Flood Insurance in Massachusetts
- Flood Insurance in Massachusetts
Just over 25% of Massachusetts’ land area is water. Much of the Bay State’s population lives near the Atlantic or in the Connecticut River Valley. Unfortunately, your home may be more prone to flooding than you think.
On top of flash floods from usual thunderstorms, Massachusetts is vulnerable to flooding from hurricanes, tropical storms, and nor’easters.
Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. We recommend flood insurance in Massachusetts to protect your property. Keep reading to learn how to find the best coverage.
How Much Is Flood Insurance in Massachusetts?
The average cost of flood insurance in Massachusetts is $2,097 annually under the National Flood Insurance Program. Beginning in 2021, the NFIP instituted its new rating calculation called Risk Rating 2.0, which increased flood insurance rates in Massachusetts for most people.
The NFIP is a government-run entity handled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Historically, flooding risk was too common and costly for private insurance companies to insure and stay in business. So, in 1968, the government created the NFIP to help with flood insurance woes.
While the private market has grown considerably in recent years, the NFIP is still the largest flood insurance provider in every state and the country overall by far. It’s estimated that the NFIP currently underwrites nine out of ten flood insurance policies in the United States.
The NFIP tries to make flood coverage relatively affordable for communities through discounts. But, it changed the way it calculates rates beginning in 2021. Unfortunately, under this new methodology, Risk Rating 2.0, average flood insurance rates in Massachusetts increased in every county.
The following table depicts Massachusetts flood insurance premiums by county before and after RR 2.0.
Average Cost of Flood Insurance in Massachusetts
Policies in Force
The NFIP began enacting RR 2.0 rates for all new NFIP policies on October 1, 2021. For existing policyholders, they began phasing in the new rates on April 1, 2022, so not all policyholders are experiencing their new rate yet, which is why the current cost of flood insurance doesn’t match RR 2.0 rates yet.
Where Is the Cheapest Flood Insurance in Massachusetts?
Under RR 2.0, the cheapest flood insurance in Massachusetts is in the following counties:
- Worcester ($1,127)
- Middlesex ($1,247)
- Norfolk ($1,803)
- Bristol ($1,999)
- Berkshire ($2,005)
Unfortunately, as we stated earlier, average rates went up in every county. Over 30,000 current NFIP policyholders will see some sort of increase in the coming years. The average flood insurance rate in Massachusetts before RR 2.0 was $1,269 per year.
But, the new rating system isn’t all bad news. Over 11,000 current customers will see their premiums decrease under RR 2.0, including 5,00 people who will see their rates go down by over $1,000 annually, a significant decrease.
And, for the people experiencing increases, the NFIP capped rate hikes at 18% per year, so you won’t have to pay your new RR 2.0 premium all at once.
What Does Flood Insurance in Massachusetts Cover?
Flood insurance in Massachusetts covers flood damage to your home and belongings. Flood damage is typically brought on by storm surges, sudden coastal erosion, mudslides, and sometimes heavy rain.
Note that flood damage is different than water damage, which can come from broken pipes or leaks and may be covered by your homeowners insurance. An easy way to remember which is which: flood damage comes from water outside your house, while water damage may come from inside your home.
The two main components of flood insurance are building and contents coverage:
Building coverage in flood insurance covers the physical structure of your home, such as the foundation, walls, flooring, electrical wiring, plumbing system, and built-in appliances.
Contents coverage in flood insurance financially guards your belongings in case of damage. Your insurer will reimburse you for clothing, furniture, electronics, tools, and more if such items sustain damage in a flood.
Note that NFIP policies limit their coverage of basements. Since basements are below ground, they’re very prone to damage from floodwaters entering your home. Typical flood policies won’t cover furniture and finishings in improved basements.
How to Get the Best Flood Insurance in Massachusetts
Although the NFIP is the largest flood insurer in the country, there are other options. The best flood insurance in Massachusetts for your situation may be available from a private flood insurance provider in the state.
The NFIP, as a government program, makes flood insurance available to everyone, even the most flood-prone properties. The government also isn’t trying to make money on the product, so it can keep rates relatively low. As a result, the program is run at a loss and has accumulated hundreds of millions in debt.
