Does Homeowners’ Insurance Cover Floods?

If you’re like many people, you automatically assume that your homeowners’ insurance policy will cover your house if disaster strikes – but what about floods? This guide explains whether homeowners’ insurance covers floods and what you can do to minimize your risk of loss.

Does Homeowners’ Insurance Cover Floods?

Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. In fact, it happens so often that the U.S. government has declared some areas to be flood zones – areas that are prone to flooding. But as many as 20 percent of flood insurance claims occur in non-flood zones, which means you can’t simply rely on the government to tell you where you’re likely to experience catastrophic water damage.

And though flooding is the most common natural disaster in the U.S., that doesn’t mean your insurance policy automatically covers it. Only about 12 percent of Americans have flood insurance – and that’s because it’s a separate policy that you need to pay for. It’s not generally part of a standard homeowners’ insurance policy. 

Related: Statistics on homeowner knowledge of extreme weather and insurance

How Do You Get Flood Insurance?

You can buy flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program or through your regular insurance carrier. It’s in your best interest to shop around for the best terms and rates, just like you would with any other insurance policy, as well. 

Note: The National Flood Insurance Program defines flooding as “an excess of water on land that is normally dry, affecting two or more acres of land or two or more properties.” 

Should You Buy Flood Insurance?

For many people, money spent on flood insurance seems to be a waste – especially if the area around their home has never flooded before and seems unlikely to flood in the future. 

Before you rush out and buy a policy – or before you decide that a policy is a waste of money – you should determine your home’s flood risk.

First, go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website here to find your home’s flood zone. Then, go to and put in your address; the website will tell you whether your home is at risk for flooding based on an analysis of past and current weather data and patterns.

For example, right now in Knoxville, more than 10,000 properties are currently in an area that’s facing a risk of flooding. The flood risk is increasing in Knoxville, too, which means that as of this writing, an additional 10,800 properties will be at risk for flooding by the year 2051.

Related: When is it a good idea to offer more than a home’s asking price?

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