Best Flood Insurance Companies
Floods occur more frequently than any other natural disaster that impacts U.S. citizens. Most people assume they aren’t at risk if they do not live in a designated flood plain, but between 20 and 25 percent of all flood victims live outside a high-risk area. The commonality and unpredictability of flooding make this type of insurance especially important for both homeowners and renters.
Because nearly all residential flood insurance is underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and serviced by private insurance companies, the rates and coverage are the same, regardless of which company consumers select. When choosing a flood insurance service company, consumers should learn about the company as a whole to make the best choice for them.
Compare Reviews for Top Flood Insurance Companies
|Geico Flood Insurance||Read 16 Reviews|
From its beginnings in 1936, GEICO has expanded to become one of the United States’ largest insurance providers, providing several types of personal property coverage. It offers standard flood plans underwritten by the NFIP.
|Liberty Mutual Flood Insurance||Read 16 Reviews|
Liberty Mutual, headquartered in Boston, has been in the insurance business since 1912. It offers a wide variety of insurance policies, including flood insurance through the NFIP. Agents can also recommend contractors for repairs.
|Travelers Flood Insurance||Read 16 Reviews|
Travelers Companies Inc., founded in 1863, is one of the largest U.S. insurance companies. The company works with the National Flood Insurance Program and American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida to offer flood insurance.
|Allstate Flood Insurance||Read Expert Review|
Allstate is a publically-traded company headquartered in Illinois. It offers a variety of personal property insurance policies, including NFIP underwritten flood insurance. Customers work with local agents to obtain policies.
|Amica Flood Insurance||Read Expert Review|
Amica was established as a theft, auto and fire insurer in 1907. Today, the company offers some financial services and many types of insurance. Consumers can get NFIP flood insurance through Amica.
|Assurant Flood Solutions||Read Expert Review|
Assurant Flood Solutions was established in LaCrosse Mutual Aid Association in 1892 and sold disability insurance. It now provides many types of personal property insurance, including NFIP and non-NFIP flood insurance.
|Farmers Flood Insurance||Read Expert Review|
Established in the late-1920s, Farmers Insurance provides life insurance, auto insurance and other personal property insurance, including NFIP-backed flood insurance. Consumers can work with local agents for their policies.
|MetLife Flood Insurance||Read Expert Review|
MetLife is part of the Metropolitan Property Casualty Insurance Company. It offers a wide variety of insurance policies and financial products. It has both NFIP flood insurance and excess flood insurance.
|The Hartford Flood Insurance||Read Expert Review|
The Hartford was founded in Hartford, Conn. in 1810 as a fire insurance company. It now offers several types of financial products and personal property insurance, including NFIP underwritten flood insurance.
|USAA Flood Insurance||Read Expert Review|
USAA has been in business since 1922 and offers policies to United States armed service members, their spouses and children. It provides flood insurance underwritten through the NFIP program.
What flood insurance features matter most?
Facts to remember
Because flood insurance is a unique type of insurance to protect your personal property, you should keep these key facts and terms in mind when selecting a policy.
- Government underwritten: FEMA and the NFIP underwrite all standard flood insurance policies. This fact means that you will pay the same amount for flood insurance no matter which company sells and services the policy.
- Availability: You don’t have to live in a flood plain to purchase flood insurance. Those living in a low- to moderate-risk area, designated with the letter X, B or C, can purchase a Preferred Risk Policy.
- Living expenses: Standard and Preferred Risk flood insurance policies underwritten through the NFIP do not cover living expenses when you are displaced from your house. These expenses include temporary housing, food and lost income.
- Homeowners/Renters insurance: Neither homeowners nor renters insurance protects you against most types of floods. If your home suffers water damage as a result of a flood as defined by FEMA, your homeowners or renters policy will not pay for any damages.
- Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value: The policies offered through the NFIP pay either the RCV or ACV depending on the type of item damaged. Consumers cannot pay an additional premium to upgrade to a full RCV policy.
- Contents coverage: Flood insurance policies cover structures and contents separately. If homeowners want to protect all the things inside their home, they must purchase a separate contents policy.
Because all NFIP policies cover the same items and types of damage for the same annual rate, customer service and a company’s reputation are especially important when purchasing flood insurance.
- Local agents: If you feel most comfortable working with a local agent, find a company that has local offices. Also ask whether that agent would handle your claim or if you would deal with another company should you experience a flood.
- Telephone service: If you have a claim, you want to be able to reach someone 24/7. Ask about the claims process and when representatives are available by phone. Check to see if the company makes it easy to find customer service and claims phone numbers on their website.
