Insurance is a proactive form of protection, and it's essential to understand what it does and doesn't cover.

Flooding costs exceed $8 billion per year in the US—if you’re asking yourself, “Does renters insurance cover floods?” you’re definitely not alone.

does renters insurance cover floods

Here is everything you need to know about renters insurance and floods to ensure you have the proper coverage.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Floods or Flood Damage?

Most renters insurance does not cover floods or flood damage. If there is a flood, your landlord has no obligation to pay for personal property damage.

The only way to protect yourself and your belongings is an insurance policy that explicitly covers floods.

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What Does Flood Insurance for Renters Cover?

Renters flood insurance covers a range of damage to your belongings.

The policy value varies by the rental with some policies covering up to $100,000 worth of expenses.

It's a valuable resource if you need to replace high-cost items, like electronics, clothes, or furniture.

will renters insurance cover floods

Flood insurance covers you in a variety of situations. That includes levees or dams breaking, heavy rainfall, and fast-melting snow.

All these scenarios can cause unwanted water to seep into your home and ruin your belongings.

Renters flood insurance does not cover damage from burst pipes or plumbing malfunctions.

Policies come in two varieties: those that cover the building and those that cover your personal property.

For instance, if you live in a flood zone, your landlord likely has a legal obligation to purchase a form of flood insurance.

Most landlords purchase building insurance, which does not cover damage to possessions.

Do You Need Flood Insurance?

The biggest truism in real estate is location, location, location. That statement is also relevant when it comes to purchasing flood insurance.

Where you live determines whether you have a legal obligation to buy flood coverage and whether you actually need it.

Congress requires federally regulated and insured lenders to purchase flood insurance if their property is in a high-risk flood area.

Visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website to learn if you live in a flood zone.

For instance, 26 percent of Florida homes are in a flood zone. Those property owners not only should purchase coverage accordingly to protect themselves, but likely are required to do so.

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States, and flooding has become more severe recently with December 2018 to February 2019, being the wettest winter in recorded history.

While most flood insurance claims come from inside flood zones, 20 percent do not.

Anyone with flood insurance can claim compensation, even if the federal government does not issue a Presidential Disaster Declaration.

The additional coverage provides peace of mind where renters insurance falls short.

INSURANCE WHERE YOU LIVE

Renters insurance by state.

How to Buy Flood Insurance for Your Rental

You have two choices when purchasing flood insurance: an insurance agent or an NFIP-sponsored insurer.

You're free to buy coverage from your choice of insurer, though you can’t buy it from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) directly.

If your insurance agent doesn't offer flood insurance, call the NFIP Referral Call Center, and a representative will forward you to the appropriate insurer.

Take your time when considering the terms and conditions. Ask questions like, “Does renters insurance cover accidental damage?” and “Is flood insurance mandatory where I live?”

An insurance agent can walk you through your insurance options and find ways to reduce upfront costs.

You may be eligible for flood insurance through an escrow account, which operates like a savings account.

This option is most common for people living in high-risk flood areas, like Orlando, Houston, and St. Petersburg, FL.

How Much Does Renters Flood Insurance Cost?

As of 2020, the average flood insurance policy costs $708 annually.

These policies originate with the NFIP, and prices range on several factors, including your proximity to water.

Here are the top five most expensive and least expensive options by state:

Most Expensive Average Annual Costs

  • Vermont: $1,447
  • Connecticut: $1,430
  • Rhode Island: $1,410
  • Massachusetts: $1,275
  • Pennsylvania: $1,214

Least Expensive Average Annual Costs

  • Georgia: $661
  • Utah: $638
  • Texas: $595
  • Maryland: $584
  • Florida: $563

As a rule of thumb, premiums are the most affordable in the South and increase in price for homeowners and renters in the Northeast.

Remember that these figures are overviews for the entire state. Flood insurance prices can range dramatically within the same state, based on their proximity to certain water bodies.

Private flood insurance is an increasingly popular alternative, available in 37 states.

Your property's distance to the nearest body of water has the most sway in insurance pricing, as opposed to the state's border.

Homes in Flood V zones have the highest flooding risk, followed by Zone A and Zone B.

For example, take a $250,000 home with $100,000 in possessions. If this home is in the V Zone in Florida or Texas, private flood insurance costs up to $13,600 a year.

That figure dips to $2,900 in Zone A and $427 in Zone B.

THE SIMPLY INSURANCE WAY

Renters Insurance made easy.

Agents not required.

Get quotes and sign up online without talking to an agent. But, we are here if you need us.

Unbiased, expert advice.

Get unbiased insurance education from licensed experts and also avoid dodgy sales calls.

Coverage in minutes.

You can get renters insurance coverage within minutes of getting your quotes and applying.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Renters insurance typically covers water damage so long as it is not the result of an external flood.

Your insurance provider will assist you if your washing machine leaks or sewage backs up and damages your belongings.

In most instances, your landlord will also take care of fixing the washing machine or plumbing at no cost to you.

Eligible claims are contingent on the circumstances. While many insurers will compensate you for the damage from a flooding toilet, they’re less likely to assist if you caused the clog.

File a renters insurance claim to see if you’re damaged belongings are eligible for replacement.

Taking Action

Renters insurance is ideal for covering losses in many situations. These cost-effective policies compensate you for water damage while your landlord handles the repairs.

However, renters insurance does not cover flood damage, and you’ll likely need to get a separate flood policy to guarantee protection.

Have more questions? Leave a comment below and we will assist you as much as possible.  


Sa El

About the author

Sa El is the Co-Founder of Simply Insurance and a licensed Insurance Agent with over 11 years of experience in the industry.  He specializes in Life & Health Insurance and is certified in Long Term Care Insurance in the state of Georgia. He is also an Official Member of the Forbes Finance Council, a licensed real estate agent in the state of Georgia (License #382602), an entrepreneur, insurance educator, and freelance writer.

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