About 54 percent of Tampa properties are at risk of flooding, according to FloodFactor. That makes Tampa one of the most at-risk cities for flooding in the state of Florida, second only to Cape Coral. 

The reason Tampa is so at risk? Tampa is a coastal city in an area affected by tropical storms, including hurricanes. Not only does that mean heavy rains hit Tampa every year, but it also means that much of the area is subject to devastating storm surge. This article will go over everything you need to know to get the best flood protection at the best price in Tampa

Ready for low-cost flood insurance coverage now? Check out the Insurify home insurance comparison tool. With one confidential form, you can compare home insurance policies with included flood coverage from the best NFIP flood insurance providers in your area. Only buy when the price is right. 

Do I Need Flood Insurance in Tampa?

A standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damages. That’s why some homeowners are subject to mandatory flood insurance. This occurs when:

  • The property is mortgaged AND
  • The property is in a high-risk flood zone 

It’s not just up to your lender—the federal government mandates that lenders require flood insurance for any high-risk property. 

If you live in a moderate-risk area, flood insurance may be optional. Some lenders may still require a flood policy because floods in moderate-risk areas still occur. But even if your lender doesn’t require it, you should heavily consider carrying a policy. Here’s why:

  • Even minor flood damage is very expensive. Just one inch of water in a single-story 2,500-square-foot home can cost $25,000 in damages.
  • Flood insurance in moderate-risk areas is less expensive—the average cost is half the price of a high-risk policy. 

If you live in a low-risk area, you should still consider purchasing a flood policy. These policies are the least expensive, and there are no “no-risk” areas. 

Tampa Flood Zones

High-risk flood zones are known as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). High-risk areas are given flood zones with an A or V in the title. Moderate-risk flood zones are not designated SFHAs. They’re given a B, C, or X in the title.

Here’s a quick overview of what high and moderate risk actually mean:

  • High-risk flood zone: This is an area that has a 1 percent chance of flooding. That means that over a 30-year period, the risk of flooding is about 25 percent. These areas are sometimes called “100-year flood zones.”
  • Moderate-risk flood zone: This is an area that has a 0.2 percent chance of flooding. That means that over a 30-year period, the risk of flooding is about 6 percent. 

Currently, 59,737 properties are at high or moderate risk of flooding in Tampa. Here’s the breakdown of properties at risk:

  • Properties with a 50 percent flood risk: 221
  • Properties with a 20 percent flood risk: 2,985
  • Properties with a 5 percent flood risk: 13,494
  • Properties with a 1 percent flood risk: 27,700
  • Properties with a 0.2 percent flood risk: 15,337

Those numbers are increasing, according to FloodFactor. Over the next 30 years, the number of properties at high to moderate risk will increase by 23 percent. 

For a detailed flood map of your area, you can visit the Tampa government website or order a map through FEMA.

What’s Covered with Tampa Flood Insurance?

Your flood insurance policy will be divided into two parts. The first part is building coverage, and it’s mandatory with any flood policy. This covers:

  • Detached garages
  • Foundation walls
  • Anchorage systems
  • Solar equipment
  • Staircases
  • Electric and plumbing systems
  • Refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers
  • Built-in bookshelves, paneling, and cabinets
  • Water heaters
  • Permanent air conditioners
  • Permanent carpeting
  • Fuel tanks
  • Sump pumps
  • Well-water tanks and pumps

The second part is contents coverage, and it’s optional. Though optional, you should certainly consider carrying a policy, as it protects you when you lose or suffer damage to your personal property. What’s covered:

  • Furniture, electronics, and artwork
  • Clothing, furs, and jewelry
  • Washer, dryer, and microwave
  • Portable air conditioners
  • Non-permanent carpeting

Replacement Cost Value vs. Actual Cash Value

The standard NFIP policy only covers the actual cash value (ACV) of your property. That means that you’re only covered for the value of your property minus depreciation. If possible, you should protect your building and contents for the replacement cost value (RCV).

RCV covers you for whatever the cost is to replace your property minus the deductible. 

What’s Not Covered with Tampa Flood Insurance?

There are several important exclusions when it comes to flood insurance. First, you should know that flood insurance only covers floods. Water damage from non-flood-related events, like a burst pipe, is not covered by flood insurance. It may be covered by your homeowners insurance policy

You should also know that water damage, including from heavy rains, is not covered if it was avoidable. In other words, if the damage was due to the homeowners negligence. An example is water damage from heavy rains caused by leaving a window open.  