- Disaster response: Some companies deploy special disaster response units to offer additional claims support and comfort to customers in major disaster areas. These companies may be more equipped to handle large-scale catastrophes.
Several organizations rate insurers and financial institutions for financial stability, meaning simply how well the company is doing financially. You may wish to consider these ratings when selecting an insurance to create and service your flood coverage.
- Coverage: Because the government underwrites standard flood insurance policies, you don’t need to worry that you won’t be covered if the insurance company who created and services your policy were to go out of business.
- Policy service: If the company who creates and services your policy would go out of business or have other problems, you would likely have to deal with some extra paperwork and move your policy to another company.
If you need flood insurance, you probably need homeowners, renters or condo insurance too. Buying flood insurance through the same company that provides your other policies may offer some benefits.
- Convenience: Purchasing flood insurance with your existing insurer may save you time since they will already have your information on file. It may also be easier to make a payment if they have you billing information stored in their system.
- Savings: You cannot save any money by bundling flood insurance with your existing policies. However, you may save money by bundling other policies and then use the same insurer because of convenience.
Other water damage
FEMA has a specific definition of a flood, so flood insurance will not cover events that do not meet FEMA’s definition even if those disasters cause water damage to your property. You should ask your insurance agent about whether you’re covered for these types of events. Note, the list below isn’t an extensive one.
- Plumbing backup and overflow: If a sink or tub overflows or your sewer system or sump pump backs up and causes water damage, your flood insurance will not pay for the damages. A special addition to your homeowners policy is usually required for the insurance company to pay for this damage.
- Roof leaks: If a storm damages your roof and allows water inside your home, flood insurance will not pay for the damage. Homeowners insurance may cover this.
What types of flood insurance are available?
Flood insurance through the NFIP is available to most U.S. residents. These policies are underwritten by the federal government and exist to provide property owners and rents the option to purchase affordable flood insurance. Even though this is a government funded program, consumers purchase the insurance through private insurance companies. The rate consumers pay for NFIP insurance will not vary between insurers.
Excess flood insurance is offered to cover the difference between the value of a home and the limits on NFIP policies, which are capped at $250,000. Those whose homes are valued above $250,000 may wish to purchase, or be required by their lender to purchase, excess flood insurance. The federal government does not underwrite these policies, nor does it set the rates for them. Not all companies offer excess flood policies.
Who needs flood insurance?
Those who live in a flood plain
Anyone who owns a home in a flood plain and has a mortgage through a federally insured bank is required to purchase flood insurance. This group will need standard NFIP insurance and may also need excess coverage.
Those whose property is valued above the NFIP insurance limits
Homeowners whose houses are valued above $250,000 should investigate whether excess flood insurance is right for them.
Those who live near a flood plain
Homeowners and renters who live near a flood plain should consider purchasing a Preferred Risk Policy to protect them in the event of a severe flood that impacts usually safe areas.
Those seeking extra peace of mind
Anyone in a low- to moderate-risk area who wants extra peace of mind should purchase a Preferred Risk Policy to cover them if an unexpected flood occurs.
Those who live in an area damaged by fire
Anyone who lives in an area where a fire has destroyed much of the natural vegetation should consider purchasing flood insurance. Fire damaged areas may flood more easily because there is no vegetation to absorb rainfall and groundwater. These areas are especially at risk for flash flooding.
Individuals who rent should purchase flood insurance. They are eligible to buy NFIP standard policies or NFIP Preferred Risk Policies.
Expert reviews for flood insurance companies
Travelers Companies Inc. is one of the largest personal insurance companies in the United States. It is a publically-traded company with headquarters in New York City. Travelers partners with the NFIP to offer flood insurance to consumers. Flood policies from Travelers are issued through American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, which is a part of Assurant.
Founded by former U.S. service members in 1922, USAA provides insurance and financial services to active duty, retired, and honorably discharged military personnel and their eligible family members. The company offers flood insurance that is underwritten by the federal government through the USAA General Indemnity Company.
- Disaster Recovery: USAA’s website features a Disaster Recovery area where consumers can learn about their risk, get answers to common questions and find tips for protecting themselves and their property during all types of natural disasters. Much of the included information will be useful for everyone, not only those insured by USAA.
- Referrals: If customers want to purchase excess flood insurance, their USAA agent or another company representative can refer them to a reputable insurance broker to obtain that coverage.
- Financial strength: USAA has received the highest and second highest ratings for financial stability from the major rating services.
- Customer service: The USAA website makes it easy to find the contact information for customer service representatives. Representatives are available to answer general policy questions during extended business hours on weekdays and on Saturdays.
