Finding affordable flood insurance In Birmingham Alabama can feel like climbing a mountain. I know because I bought a house in a flood zone more than 12 years ago and was told my insurance premiums were going to be $3000 a year, thankfully I was able to get them below $400 a year. So for the last 12 years, I have been helping people find affordable flood insurance in Birmingham Alabama. 


Today we are going to look at the following things for affordable flood insurance in Birmingham Alabama

  • Where is flood insurance required?
  • What is the flood risk in Birmingham Alabama
  • What are the flood insurance options?
  • Do I need an Elevation Certificate
  • How do flood claims impact flood insurance rates in Birmingham Alabama

Where is Flood Insurance Required in Birmingham Alabama?

There are many different types of flood risks and flood zones in the Birmingham Alabama area. A flood risk in Pelham Alabama might be completely different from a flood risk in Hoover Alabama. 

The same goes for flood zones in the Birmingham Alabama area. You might have a high risk flood zone along the Cahaba River in Vestavia Hills and you might have a low-risk flood zone in the hills of Chelsea Alabama. So let's discuss the three main flood zones in the Birmingham Alabama area and what the flood zones actually mean.

It's important to remember that these flood zones are set by FEMA also known as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and traditionally these flood zones were used to help determine flood insurance rates.


Flood Zones In Birmingham Alabama

    Flood zone X is also known as the minimal risk flood zone or the non-special flood hazard area. These are areas where flood insurance traditionally had the cheapest flood insurance rate or flood insurance quote. These areas had what the National Flood Insurance Program called preferred ratings. It's important to remember if you have a mortgage that flood insurance is not generally going to be required in flood zone x If you have a mortgage, it is important to keep in mind that flood insurance is typically not mandatory in flood zone x.  since it is in the non-special flood hazard area. It is also important to remember as a homeowner or business owner that almost 30% of flood claims and flood damage do come out of flood zone x.

Flood zone a what is flood zone a Flood Zone A, also known as a Special Flood Hazard Area, refers to an area that is at high risk for flooding. These zones are designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) based on extensive floodplain studies and historical data. The primary factor used to determine flood zones is the Base Flood Elevation (BFE), which is the estimated height that floodwaters could reach during a major flood event. Flood Zone A specifically represents areas that have a 1% chance of experiencing a flood each year, commonly known as the 100-year flood plain. This means that there is a statistically high probability of flooding occurring within these zones over the course of a century. Such areas typically require residents to purchase flood insurance, adhere to stricter building codes, and implement additional flood mitigation measures. It is crucial for individuals living in or near Flood Zone A to stay informed about potential floods and take necessary precautions to protect life and property.  One of the big distinctions with many flood zone areas in the Birmingham Alabama area is that there is no base flood elevation because one has not been determined. If you have a mortgage on a property in the Birmingham Alabama area flood insurance is generally going to be required.

Examples of some areas of Birmingham that we see show up in flood zone A are parts of Centerpoint, Pelham, and Leeds.

flooding in Leeds alabama


Alrighty, folks! Now it's time to shift our focus to the last, but definitely not the least, flood zone on the block – flood zone AE. Trust me, this one's a doozy! So, what the heck is flood zone AE, you ask?

Well, my friend, it's basically a high-risk flood area that'll have you shaking in your boots! This zone is supposedly the crème de la crème of flood zones, known as the base flood elevation or the mighty 100-year flood plain. Yup, you heard it right – we're talking about a flood so gnarly, it's expected to happen only once every century (fingers crossed, right?). However do not let this annual chance of flooding fool you, flooding can happen in these areas at any time. If you are a homeowner on a property listed in flood zone ae then the mortgage will require you to have flood insurance.

This might sound scary but we are going to walk you through exactly how to protect yourself if you live in a flood zone

Birmingham Alabama Flood Risks

Birmingham Alabama has many different flood risks the flood event in October 2021 showed us that flooding can happen at any time. You had areas in Pelham and Alabaster that were flooded from Buckcreek and you had other areas in town that were flooded by normally dried-up creeks. These flood risks can change with rapid amounts of rainfall that can cause flash flooding in an area. It's important to understand that flood zones do not give the full picture of flood risk. If you want a free flood risk assessment click here to get it in less than 2 minutes. 

Things that may change a flood risk on a property are 

  • Elevation of the property
  • distance to water
  • Type of flooding exposure

Now let's get to why you are here and that is to get affordable flood insurance in the Birmingham area

Flood Insurance Options in Birmingham Alabama

Let's start with the National Flood Insurance Program. This is the government-backed flood insurance option also known as NFIP. This has been the preferred choice for Alabama flood insurance since the 1970's. Let's look at what flood coverages NFIP offers.

National Flood Insurance Program

NFIP policies offer basic coverage to protect your home and your business. Below are the coverages they provide on residential and commercial buildings. NFIP is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Residential Buildings

  • $250,000 of building coverage
  • $100,000 of contents coverage

Commercial Buildings

  • $500,000 of the structure of your commercial building

$500,000 of business contents coverage

Now that we know what coverages are available what about flood insurance rates? Traditionally NFIP used flood zones and many other factors to determine flood insurance rates. However, when Risk Rating 2.0 was released in 2021 the rating system with NFIP changed.


What does this exactly mean?

It means if you are in flood zone ae that the flood zone no longer impacts your National Flood Insurance Program flood insurance policy premium. So what determines your flood insurance rate as a policyholder?


