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Flood Insurance

Homeowners are canceling their flood insurance policies as the prices for these policies rise, according to a recent survey.

In the summer of 2023, polled 1,500 U.S. homeowners about their home coverage, including whether or not they have flood insurance. Our survey found that 32.6% of respondents said they do have flood insurance, a higher number than national statistics would suggest. 

The survey also asked homeowners if they had canceled a flood insurance policy in the past year due to rising costs – 9.4% of respondents said they had.

Under FEMA’s new rating system, which hit all flood policies on April 1, 2022, rates have more than doubled in many states; in Florida, the average cost of flood insurance rose by more than $1,300 a year.

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the U.S.; 90% of natural disasters involve flooding. Despite the fact that floods can happen almost anywhere and the damage is not covered by home insurance, most people don’t have flood insurance.

“Your homeowner policy does not cover flood damage, and more than 25% of flood damage actually occurs outside of a designated “flood zone,” so the families who need this level of protection is much higher than people believe,” says Travis Hodges, managing director of omnichannel sales and service at insurance broker HUB International.

In July and August 2023 alone, serious floods happened in Florida, New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. August 2023 also saw flooding from a rare tropical storm across California. Statistically, since less than a third of homeowners nationwide have flood insurance, most homeowners affected by those floods likely didn’t have flood insurance.

“As we’ve seen time and again in recent years across the U.S. and beyond,” says David A. Robinson, distinguished professor at Rutgers University and New Jersey state climatologist, noting August 2023 flooding in Death Valley, Calif., one of the driest places in the nation. 

“There is no location that can escape the risk of flooding,” he says.  

And the risk is only rising. NASA reports that climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of floods. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts sea levels will rise up to a foot by 2050.

The bottom line: People are dropping flood insurance even as the flood risk is rising.

Homeowners are canceling flood insurance as rates rise

The cost of home insurance, along with FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0, which increased flood insurance rates in many locations, has put a financial strain on many homeowners. For some, flood insurance was cut from their budget. Unfortunately, that leaves more homes exposed in an area where many are already underinsured.

“As their homeowners insurance rises, it is natural to look for alternative places to save; however, this can be a very costly gamble,” Hodges says.

Here’s a look at how many homeowners in our survey canceled their flood insurance in the top five states for flood claims.

State% of respondents who canceled flood insurance
New Jersey7%
New York16%

Places with a higher flood risk saw the greatest increase in rates, as a general rule, in FEMA’s new rating system. FEMA claims data shows that the top five states for flood claims are Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas. An incredible 75% of flood claims are paid in those five states.

Here’s a look at how much rates went up, on average, in those five states.

StateIncrease in average annual flood insurance rateAverage annual rate in 2023
New Jersey$1,048$2,129
New York$1,013$2,197

These states also pay higher than average home insurance rates, making expensive flood insurance something homeowners may opt out of when possible to keep costs down.

How many Americans have flood insurance?

Statistics regarding how many homeowners have flood insurance vary. The Insurance Information Institute (III), per Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications in Florida, told when discussing natural disaster underinsurance that 4% of Americans have flood insurance, but statistics on III range from 16% to 27%.’s survey, however, found that almost a third of respondents nationwide (32.6%) say they have a flood insurance policy. Because flood policies are sold both by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and private companies, some discrepancy in the numbers is expected. 

Still,’s poll results show a surprisingly high count of people with flood insurance compared to other statistics, which the location of respondents may influence; just over a quarter (25.7%) live in the top five states for flood claims.

Flood insurance in high-risk states

Based on our survey, here’s a look at how many people in each of the top five states for flood claims say they have flood insurance.

StateRespondents with flood insurance
New Jersey23%
New York44%

Despite no state showing that even half of the residents have flood insurance, the numbers indicate that homeowners in these states take the risk of flooding fairly seriously. Each of these states has been hit by catastrophic hurricanes that led to serious flooding, and having seen the results of flooding is a powerful lesson.

The survey didn’t select the respondents' locations, so the higher-than-expected numbers may reflect more respondents who live in high-risk coastal areas.

Flood insurance policies by state

Floods can happen in every state, and experts believe catastrophic flooding will likely become more frequent.

“Climate models suggest that a trend toward more precipitation falling in larger precipitation events is likely in the future. It is increasingly apparent that such a trend may already be underway,” Robinson says.

We asked all survey respondents whether they had a flood insurance policy. Below are the survey responses by state.

State % of respondents with flood insurance
New Hampshire22%
New Jersey23%
New Mexico29%
New York44%
North Carolina34%
North Dakota17%
Rhode Island50%
South Carolina29%
South Dakota14%
West Virginia19%

Once again, it’s worth noting that the number of respondents in some states was low, which means that the percentage who said they have flood insurance is affected by that number. However, there were only three states where no respondents indicated they had a flood insurance policy: Alaska, Montana and Wyoming.

Given the small sample size in some states, it’s notable that a good percentage of people in so many states said yes.

Should you buy flood insurance?

If you live in a high-risk flood area, you probably already know you need flood insurance, or may even be required by your mortgage company to buy it.

But millions of Americans live in lower-risk areas and may not think they need coverage until they do. As climate change drives unexpected weather patterns, whether you need flood insurance no longer has a cut-and-dried answer. Floods happen everywhere. And while the risk might still be low where you live, the cost of not having it is high.

“Usually, it is as simple as too much rain in too short a period. The result being flash flooding that can quickly engulf people, vehicles, buildings (including basement apartments) in dangerous flood waters. A tragic recent example of this in New Jersey is the initial flash flooding (followed later by riverine flooding) from post-Tropical Cyclone Ida on September 1, 2021,” Robinson says.

The good news is that flood insurance is very affordable in low-risk areas and well worth it for peace of mind. And if you’re in a high-risk area, even the higher premium is a good investment, considering that an inch of flood water can do $25,000 in damage, per the NFIP.

While everyone has to weigh risk against premiums, experts agree that far more people need flood insurance than have it.

“Everyone should be cognizant of weather forecasts, know how to receive watches and warnings of flooding (be it flash flooding or riverine flooding) and know how to respond to emergency information (e.g., “turn around, don’t drown” and much more). This is a matter of safety, but there is also concern for risks to infrastructure, perhaps your home, that should not be ignored,” Robinson says. “This is certainly most critical in areas with a high flood risk, but as we’ve seen recently in NJ, these areas are now something akin to moving targets with climate change and a keen influence of reconfigured flood zones.”


In the summer of 2023, polled 1,500 homeowners. The poll was conducted by Slice, MR. Homeowners were asked if they have flood insurance currently, and if they have canceled flood insurance in the past 12 months. All percentages in tables are rounded to the nearest whole number.


FEMA. “Facts and Myths about flood insurance.” Accessed August 2023

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