How to Determine the Flood Insurance Rate for Your Home

Insurance companies base their flood insurance rates on the risk maps provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), but adjust them further based on the characteristics of the home, competition from other insurance companies and any discounts that they might offer their customers. Certain communities prone to flooding have access to subsidized flood insurance policies under the National Flood Insurance Program, which keeps rates lower than they would be otherwise.

Determine whether you are required by law to purchase flood insurance. If you live in an area considered by FEMA to be a high flood risk, you may be legally obligated to purchase a flood insurance policy.

Find the FEMA flood insurance map for your area using the FEMA Map Service Center website, located in the resources below. You may view the maps for free, but you'll have to pay FEMA for physical copies. For some communities with lower flood risks, the maps may be 30 years old or more.

Determine the flood risk of your home. The NFIP publishes insurance guidelines for different types of homes in high-risk flood areas. Higher-value homes with more than one floor cost more to insure. Certain fees to the federal government also apply when calculating annual payments.

Contact an insurance company in your area for a rate quote for flood insurance. If you live in an area covered by the NFIP, ask whether the company has a partnership in the program. If it doesn't, the rates will be higher than those that are. Unless the insurance company has already detailed information about your home, it will need to conduct an insurance appraisal on your house before giving you a final quote.

Compare the prices from insurance companies. Challenge companies to match or beat each other's rate quotes. Even though flood insurance is sometimes mandated by the government, there's still a certain degree of competition in the market. Take advantage of it to get the best coverage for your money.