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Flood Facts

WARNING: How FloodSmart are YOU?

Floods are the #1 natural disaster in the United States.

Why Care About Flooding
Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. From 2003 to 2012, total flood insurance claims averaged nearly $4 billion per year. In high-risk areas, there is at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. However, losses due to flooding are not covered under typical homeowner's and business insurance policies.

Causes of Flooding

  • Hurricanes and tropical storms cause floods that can create far more damage than high winds.
  • Nor'easters, or extra-tropical cyclones, also cause flooding and storm surge.
  • Heavy rains, winter storms, and spring thaws bring flooding to river basins.
  • Overburdened or clogged drainage systems lead to property damage both within and outside floodplains.
  • Construction and new development affect natural drainage and create new flood risks.

Determine your Flood Risk at
Is your property in a high risk or moderate to low risk area? Knowing your flood profile will help you understand your risk of financial loss.

Find out your relative flood risk right now online at's "Assess Your Risk". Simply enter your property address to see your relative risk, find links to flood maps, and other flood insurance community resources.

Flood maps determine your level of risk. You can also view current flood maps at FEMA's Map Store located at FEMA is also undertaking a nationwide effort to produce new digitized flood maps for hundreds of communities over the next five years. These new maps will reflect changes in floodplains caused by new development and natural forces.

News for Low-Risk Properties

Expanded, Lower-cost Coverage
If a single family home or business is located in a low- to moderate-risk area, the owners may be eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy (PRP). Lower cost PRPs are available for businesses as well. Contents-only PRPs are available for renters and business owners who lease their buildings. Ask an insurance agent for details.

Other Flood Precautions People Should Take
Being FloodSmart includes protecting your property before floods occur. Be sure that major appliances, electric switchboxes, outlets and heating equipment are well above potential flood levels. Install floating drain plugs and sewer system backflow valves to help prevent flood drain overflow.

Find Out More About Flood Insurance
Flood insurance is offered through the National Flood Insurance Program, which provides federally backed protection against flood losses. To find out more, call your insurance agent, contact the NFIP at 1-800-427-2419 to find a nearby agent, or visit

Flooding happens anywhere at any time!

Spring Flooding - Torrential Rain: New Jersey, March 2011

  • There were nearly 2,000 paid losses totaling more than $35 million with an average paid amount of more than $19,000.

Spring Flooding: Nashville, TN 2010

  • Some areas received nearly 20 inches of rain in a two-day period.
  • Numerous rainfall records were broken at the Nashville International airport, including the most rain received in a 6-hour period, highest calendar day rainfall, and wettest month, along with several others.
  • Fifteen observation sites had rainfall measurements exceeding the maximum observed rainfall associated with Hurricane Katrina landfall.
  • National Weather Service (NWS) radar-based estimates also showed a large area of 16 to 20 inch totals stretching from Nashville to Memphis.
  • The Cumberland River in Nashville hit a post flood control era crest of 51.86 feet, its highest level since flood control was implemented in the late 1960s, flooding parts of downtown Nashville.
  • 11,000 structures incurred major flood damage.
  • There were more than 4,000 paid losses totaling more than $226 million with an average paid amount in excess of $55,000.

Summer Flooding: Atlanta, Georgia, September 2009

  • 20,000 homes, businesses and other buildings received major damage
  • More than 23 counties received Federal Disaster Declarations
  • The flooding resulted in more than 2,000 paid losses totaling close to $120 million with an average paid amount of more than $58,500.

Spring Flooding - Torrential Rain: Texas, March 2009

  • Impacted areas had more than 3,000 paid losses totaling more than $127 million with an average paid amount of more than $38,500.

Summer Flooding: Midwest, June 2008

  • Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin were affected by floods
  • Iowa was hit the hardest – widespread rainfall totals ranged from 4 to more than 16 inches.
  • Flooding lasted up to two weeks in places and caused the worst floods in 15 years
  • Areas impacted by the flooding had more than 3,000 paid losses totaling close to $140 million with an average paid amount of more than $41,000.
  • Floods affected 36,000 people and submerged millions of acres of land

Summer Flooding: NJ, NY, PA, June 2006

  • Six states and the District of Columbia experienced flooding
  • Flooding caused $1 billion in damages
  • Areas impacted by the flooding had close to 6,500 paid losses totaling more than $228 million with an average paid amount of more than $35,500.


For flood insurance rating purposes, a primary residence is a building that will be lived in by the insured or the insured's spouse for at least 80 percent of the 365 days following the policy effective date. If the building will be lived in for less than 80 percent of the policy year, it is considered to be a non-primary residence.

How Can I get Covered?

  • Rate your risk
  • Estimate your premiums
  • Find an agent

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Last Updated: Monday, 18-May-2015, 4:28 PM (EDT)

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