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Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking

Flood Insurance Coverage FAQs

Do I Need Flood Insurance?

Flood Insurance is not a requirement. However, if you live inside or outside of the high-risk flood area, you own property or rent, you should consider purchasing flood insurance for the protection and peace of mind it brings. Many property owners, particularly those in high-risk flood areas, may be required to have flood insurance. If you have a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender you may be required to obtain flood coverage.

What Is A Flood Insurance Policy?

Residential and commercial flood policies are issued by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), either directly or through licensed insurance agents in the District of Columbia. However, the policies fall within the jurisdiction of the National Flood Insurance Program. The NFIP offers two types of coverage – building coverage and personal property coverage – to protect your home and belongings. The licensed insurance carrier must follow all guidelines of the NFIP relating to all coverage, underwriting, premiums, and claims.

Who Can Buy Flood Insurance?

  • Homeowners
  • Renters
  • Business owners
  • Condominium unit owners
  • Condominium associations
  • Buildings in the course of construction
  • Municipalities for city buildings and property

Where Do I Find an Agent That Sells Flood Insurance?

Call your insurance agent, the same person who sells your home or auto insurance, or use the NFIP Insurance Provider Locator to find a District NFIP licensed flood insurance agent in your area and to get more information.

What Is the Cost of Flood Insurance?

The average flood policy costs $600 - $700 a year, less than $2.00 per day. The cost will vary depending on whether you live in a high risk or low risk area, the value of your home, and the amount of your deductible, among other factors.

If I purchase A Flood Insurance Policy Today, When Is It Effective?

Most flood policies have a 30-day waiting period before kicking in so don’t wait for an approaching storm or a heavy rainstorm before deciding to buy coverage.

What’s Covered?

A flood insurance policy will cover your home up to $250,000. You’ll need a separate flood policy for your personal belongings, which provides coverage up to $100,000.

  • Direct physical losses by “flood” are covered.
  • Losses resulting from flood-related erosion caused by waves or currents of water activity exceeding anticipated cyclical levels, or caused by a severe storm, flash flood, abnormal tidal surge, or the like, which result in flooding, as defined.
  • Damage caused by mudflows, as specifically defined in the policy forms.

What’s Not Covered?

  • Additional Living Expense (i.e. ALE) coverage is not included as part of flood insurance.
  • Sewer backup or seepage of water is not covered unless the property is, at the same time, damaged by the flood.
  • Water or moisture damage resulting from a condition primarily confined to the insured building.
  • Losses caused by the insured’s failure to use reasonable means to preserve property after a flood.
  • A loss already in progress at the time a policy goes into effect.
  • A loss caused by off premises power failure.

What Is Covered Under the Building Coverage?

  • The insured building and its foundation
  • The electrical and plumbing systems
  • Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
  • Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
  • Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
  • Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases, and cabinets
  • Window blinds
  • Detached garages (up to 10 percent of Building Property Coverage).Detached buildings (other than garages) require a separate Building Property policy
  • Debris removal

What Is Covered Under Personal Property Coverage?

  • Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment.
  • Curtains.
  • Portable and window air conditioners.
  • Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers.
  • Carpets not included in building coverage
  • Clothes washers and dryers.
  • Food freezers and the food in them.

Certain valuable items such as:

  • artwork, photographs, collectibles, or
  • memorabilia, including but not limited to, porcelain or other figures, and sports cards;
  • Rare books or autographed items;
  • Jewelry, watches, precious and semiprecious stones, or articles of gold, silver, or platinum;
  • Furs or any article containing fur which represents its principal value.

Personal Properties that are Not Covered?

  • Accounts, bills, deeds, evidence of debt, money, coins, postage stamps, manuscripts, etc.
  • Fences, piers, seawalls, outdoor swimming pools, bulkheads, wharves, bridges, docks, boathouses on or over water.
  • Land values, lawns, trees, shrubs, plants, growing crops, livestock, animals, birds, fish.
  • Walks, driveways, and paved surfaces outside building foundation walls.
  • Motor vehicles (with exceptions), aircraft, watercraft.

If I Purchased Coverage for Both My Building and Personal Property, How Many Deductibles Must I Pay if Both are Damaged?

Two deductibles, one for each coverage.

Does Flood Insurance Provide Coverage for Replacement Cost?

Replacement cost coverage is available for a single-family dwelling, including a residential condominium unit that is the policyholder’s principal residence and is insured for at least 80 percent of the unit’s replacement cost at the time of the loss, up to the maximum amount of insurance available at the inception of the policy term.

How to File a Claim for Flood Loss?

A flood insurance policyholder should immediately report any flood loss to the insurance company or agent who wrote the policy. A claims adjuster will be assigned the loss, and the policyholder must file a “Proof of Loss” within 60 days of the date of loss. You can contact the NFIP at 1-877-336-2627 or visit NFIP’S Direct Servicing Agent to report a claim.

What is a Proof of Loss?

Proof of loss is the policyholder’s valuation of claimed damages. It is a sworn statement made by the policyholder that substantiates the insurance claim and is required to be submitted to the NFIP or WYO company within 60 days of the loss. A printed form available from the adjuster assigned to the claim.


DISB Flood Insurance Guide or email your questions to [email protected]. or call 1-800-427-4661