Why You Should Have Flood Insurance

Many flood victims find out too late that they didn't have the coverage they needed

Millions of Americans don’t have the flood insurance they need. Buying a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) helps homeowners protect themselves from more common and worsening flood events.


A collapsed home sits after heavy rains and flooding in Pensacola, Florida. (Getty Images/Marianna Massey)

The Bottom Line

America’s flood insurance plans are underutilized but effective. The public needs to use the program more and local leaders need to stress the importance of securing coverage.

  • The big picture: The law requires homeowners in FEMA-designated high-risk flood areas to purchase an NFIP plan, but because flood maps are rarely updated many additional Americans outside of official flood zones would benefit from purchasing the optional Preferred Risk Policy. These policies cost less than private insurance.

Either plan covers damage to structures up to $250,000 and damage to items inside the home up to $100,000.

  • Correcting a common myth: Flood insurance is NOT the same as homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance policies are exempt from flood damage.

  • Yes, but: Not enough at-risk homeowners take advantage of the program, causing higher costs to the taxpayer and leaving many without the protection they need.

Take action: If you or someone you know does not have flood insurance, but lives in an area that floods, make sure to take advantage of the NFIP’s Preferred Risk Policy. 

Go deeper: Read more about common flood insurance misconceptions.

We are Flood Defenders

A non-profit amplifying the power of our members' voices to demand and receive better flood protection