Finally, flood insurance never covers the following without a special rider:

  • Cars, trucks, and other vehicles
  • Landscaping and fencing
  • Patios and decks
  • Pools and hot tubs
  • Seawalls
  • Septic systems
  • Currency and precious metals
  • Stock certificates and other documents
  • Additional living expenses (ALE)*
  • Business losses caused by flooding

*Additional living expenses (ALE) cover the added costs when you need to live temporarily outside of your home. This can include hotel, laundry, pet boarding, and added fuel costs.

What’s the Cost of Flood Insurance in Tampa?

The average homeowner in Tampa spends between $800 and $900 a year on flood insurance. But flood insurance rates vary depending on:

  • How at-risk your property is for flooding
  • The size of your home
  • The materials used to build your home
  • Your home’s finishings
  • The age of your home
  • How high or low you set your deductible
  • The discounts you qualify for

Flood Insurance Deductibles

You’ll have the option to set your insurance deductibles. The lower the deductible, the higher the premium. The lowest you can set a deductible for NFIP insurance is:

  • $1,000 for building coverage of $100,000 or less
  • $1,250 for building coverage over $100,000

The maximum deductible is $10,000, which comes with a 40 percent discount on your premium. However, that discount won’t be worth it if you can’t afford the deductible expense in the event of a claim. 

Always set your deductible to an affordable rate. 

How to Get a Flood Insurance Policy in Tampa

There are two ways to get flood insurance in Tampa:

  • Purchase an NFIP policy through a local insurer
  • Purchase private flood insurance

Some homeowners may find that purchasing a combination of the two is the best option. That’s because they are combining the typically lower rate of NFIP insurance with the flexibility of an additional private policy. 

Do keep in mind that your policy comes with a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase. You can qualify for a shorter waiting period if you’ve just bought your home and are buying insurance for the first time. If your home was just designated to be in a high-risk area, you can also qualify for a shorter waiting period

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

Most property owners purchase a flood insurance policy backed by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP is operated by the federal government and is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

You must purchase an NFIP policy through a local insurer. While the product is essentially the same, different insurers can charge different prices for the same product. That’s because overhead and other business expenses vary from company to company. 

Private Flood Insurance

If you have a high-value property that exceeds NFIP coverage limits—or if you’d just prefer to work only with a private insurer—you can purchase a flood policy through a private company like Assurant or the Zurich Insurance Group. 

These policies tend to be more expensive, but they also tend to offer more flexibility in coverage options and limits. Just be sure that your policy is compliant with your lender’s requirements. 

Can I Buy Flood Insurance Directly from FEMA?

No, you cannot buy directly from FEMA. FEMA exists to coordinate disaster responses to declared emergencies. While FEMA does offer payouts to victims of natural disasters (and other disaster events), there are limitations.

First, payouts are only given to people who have suffered from an event that’s been officially declared a disaster or emergency. Most flood events are not so catastrophic to warrant a response from FEMA.

Second, even when the event meets disaster requirements, the payouts are small. The maximum payout is $30,000 per household. But the average payout is between $7,000 and $8,000.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does flood insurance cost in Flood Zone A

Flood Zone A is considered a high-risk flood zone or Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). You should expect to pay around $1,000 per year. Your costs may be a little higher or lower, depending on the specific flood risks to your property. 

What is the best flood insurance company?

As most flood insurance policies are backed by the NFIP, you should note that the coverage terms are essentially the same across insurance companies. That being said, some insurers offering NFIP policies offer better customer service, technology, and other perks. Top insurers include GEICO, Assurant, and USAA.

Should renters buy flood insurance?

If you’re a renter and live in a high- or moderate-risk flood zone, you should purchase flood coverage. The good news is that flood insurance is much less expensive for renters. That’s because renters only need to insure their personal belongings (contents coverage), which are less expensive to replace than structures. All rules and exclusions for homeowners flood insurance apply to renters flood insurance. 

Can business owners buy flood insurance?

Yes. Business owners can buy flood insurance for their commercial property. The NFIP limits for commercial properties are higher: $500,000 for building coverage and $100,000 for contents coverage. 

How to Save on Flood Insurance in Tampa

Though flood insurance can be expensive, policyholders can still find ways to lower your costs. These include:

  • Participating in discount programs
  • Raising the deductible
  • Elevating basement appliances and systems
  • Installing flood-resistant systems
  • Moving personal belongings from the basement to higher areas
  • Comparing flood insurance quotes

Insurify can help with that last one. Our home insurance comparison tool allows you to compare homeowners insurance with flood coverage from top providers in your area. Our tool is confidential and free to use. Still have questions? Speak to one of our qualified insurance agents.

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Updated August 24, 2021

J.J. Starr is a health and finance copywriter who enjoys helping readers find the information they need. In addition to her background in banking and financial advising, she is also a poet with an MFA from New York University. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. You can learn more at jjstarrwrites.com.