Flood insurance is just part of Massachusetts life. Massachusetts is constantly flooded by floodwaters. It’s important to learn how flood insurance works, what it costs, and how to file a claim in the event of flooding.
Flood insurance is something Massachusetts homeowners may need
Massachusetts has had flooding in the past and present. FEMA reported that Massachusetts has been affected by floodwater almost every year for the last 23 years. Flood events are so common in Massachusetts that there are often well over 50 floods (in 2018, it was well over 80).
Both homeowners and insurance companies have suffered severe financial consequences as a result. In 2019, the average homeowner cost for floodwater damage was $52,000.
Flood insurance costs in Massachusetts
Flood insurance rates for Massachusetts are determined by the flood zone in which your property or home is located. You can find this information by entering your address into FEMA’s flood map. In Boston, for example, there are three flood zones that insurance companies look at in order to determine flood risk.
Your provider will also take into account the following factors when determining your premium.
- Design your home
- Age of your house
- The location of your home’s utilities
- Maximum coverage
- Minimum amount
An elevation certificate can help lower flood insurance costs. This certifies that your home is higher than the average floodwater height in your area.
Flood insurance: When should you buy it?
Massachusetts homeowners insurance law doesn’t require flood insurance. If your home is located in a flood hazard area (SFHA), your lender may require you to have it if your mortgage is secured. This is an area that is close to water and low in elevation.
Flood insurance is best purchased as soon as you purchase a home that is in a flood zone. Flood insurance can be purchased if you are worried about a storm coming and you don’t have flood coverage. However, there is a 30-day waiting time before you can file a claim.
There are some exceptions to the rule that you don’t need to wait for 30 days.
- Flood insurance can be purchased if your flood map has changed in your area. You have 13 months to purchase flood insurance. There is no 30-day waiting period for filing a claim. There is only one-day waiting period if you do this.
- Flood insurance can be purchased immediately after you’ve renewed, increased, or extended your home loan.
How to buy flood insurance in Massachusetts
Call your homeowner’s insurance company and speak to an agent to buy flood insurance. The NFIP Help Center can be reached at 800 427-4661. A representative will provide a quote and answer any questions. Currently, flood insurance is purchased through the federal government’s NFIP Program. However, private flood insurance may be available.
Currently, NFIP doesn’t offer additional living expenses coverage. Floodwaters cause damage to your home and you have to pay the extra housing and food costs.
How to file a NFIP flood insurance claims
When purchasing your policy, it’s a smart idea to speak with your provider about the claims process. These are the steps that you’ll likely be asked to take.
Call your insurance company immediately if your home has been damaged by flooding. Soon after, an insurance adjuster will inspect your home to assess the extent of floodwater damage.
If possible, take photos of flood-damaged areas if you are able. Try to capture shots that show the height of the water rise and make sure you also take photos of the interior of your home.
Separate damaged items from undamaged items to speed up the process. Make sure you protect your belongings against further damage, if possible.
You can request partial or an advance payment while the adjuster is present.
Questions frequently asked
What is the cost of flood insurance in MA?
The average flood insurance premium that Massachusetts homeowners pay is $1,291 per year. This makes it fifth most expensive state to insure flood. (The national average is about $700). Our data shows that the four most expensive states include:
- Vermont: $1.569
- Connecticut: $1.475
- Rhode Island: $1.424
- Pennsylvania: $1,316
Flood insurance is necessary for renters
Renters don’t need flood insurance. You aren’t responsible for the structure of your home. To protect your belongings, you might want to buy renters flood insurance. You will need to pay out of your own pocket to replace any items that floodwaters cause to be damaged.
Flood damage is usually not covered by standard renter insurance policies. It does cover water damage from a burst pipe. However, there are often some ambiguities. Talk to your renters insurance agent to find out exactly what your policy covers.
What is flood insurance not covering?
The following are not covered by flood insurance:
- Your car
- Any property or personal belongings that are not in an insured home
- Currency, stock certificates, precious metals, etc.
- Loss of usage
- Additional living expenses
- Preventable mold, mildew, or moisture damage
- Flood-related earth movement
What are the most frequent causes of flooding?
Flooding can be caused by many things. These are:
- Consistent, heavy rain
- Melting snow
- Blockage of drainage systems
- Storms offshore
- Ice jams
Many floods in Massachusetts are due to rainwater overburdening the Connecticut, Merrimack, and Nashua Rivers.