What Is Covered in Flood Insurance?

Floods are one of the most common natural disasters. Your house “is more likely to be damaged by a flood than by fire,” according to USAA. Flooding occurs in all 50 states, and only an inch of water can cause significant damage to your home. However, flooding is not covered by most homeowners insurance. To get flood insurance, you’ll have to buy it from the National Flood Insurance Program, according to Floodsmart.


There are two types of flood insurance: a standard policy and a preferred-risk policy. The standard policy is for people in high-risk areas. It covers your home for up to $250,000 in flood damages. Additionally, any possessions that were damaged are covered up to $100,000. The preferred-risk policy is for people who live in moderate- or low-risk areas. You can get between $20,000 and $250,000 in coverage for you home, and $8,000 to $100,000 for your possessions, according to USAA.

Types of Damage

Flood insurance covers damage to your home caused by “rain, melting snow from winter thaws, storm surges, mudflows and more,” according to USAA. Damages from hurricanes and tidal waters are also covered. If the flood is only on your property, your flood insurance won’t cover the damage unless the water covers a minimum of two acres. If the floodwater covers your neighbor's property as well as yours, your flood insurance will pay the damage, according to Floodsmart.


When your basement is flooded, some things are covered under building coverage and other things are covered under contents coverage. Building coverage covers anything that’s necessary to support the structure of your home. These would be things like circuit breaks, your water heater and furnace. Contents coverage covers other things you might have in your basement like a washer and dryer. You must buy both types of insurance to ensure that everything is covered, according to Floodsmart.


Flood insurance does not cover flooding caused by previously existing property damage. If rain leaks into your house through a damaged window or door, this is not covered. Likewise, when rain comes through a hole in your roof or wall, the damage is considered to be caused by a windstorm and not a flood. However, this type of coverage is available through most homeowners insurance policies, according to Floodsmart.

National Flood Insurance Program

You can’t buy flood insurance unless the community you live in “participates in the National Flood Insurance Program,” according to State Farm. The program is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Your flood insurance policy won’t go into effect until 30 days after you buy it. So if you think your home could be damaged by flood, you should buy a policy immediately.


About the Author

Craig Bonnot has been writing for ten years. His work has appeared in the Fort Collins Coloradoan, bootsnall.com, ehow and travels.com. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. Bonnot studied journalism at Colorado State University.