The NFIP can’t afford to cover the full value of every customer’s house. Its policies have a maximum of $250,000 in building coverage and $100,000 in contents coverage for all single-family homes. This means homes worth over $250,000 will be underinsured with NFIP coverage.
Private Flood Insurance in Massachusetts
Depending on your location and budget, private flood insurance in Massachusetts can be an alternative to the NFIP. Technological improvements over time have enabled some companies to underwrite and offer their own flood insurance policies. Plans from private flood insurers often have higher limits and other coverage options not available in NFIP plans.
For instance, private flood insurance companies in Massachusetts can usually offer building and contents limits of over $1 million if needed. They can also include additional coverages not in NFIP policies, such as loss of use coverage and basement protection.
Private policies may also have other perks, such as shorter waiting periods and easier application processes. However, homeowners in high-risk flood zones may find premiums from private flood insurers too costly. Private companies must make profits to survive and can adjust their prices more freely than the NFIP, making coverage very expensive in the most flood-prone places.
It can’t hurt to compare quotes and weigh your options. Some companies offering residential flood insurance in Massachusetts include Federal Insurance, Zurich American, and AIG. Additionally, some home insurance carriers, such as Stillwater, may offer flood insurance endorsements as an option in their home insurance plans.
Factors Determining the Cost of Flood Insurance in Massachusetts
Average flood insurance rates in Massachusetts are increasing from $1,269 to $2,097 under the NFIP’s new rating system. Companies look at several factors to determine the cost of flood insurance in Massachusetts relating to your policy details, location, and home construction.
Location: before giving you flood insurance, a company will examine your location to see your home’s susceptibility to flooding. Homes closer to flooding sources (bodies of water) typically have higher premiums since they would be the first to flood if the body overflows.
According to FEMA, counties with the highest number of properties at risk of storm surge damage in Massachusetts are:
- Nantucket (72.9%)
FEMA maintains flood maps for the country and has categorized every home according to its flood risk. Homes in high-risk flood zones, called Special Flood Hazard Areas, typically have higher premiums. SFHAs are often near the coast.
Home elevation: carriers will note your home’s elevation. Houses built a) higher off the ground or b) higher above sea level tend to see lower premiums since they’re less likely to suffer flood damage. For instance, a home at the top of a hill is less likely to be reached by floodwaters than a house at the bottom of a hill.
Policy details: the specifics of your policy also influence your premiums. The higher your policy limits, the more you’ll pay. Your deductible also affects your rates. Your deductible is the dollar amount damage must exceed before your flood insurance provider steps in and covers costs.
Choosing a higher deductible can lower your premiums because having a higher deductible lowers the chances you file a claim and the amount of money the insurer must cover. NFIP deductibles can be between $1,000 and $10,000.
Home construction: certain features of your home’s construction influence your rates. For example, masonry homes made of brick or concrete tend to withstand flooding damage better than wooden frame homes and often have lower premiums. Carriers will also look at your home’s foundation type and existing flood mitigation measures.
Is Flood Insurance Required in Massachusetts?
Flood insurance isn’t required by law in Massachusetts. But, depending on location, mortgage lenders can require flood insurance for certain homeowners.
Mortgage lenders putting money down on homes want to make sure their investment is protected, so they always require the homeowner to maintain homeowners insurance. However, home insurance doesn’t cover flood damage.
So, lenders will also require homeowners in high-risk flood zones to carry flood insurance as a loan stipulation. Banks accept NFIP and private coverage as long as it meets the home value (or reaches the NFIP limit).
How to Get a Flood Insurance Quote in Massachusetts
By getting multiple flood insurance quotes in Massachusetts, you’ll see the coverage differences between the NFIP and private carriers, and you may save money by finding a good deal. We have several simple ways to get flood quotes from the NFIP and private companies.
We’re Clovered, an independent insurance agency built to make finding and getting insurance easier. We’re experts in all types of property insurance, and we’d be happy to help you with a flood insurance quote in Massachusetts. You can quote online or over the phone.
You can quote online with our straightforward flood insurance form. It takes minutes to fill out with some basic info about yourself and your property, and you’ll hear back from one of our licensed agents on your flood insurance options.
The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.