- Related products: USAA offers homeowners and renters insurance, as well as other insurance and financial products. Some customers may find it simpler to purchase flood insurance through the same company who hold their other policies.
- Best for: USAA is best for service members and their family members who want NFIP insurance.
The Hartford sells auto and home insurance and offers other financial services for both individuals and businesses. The publically-traded company was established in 1810 and is headquartered in Hartford, Conn. The Hartford’s flood insurance policies are serviced by Hartford Fire Insurance Company, Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest and Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company.
- Customer service: Interested consumers can easily find contact information for The Hartford’s customer service team. Existing customers can also get help online and can report claims 24/7. The Hartford’s catastrophe response vehicle responds to areas affected by major disasters to process claims more quickly and offer comfort and support to victims.
- AARP: The Hartford offers exclusive homeowners and automobile insurance policies to AARP members. Agents may be more accustomed to working with retirees because of this connection.
- Financial strength: The major financial strength rating organizations list The Hartford as a strong financial company.
- Related products: The Hartford offers several types of related insurance, including homeowners and renters insurance and umbrella policies. Customers may find it convenient to purchase flood insurance from the same company that provides their other insurance policies.
- Best for: The Hartford is best for anyone who wants NFIP underwritten flood insurance, especially members of AARP who have existing policies with the company.
MetLife was established in 1868. It is now a publically-traded company offering multiple kinds of insurance other financial services. The company offers flood insurance through the NFIP program and excess insurance through third-party insurers. Some MetLife flood insurance underwritten by the NFIP is created and serviced by MetLife GA Property & Casualty.
- Customer service: Interested consumers and policyholders can reach customer service representatives during regular business hours on weekdays. Customers can file claims 24/7.
- Excess coverage: MetLife works with National Flood Services, which is a division of Affinity Insurance Services, Inc., to offer excess flood policies for consumers who want more protection than that offered by NFIP-backed insurance.
- Financial strength: MetLife has received high rankings from financial strength rating organizations.
- Related products: MetLife also offers homeowners, renters, builders risk and condo insurance. Customers who want to keep all their policies with a single insurer may wish to consider MetLife.
- Best for: MetLife is best for anyone looking for NFIP insurance who also wants excess flood protection.
Allstate was founded in 1931 to offer affordable auto insurance. Today, Allstate offers many types of personal property insurance, including flood insurance, as well as life insurance. The publically-traded company is one of the United States’ largest personal property insurance companies and is headquartered in Northbrook, Ill.
- Customer service: Consumers who purchase flood insurance through Allstate are assigned a dedicated local agent to work with them to obtain insurance and answer their questions. Customer service representatives are available 24/7.
- Related products: Allstate offers a wide range of insurance products, including home homeowners, renters and condo insurance. Consumers who already have an Allstate policy or are considering switching to Allstate won’t need to answer as many questions when signing up for flood insurance.
- Financial strength: Allstate has received very high ratings from financial strength rating organizations.
- Excess coverage: Because they’ll be working with a dedicated local agent, consumers can easily get help deciding whether they should purchase excess flood insurance.
- Best for: Allstate is best for someone who wants to work with a local agent to obtain NFIP flood insurance and those who already have an Allstate policy.
GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) was founded in 1936 to provide auto insurance to government employees. Now, GEICO offers insurance, including flood insurance, to all consumers. Flood insurance policies obtained through GEICO are underwritten by the NFIP and are created by non-affiliated insurance companies.
Farmers Insurance Group was founded in 1928 and now insures more than 10 million households. The company, headquartered in Woodland Hills, Calif., offers personal property insurance, including flood insurance, to customers across the United States.
- Customer service: Interested customers can contact a local Farmers agent for service or reach a corporate representative by phone during extended business hours seven days a week. Policyholders can file a claim by phone 24/7.
- Catastrophe Center: After a major disaster, Farmers deploys their mobile Catastrophe Centers. These buses help customers submit their claims and also offer hot meals and other comforts to victims and emergency personnel.
- Related products: Farmers offers multiple kinds of property insurance, life insurance and other financial products. Customers who would prefer to purchase all their insurance from the same company can do so with Farmers.
- Financial strength: All major financial rating organizations have given Farmers high marks for financial security.
- Best for: Farmers is best for anyone looking for preferred risk or standard NFIP insurance, especially those who already have a Farmers’ policy.
Amica was founded in 1907 and offers auto, theft and fire insurance policies. The company prides itself on selling directly to customers, avoiding the cost associated with insurance agents.
- Customer service: Policyholders can find extensive information about filing a claim and the claims process on Amica’s website. They can report accidents or losses online or by phone 24/7. Interested customers can reach representatives by phone or go online for a quote.
