California Flood Insurance

Learn why flood insurance is important and how it can help you.

Written by Meg Stefanac
Written by Meg Stefanac

Financial blogger and business owner, Meg Stefanac, has more than 15 years experience working in the financial services industry and enjoys helping individuals make solid financial decisions. Meg has extensive experience writing about insurance and finances and is a key contributor to

Flooded streets of a California neighborhood. Find California flood insurance.

Floods can pose a serious problem in some parts of California, but many insurance policies will not cover the damage that these overflow events can cause. If you own property in a flood-prone part of the Golden State, you may want to give serious consideration to covering it with flood insurance.

Local independent agents are aware of your flood risks because they live and work in your community. These agents are available to assist you with reviewing flood maps and, if needed, can help you cover your property with an affordable flood insurance policy.

Contact an insurance agent near you to get more information.

What Is Flood Insurance and Why Is It Important in California?

Flood damage is excluded from coverage by most home insurance, renters insurance, and business insurance policies, which is something that far too many people learn only after it is too late.

This can be quite problematic for property owners because flood damage can be very expensive. According to FEMA, as little as one inch of rainwater in a home can cause as much as $25,000  in property damage.

Fortunately, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created in 1968 to ensure that all property owners in the US have access to guaranteed and affordable flood coverage.

Around 10% of all properties in California have a 26% or greater chance of sustaining flood damage in the next 30 years. That is more than 1.2 million homes and businesses. However, only about 296,000 of these at-risk properties are covered by flood insurance.

By purchasing a flood insurance policy, you do not need to worry that a flood will cause you large financial losses.

Is Flood Insurance Required in California?

Flood insurance is not required by law. However, if you are still paying on a mortgage and your property is located in a FEMA-designated flood zone, your lender is likely to require you to carry flood insurance until your loan is fully paid.

For properties that are owned outright or that have a low to medium risk of sustaining flood damage, this insurance is optional.

Many people think that if coverage is not required because they live outside of designated flood zones, they do not need to worry about this hazard. However, this is not always the case. In fact, FEMA reports that 20% of all flood claims filed are for properties that are situated in low- or medium-risk areas.

How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost in California?

The average cost of flood insurance in California is currently $852 a year, but is expected to increase for many people over the next few years. This is due in large part to climate change causing more frequent and damaging floods.

Here are some factors that can influence how much your policy will cost to insure.

  • Where your property is located and its flood risk according to a FEMA-drawn flood map
  • How much structural coverage you want to purchase
  • How much contents coverage you want to purchase

Naturally, a flood insurance policy for a property located in a low-risk flood zone will cost considerably less than one in a high-risk zone.


Save on Flood Insurance

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What Does California Flood Insurance Cover?

Flood insurance is made up of two parts: structural coverage, and contents coverage. Policies purchased through the NFIP cap coverage limits differently for individuals and businesses.

  • Structural coverage: This pays to repair damage to the structure of your home or business building. It includes coverage for things like the building’s foundation, and its plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.
    • Homeowners are able to purchase up to $250,000 in coverage.
    • Businesses are able to purchase up to $500,000 in coverage.
  • Contents coverage: For homeowners, this can cover personal belongings like furniture, clothing, and electronics. For businesses, it can cover things like merchandise, computers, supplies, and other business-owned property.
    • Homeowners are able to purchase up to $100,000 in coverage.
    • Businesses are able to purchase up to $500,000 in coverage.

In most cases, it is not necessary for homeowners to cover all of their personal property since a flood is likely to cause limited, albeit expensive, damage.

What Is Not Covered by California Flood Insurance?

As with any type of insurance, flood insurance has some limitations. For instance, you should not expect your flood insurance policy to cover the following.

  • Personal property that is kept in a finished basement
  • Damage caused by earth movement like landslides
  • Remediation of mold, mildew, or moisture problems
  • Damage to landscaping features or property kept outside your home like decks, hot tubs, and swimming pools
  • Currency, precious metals, and important papers
  • For homeowners, temporary living expenses if you must leave your home while repairs are made
  • For business owners, compensation for financial losses incurred if you need to close your business down while repairs are made
  • Damage to your vehicle

When you are aware of what your policy will and will not cover, you will not find yourself facing unpleasant surprises when you file a claim.

Why Work with an Independent Agent in California?

If you want to learn more about flood insurance, you can turn to a local independent agent for information. These agents can answer your insurance-related questions, help you evaluate your property’s flood risk, and assist you with purchasing an affordable flood insurance policy if you want one.

There are hundreds of independent agents with offices throughout California, so it should be easy to find an agent near you. Arrange an obligation-free consultation with one of our experienced insurance agents to get started.

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