What is a flood?
Anywhere it rains, it can flood. A flood is a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow. Many conditions can result in a flood: hurricanes, broken levees, outdated or clogged drainage systems and rapid accumulation of rainfall.
Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past, doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. Flood risk isn’t just based on history, it’s also based on a number of factors: rainfall, river-flow and tidal-surge data, topography, flood-control measures, and changes due to building and development.
- Floods and flash floods happen in all 50 states.
- Everyone lives in a flood zone. (For more information, visit our Flood Zones FAQs.)
- Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.
- If you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) or high-risk area and have a Federally backed mortgage, your mortgage lender requires you to have flood insurance. (To find your flood risk, fill out the Flood Risk Profile.)
- Just an inch of water can cause costly damage to your property.
- Flash floods often bring walls of water 10 to 20 feet high.
- A car can easily be carried away by just two feet of floodwater.
- Hurricanes, winter storms and snowmelt are common (but often overlooked) causes of flooding.
- New land development can increase flood risk, especially if the construction changes natural runoff paths.
- Federal disaster assistance is usually a loan that must be paid back with interest. For a $50,000 loan at 4% interest, your monthly payment would be around $240 a month ($2,880 a year) for 30 years. Compare that to a $100,000 flood insurance premium, which is about $400 a year ($33 a month).
- If you live in a low-to-moderate risk area and are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, your flood insurance premium may be as low as $119 a year, including coverage for your property's contents.
- You are eligible to purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. Check the Community Status Book to see if your community is already an NFIP partner.
- It takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to take effect, so it's important to buy insurance before the floodwaters start to rise.
- In a high-risk area, your home has a 26% chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9% chance of fire.
- Last year, one-third of all claims paid by the NFIP were for policies in low-risk communities.
- The average annual U.S. flood losses from 1994-2004 were more than $2.4 billion.
- When your community participates in the Community Rating System (CRS), you can qualify for an insurance premium discount of up to 45%. Read more about CRS Ratings.
- The NFIP awarded over $16 billion in flood claims in 2005.
- Since 1978, the NFIP has paid $31.4 billion for flood insurance claims and related costs (as of 3/31/06).
- Over 5 million people currently hold flood insurance policies in more than 20,200 communities across the U.S.