- Related products: Amica sells auto, home and life insurance as well as a variety of other types of coverage. Consumers who want to use a single insurer for all their needs, including flood insurance, can do so with Amica.
- Financial strength: Amica has received high ratings from major organizations that assess financial stability. Consumers can feel confident in the company’s financial strength.
- Direct contact: Amica works with customers directly and does not employ agents or work with independent agents. The company uses this model to reduce costs and save customers money.
- Best for: Amica is best for anyone looking for standard NFIP insurance, particularly those who are existing Amica customers or those who would like to switch another policy to Amica.
Assurant was originally founded to offer disability insurance in 1892. The company offers an extensive line of personal property insurance. Consumers can either purchase NFIP insurance through Assurant or an alternative to government-backed insurance. They also sell excess flood insurance.
- Online tools: Assurant’s website has several tools that allow consumers to learn about flood risks and costs. These tools can help those who live in low- to moderate-risk areas determine whether they should purchase flood insurance.
- Local agents: Interested consumers can contact Assurant to get the information for a local independent insurance agent. If there is not an affiliated agent in their area, Assurant can set up policies over the phone.
- Additional coverage: Consumers who want coverage above the NFIP cap can purchase excess flood insurance from Assurant. The company also offers flood insurance that serves as an alternative to NFIP underwritten insurance.
- Financial strength: The major financial rating organizations have given Assurant high rankings for financial strength.
- Best for: Assurant is best for those who want excess flood insurance or want flood insurance that isn’t through the NFIP.
Liberty Mutual has roots going back to 1912 and is now one of the largest personal property insurers in the United States. It is headquartered in Boston and operates globally. The company offers life insurance, identity theft insurance and many kinds of personal property insurance. It also provides NFIP flood insurance.
Common terms for flood insurance
When researching flood insurance, you may come across a variety of unfamiliar terms or acronyms. Understanding these terms will help you make the best choice about your flood insurance needs.
NFIP: Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968 to give citizens a way to purchase affordable flood insurance. It is a division FEMA and underwrites most flood insurance policies.
FEMA: FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Program and became a part of Homeland Security in 2003. The agency helps communities prepare for and recover from disasters.
Flood: FEMA officially defines a flood as an event when water covers either 2 or more acres or 2 or more properties. The water can come from the overflow of a natural body of water or from unusual runoff from storms or snowmelt. Events that cause water to flood your home but that do not fall into this definition are not covered by flood insurance.
Flood zones: Using the tools on the National Flood Insurance Program website, you can see your area’s risk of flood. The agency denotes risk level with letters. Zones lettered A or V are high-risk areas. Zones lettered X, B or C are moderate- to low-risk areas. These zones determine whether you will be required to purchase flood insurance and will affect your rates.
FIRM: The Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) is used to determine the cost of flood insurance for any property based on geography and topography. For NFIP insurance, rates are determined by the government, not the insurance agency from which you purchase your policy. You should be charged the same amount regardless of which company you select.
LOMR: A Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) states a change to the FIRM. These are typically issued when manmade structures are built that decrease flood risk. The changes reported in an LOMR can affect whether or not a property owner needs to purchase flood insurance and what the rate for that insurance will be.
LOMA: A Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) states a change to the FIRM when a property is inadvertently listed as in a flood plain when it is not. Property owners can request an LOMA through FEMA for free, but they must pay for the necessary survey and maps to be completed.
Underwriting: In insurance terms, underwriting refers to the group or person that assesses risk, determines policy premiums and pays for the cost of covered damages. NFIB flood insurance is underwritten by the federal government.
WYO Program: NFIP underwritten flood insurance policies are part of the Write Your Own (WYO) policy program. Private insurance companies write these policies and provide customer support related to them, but any losses related to the policy is paid by the federal government. Companies receive government money to cover the cost of creating and servicing these policies.
ACV: The Actual Cash Value (ACV) is the amount of money it would cost to replace something minus the amount the item has depreciated since it was new. For example, a refrigerator that cost $1200 new has an ACV of approximately $900 after three years. If you have an ACV policy, insurance would only pay $900 if the appliance was damaged during a covered event.
RCV: The Replacement Cost Value (RCV) is the amount of money it would cost to replace a covered item if it were destroyed during an event covered by insurance. To recover the difference between ACV and RCV, the insured party must typically submit receipts for the replacement item or repairs.
Preferred Risk Policy: These policies are for people who live in areas designated as low- to moderate-risk. They are underwritten through the NFIP program. Consumers can purchase them through the same insurers that handle required flood insurance.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.