Flood Insurance in Washington
Experts break down flood insurance costs, coverage, companies, and more in Washington.
Flooding is the most costly natural disaster in the state of Washington. Every year, there's an 80% chance that ten or more flood events will impact the state, so it's important to protect your personal property with flood insurance.
One of the most common misconceptions about flooding is that it's covered under a homeowners insurance policy. Unfortunately, this is not true. To find an adequate flood insurance policy, it's best to work with a local independent insurance agent. Agents can answer your questions about proper coverage and help you secure protection to fit your needs.
What Is Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance is coverage that helps pay to repair or replace your personal property if it's damaged by natural waters, such as rain, waves, or raised river beds. For Washington residents, this includes the structure of your home, the surrounding property, and your personal belongings within your home.
Flood insurance can be purchased through private insurance carriers, and it is also offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which is overseen and administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A general consumer cannot secure flood insurance through the NFIP. You must go through a verified insurance provider.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover in Washington?
Flood insurance is designed to protect your home and your personal property which is done through building coverage and contents coverage.
- Building coverage: Covers walls, windows, plumbing, electrical and other things that are considered the foundation of your home or structure.
- Contents coverage: Covers the furnishings inside your home including appliances, electronics, and furniture.
Flood insurance will also include coverage to pay for things like debris removal, floodproofing, and the cost to implement loss avoidance measures.
If you purchase flood insurance through the NFIP, it will include coverage up to $250,000 for the building and $100,000 for the building contents. Choosing insurance through a private carrier, you'll want to work with your independent insurance agent to determine the proper limits.
What Is Not Covered by Flood Insurance in Washington?
There are several exclusions that will come with your flood insurance policy, which are important to know. Your coverage will typically not include:
- Property in the basement
- Detached structures
- Flooding caused by non-natural waters such as burst pipes
- Moisture, mold, or mildew damage
- Flooding from earthquakes or mudslides
- Flooding that does not affect two or more acres of land or two or more properties
Working with your agent, you can get coverage for additional natural disasters, like earthquakes. Your agent can also help you understand the coverage that is provided by your homeowners insurance, including damage from burst pipes and other common types of flooding.
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Do You Need Flood Insurance in Washington?
It depends. Flood insurance may be required by your lender or if your home is located in an area that's in a high-risk flood zone.
While your insurance agent can help you determine if you're located in a flood zone, you can also do your own research using flood insurance maps. If your home is in a high-risk zone, you'll likely be required to purchase coverage.
Even if your home is not in a high-risk zone, flood insurance may still be valuable to have. According to FEMA, 20% of flood insurance claims come from low- to moderate-risk flood zones.
What Flood Zones Require Flood Insurance in Washington?
Much of Washington is located in a flood zone, especially cities along the coast. Flood maps are continually being updated, but there are consistent flood zones that are identified on the Flood Insurance Rate Map as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA). These areas are defined by areas that have a one-percent chance of flooding occurring each year. This is also referred to as the base flood.
While there are multiple zones, they're categorized into high-risk, moderate- to low-risk, and undetermined flood zones.
- High-risk flood zones: In these zones, there is a one in four chance of the home experiencing flooding. Flood insurance is required in these zones which are labeled with a letter A or V on FEMA flood maps.
- Moderate- to low-risk zones: On flood maps, this zone is typically labeled with the letters B, C, or X. In this zone, flood risk is reduced but not removed. Flood insurance is not federally required in this area but is recommended.
- Undetermined flood zones: These zones do not have any determined flood risks but they could still possibly exist. On the FEMA map, these zones are labeled with the letter D.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost in Washington?
Flood insurance in Washington is considered expensive because it cost 27.7% more than the national average.
- Flood insurance premiums in Washington: $937 a year
Of course, prices will vary depending on multiple factors including where you live and how much coverage you need. The National Flood Insurance Program was designed to offer affordable coverage for all homeowners that need it, but your agent can help you shop prices to find the best rate.
What Are the Best Flood Insurance Companies in Washington?
It's always best to weigh all your options for flood insurance to assure you're getting the best coverage at the best price. A variety of carriers will offer coverage in the state, so letting an independent insurance agent assist you in finding the best flood insurance companies in Washington can help you narrow down your search.
Local agents have a history of working with and communicating with these carriers and understanding who are the top-rated companies. They will help you find a company that is reliable, affordable, and easy to work with.
Why Shop Flood Insurance with a Washington Independent Insurance Agent?
Flood insurance comes in many shapes and sizes and weaving through the options can be overwhelming. Washington independent insurance agents will chat with you, free of charge, to learn about your insurance needs.
After your conversation, your agent will shop multiple flood insurance quotes in Washington and help guide you in selecting the policy that will best suit you. If you need to file a claim, your agent will help you through that process and assist you in getting your claim filed and paid out as soon as possible.
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