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Massachusetts flood insurance

Updated Apr 16, 2024
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Do homeowners need flood insurance in Massachusetts?

Flood insurance is not required by law. However, Massachusetts has a history of flooding and climate scientists predict that it may get much worse within the next 15 years. According to the state government, more than 400,000 local residents live within a 100-year flood zone and have more than a 25 percent chance that their homes will flood at some point. While living within a flood zone is a good indicator of risk, it’s important to note that over 20 percent of flood claims come from homes outside of high-risk flood areas, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). So just because your home hasn't flooded before, doesn't mean it can't.

Many homeowners turn to flood insurance to help mitigate flood-related damage. Such a policy won’t reduce the chance of your home flooding, but it may significantly help with associated repair and replacement costs. In 2022, there were over $1,000,000 in payouts stemming from flood insurance claims in Massachusetts.

If you’re thinking about buying flood insurance, or even if you already have a policy, it’s important to understand what flood insurance does and doesn’t cover.

What flood insurance covers

Generally, flood insurance covers flood damage to:

  • Electrical and plumbing systems
  • Some appliances
  • Permanently installed carpeting, paneling, cabinets and bookcases
  • The structure of your home, including drywall, staircases and foundations
  • Detached garages
  • Personal belongings (if this coverage is purchased)

What flood insurance doesn’t cover

A flood insurance policy won’t cover everything. Here are some instances not covered by flood insurance:

  • Temporary living expenses if your home is unlivable due to a flood
  • Property outside of the covered building
  • Money, precious metals and other forms or currency
  • Vehicles
  • Contents kept in a basement
  • Personal liability

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Coverage.com, LLC is a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249). Coverage.com services are only available in states where it is licensed. Coverage.com may not offer insurance coverage in all states or scenarios. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.

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This advertisement is powered by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249) and a corporate affiliate of Bankrate. The offers and links that appear on this advertisement are from companies that compensate Coverage.com in different ways. The compensation received and other factors, such as your location, may impact what offers and links appear, and how, where and in what order they appear. While we seek to provide a wide range of offers, we do not include every product or service that may be available. Our goal is to keep information accurate and timely, but some information may not be current. Your actual offer from an advertiser may be different from the offer on this advertisement. All offers are subject to additional terms and conditions.
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Cost of flood insurance in Massachusetts

The cost of flood insurance typically depends on various rating factors such as your home’s location, but FEMA reports that the national average rate is $935 per year for a single-family home. The average flood insurance cost in Massachusetts for a single family home is $1,085 as of 2023. To determine what flood zone your home or property is in, you can input your address into FEMA’s flood map. The higher the risk of flooding in your area, the more you’re likely to pay for a policy. Below you can see the average cost of a NFIP flood insurance in 10 different towns in Massachusetts.

Town Average cost of flood insurance with NFIP for a single-family home
Boston $654
Framingham $479
Lynn $958
Natick $747
Newton $747
Plymouth $1,003
Randolph $1,122
Somerville $641
Quincy $791
Weymouth $1,130

In high-risk areas, flood insurance can be quite expensive and may be more than the cost of home insurance. Your provider will consider the following when determining your premium:

  • Design of your home
  • Age of your home
  • Location of your home’s utilities
  • Coverage amount
  • Deductible amount

The building coverage portion of a flood insurance policy covers your foundation, electrical, plumbing, finishings, appliances, electronics, permanent carpet, furnaces, water heaters, permanent cabinetry and more. The contents portion of your policy covers personal belongings, microwaves, carpets, washers, dryers, artwork, other valuables and more. Standard policies have coverage limits of $250,000 for the structure and $100,000 for the home’s contents.

Note that it may be possible to lower your flood insurance costs by employing certain strategies. FEMA and the NFIP suggest getting an elevation certificate, installing flood openings, filling in basements or relocating to reduce the potential impact of flood-related damage.

When to purchase flood insurance

Massachusetts homeowners insurance laws don’t legally require you to have flood insurance. Still, if you have a mortgage, your lender may require it if your home is in a special flood hazard area close to the water and low in elevation.

Experts recommend purchasing flood insurance as soon as you buy a home in a flood zone. If you’re nervous about an upcoming storm and don’t have flood insurance, you may still be able to purchase it, but keep in mind that there is usually a 30-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect.

Fortunately, there are exceptions where you don’t have to wait the full 30 days.

  • If you’re purchasing flood insurance because your area’s flood map has changed and indicated your home is at risk, you have 13 months to buy flood insurance without a 30-day wait period for filing a claim. There is only a one-day wait period instead.
  • If you have just purchased, renewed, increased or extended a home loan, you may purchase flood insurance without a 30-day wait period.

How to purchase flood insurance in Massachusetts

The easiest way to purchase flood insurance is to call your homeowners insurance provider and speak with an agent. Some private insurers offer NFIP policies; others may offer their own flood insurance. You can also call the NFIP Help Center at (800) 427-4661.

According to Mass.gov, the official website of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there are 11 private insurance companies writing flood insurance as of June 2023. They are as follows:

Residential flood policies

  • Federal Insurance
  • Zurich American

Excess policies

  • AIG Casualty Company
  • Berkley Insurance Company
  • Markel
  • Federal Insurance
  • Fidelity National Indemnity Insurance Company
  • Wright National Flood Insurance Company

Limited flood coverage

  • American European Insurance Company
  • Kingstone Insurance Company
  • Stillwater Property and Casualty Insurance Company

NFIP does not currently offer additional living expenses coverage or loss-of-use coverage with their policies. That means, if you purchase an NFIP policy and floodwaters damage your home, it will be up to you to pay any additional housing and food costs out of pocket. However, FEMA may provide disaster housing in some situations.

Filing a flood insurance claim

While the coverage limits may differ, filing a flood claim with NFIP or through a private carrier is very similar to filing any other type of home insurance claim. Depending on the severity of the flood event, you may be displaced and unable to return to your residence immediately. It is a good idea to have the phone number for the claims department saved in your phone along with a digital copy of your policy declaration page. The steps below outline standard procedures when filing a flood claim:

  • Report any loss immediately by calling your insurance agent, filing the claim online or through the carrier's mobile app.
  • Document any damage by taking photos before discarding damaged items.
  • Minimize the risk of future loss by securing the home — board up any broken windows and tarp your roof if damaged.
  • Start the cleaning process as soon as possible to prevent mold from developing.
  • Apply for disaster relief immediately. Funds tend to run out quickly and claim payments are usually not processed immediately.
  • After meeting with your home insurance adjuster, they will assess the damage, review the claims process and provide you with a repair estimate. Depending on your insurance company, receiving the claim payment can take days to weeks.

If you are unhappy with how the claim is handled, contact your insurance provider to start the appeal process.

Read this FEMA Fact Sheet — Starting Your Recovery — for more detailed information about the claims process for an NFIP policy.

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Shannon Martin
Writer, Insurance

Shannon Martin is a licensed insurance agent and Bankrate analyst with over 15 years of experience in the industry. She enjoys helping others navigate the insurance world by cutting through complex jargon and empowering readers to make strong financial decisions independently.

Edited by Editor, Insurance