Extreme Floods

Extreme floods in the US over the last decade have left countless people homeless — with only 10% covered by flood insurance. Choose NOT to be one of them.

You just can't ignore the extreme rainfall amounts, the scenes of rushing water and the homes and businesses destroyed by flooding without thinking: "Am I at risk? Are my savings enough or should I buy flood insurance?" Our risk of flooding is changing as both the intensity and frequency of storms reach dangerous levels. For the safety of your family and your financial security, re-consider buying flood insurance.

Extreme rainfall and high water levels are resulting in historic floods.

The severity and frequency of extreme rainfall are both increasing due to the reality of warmer oceans, greater humidity in the atmosphere and overwhelmed, aging drainage systems. "Increased moisture in the air and unusually heavy rainfall are classic signals of climate change. As the world warms, storms are able to feed on warmer ocean waters, and the air is able to hold and dump more water. These trends have led to a pronounced increase in intense rainfall events and an increase in flooding risk.

The old excuses — It doesn't flood here, It hasn't flooded in 40 years, The flood map says low risk — no longer apply. Have you based your decision to purchase flood insurance on the urban myths of past floods? Understandable, but wrong. Have you heard folks, after an extreme flood, say "we now have 100 years before the next flood"? Also, wrong. Statistics for extreme storms "make major assumptions that the climate of the past is the same as the climate of today — that's no longer a very good assumption."

Protect your family, re-think the flooding myths and measurement of the past and recognize the changes we see in our weather patterns could put your family at risk. Katharine Hayhoe, a climate researcher at Texas Tech University, told The Washington Post. "We buy a house outside the 100-year flood zone, believing that means we're safe; we expect our storm sewer drains and our levees to protect us from all but the rarest extremes. We fail, however, to account for how these extremes are rapidly becoming more frequent in a changing climate."

Wherever it rains, it can flood. Be realistic and responsible about your actual flood risk. Count on the weather to be unpredictable — and increasingly more extreme.

  • Only you know your financial capacity to recover from a flood, without insurance.
  • Only you can decide if paying the average $700 annual premium makes more sense than struggling to cover $37,000 in flood repairs without insurance.
  • Only you know if your small business could reopen after being wiped out after flood.
  • Only you know if the 20% risk in the low risk flood zone is an acceptable gamble to your family. Learn how flood insurance works.
  • Only you know how you will manage an "extreme" flood event if it comes to your home.


Some mortgages require homeowners to have flood insurance coverage, which is not typically included in a regular homeowner policy. However, not all mortgages require this coverage, leaving many wondering if they really need the coverage, and how to justify the extra expense.


  • Your home can flood, even if it is not in a high-risk flood zone. In fact, according to FEMA, more than 20% of flood claims come from outside that zone. Any area that experiences rainfall, can experience flood conditions.
  • Floods cause millions of dollars in damage each year and are our nation's most common and costly natural disaster.
  • Just one inch of water in your home can cost more than $25,000 in damages. The average claim for flood damage is $39,000, according to the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Flooding can be caused by things many homeowners never think of like snowmelt, heavy storms, dams or levees breaking and new construction or developments in an area changing the flow of water above and below ground.


Flood insurance is affordable and offers peace of mind for homeowners. AFI's licensed agents can work with you to determine the proper flood coverage to protect you and your home. For more information, call an AFI agent toll-free at 800-495-8232 or get a quote online.