: What happens if you need more than $250,000 worth of coverage? You need to get excess flood insurance, which is only offered by private companies, not the Feds.
3. You might have to buy it. If you’re taking out a mortgage on a property that’s in a high-risk zone (also called a Special Hazard Flood Area), your lender will require you to buy a policy in order to get the loan. If you just want to buy policy, you have to make sure your community participates in the national flood program. Flooding affects every state, so you’re probably eligible.
What the Federal Flood Insurance Program Covers
NFIP’s building property policy covers the cost to rebuild or the actual value of your home (whichever is less). That includes:
- Your home and its foundation
- Electrical and plumbing systems
- HVAC equipment like air conditioning, furnaces, and water heaters
- Kitchen appliances, including your refrigerator, stove, and built-ins such as your dishwasher
- Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
- Permanently installed wallboard, paneling, bookcases, and cabinets
- Window blinds
- Detached garages (limited to 10% of your home policy)
- Debris removal
- Water heater
The NFIP policy that covers your personal property will cover stuff like:
- Clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
- Window AC units
- Portable microwaves and dishwashers
- Carpets not covered by your building policy
- Your freezer and frozen food
- Up to $2,500 in valuables, such as art and furs
Note: Personal possessions claims are paid based on actual cash value — not what you paid for them.