The following things are just a few things NFIP uses to determine insurance rates in 2023

This means that if you have two buildings side by side and one is wood and one is brick you could see completely different rates. Even though the coverage amount might be the same the replacement cost is being used as a rating factor. This is especially important for the cost of flood insurance on commercial buildings in the city of Birmingham.

flooded brick house in birmingham al

So how much is flood insurance with the National Flood Insurance Program in Birmingham Alabama?

Flood insurance costs are going to be different for each structure but the average cost of flood insurance in Alabama we see is less than $1000 a year.

What about private flood insurance in Alabama?

Affordable Private Flood Insurance In Birmingham Alabama

Unlike the National Flood Insurance Program private flood insurance is through private insurance companies. Each one of these companies offers flood insurance in high-risk flood zones and low-risk flood zones.

Depending on your flood insurance needs private flood insurance might be a great choice if you are looking for more flood insurance coverage than the National Flood Insurance Program offers. We have also seen where private flood insurance could be up to 50% less than the National Flood Insurance Program.

Private flood insurance to protect your home can also give you lots of savings in flood insurance below are what flood insurance covers on residential and commercial buildings. It also exceeds the minimum NFIP requirements

Residential buildings

  • More than $250,000 on the structure of your home
  • More than $100,000 on contents
  • Additional living expenses

Commercial Buildings

  • More than $500,000 on buildings
  • More than $500,000 on business contents
  • Business interruption coverage

So if you are looking for flood insurance on a new home purchase will the bank accept private flood insurance?

As of December 21, 2022, most banks now accept private flood insurance and your loan type now has minimal impact on your flood insurance options.

It's important to remember, unlike NFIP where all rates are the same each private flood insurance company determines their own rates. This is why it is important to get flood insurance quotes from insurance agents or flood insurance agents that offer at least three different private flood insurance options. 

Do I need an Elevation Certificate?

Historically elevation certificates were needed sometimes to even get a flood insurance quote through NFIP. However, as technology has come along and with the development of the new risk rating 2.0 rating system they are no longer required. Does this mean they won't give you a cheaper flood insurance rate? Not at all they still help in many situations.

Some private flood insurance companies still require them the property is located in a high-risk zone and the structure was built after the first flood map. These structures are referred to as post-firm properties.


Impact of Flood Insurance Claims in the Birmingham Area

If you have ever had to file a homeowners insurance claim then you know that generally claims only stay on a property for about 5 years in most situations. If you've ever had the experience of submitting a claim for your homeowner's insurance, you're probably aware that, in most cases, claims tend to remain attached to a property for a period of approximately 5 years. 

city of birmingham al

However, flood insurance claims stay on a property forever even if you don't have flood insurance. This means that if a property has had a flood insurance claim or flood losses in the past it may not be eligible for private flood insurance through certain private flood insurance markets. Multiple claims during a 10-year period can also impact flood insurance rates with NFIP as part of their new rating system. 


These are all things to consider when you are trying to find the cheapest and best flood insurance in Birmingham Alabama. Obtaining flood insurance can feel stressful but hopefully, this guide helps it be a little less stressful for you. It is also important to remember homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Remember everyone needs flood insurance and you don't want to find out you didn't have flood insurance after a flood. Whether you decide to go with the cheapest flood insurance in Alabama or whatever flood insurance is available make sure to pick the best coverage offered. If you are ready to get a flood insurance quote or are trying to determine your need for flood insurance then its easy, three simple steps


Step 1: Click here to fill out form

Step 2: Connect with one  our flood risk advisors

Step3: Pick the best flood insurance policy 

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If you live in Alabama, flooding might not be new to you however these flood events still surprise homeowners across the state. So you might be wondering, how can I fight these flood risks that I face especially in Birmingham, Alabama in Jefferson County, and Shelby County.

Birmingham, Alabama Flood: One Year Later

In this article, we take a look back at how this flood event of October 2021 impacted flood insurance in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Birmingham Flood of October 5th

On October 2nd and 7th of 2021, Central Alabama was met with off-and-on heavy rains and storms. This is when around 6-10 inches of rain was dumped on the area causing widespread flooding. The Birmingham area alone received at least 4 inches of rainfall with central Birmingham receiving more than 6 inches of rainfall. This immediately led to flash flooding in the area.


The flooding caused a total of 66 emergency calls between October 6th and 7th which lead to 16 water rescues from flooded properties and stranded vehicles. Sadly, this flood event also caused a total of 4 fatalities in Marshall and Shelby Counties.

In less than 3 days, Central Alabama was easily ravaged by this flood event. So how did this flooding impact flood insurance for Alabama?

Birmingham, Alabama Flood: One Year Later

The Impacts of the Flood of October 2021

For those who have active flood insurance policies, regardless of whether it's from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or private flood insurance companies, this flood event meant filing flood claims. You might be wondering, how will these insurance claims ripple into the present day.

NFIP Risk Rating 2.0

First, let's discuss what this could mean for policyholders of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). When it comes to the NFIP especially considering that this flood event already was when Risk Rating 2.0 first went live. If you filed a flood claim and got payment from the NFIP due to this flood event, this could impact your flood insurance premium rates.

This is because Risk Rating 2.0 uses a claim variable wherein your previous flood claims will be forgiven. However, once you file a flood claim, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the NFIP Risk Rating 2.0 will do a 20-year lookback. This means that you will be rated on how many claims you have made in the last 20 years and it gets included in the calculation of your flood insurance premium upon renewal.

Birmingham, Alabama Flood: One Year Later

Private Flood

On the other hand, a private flood might also present some unpleasant situations upon filing a flood insurance claim. Some flood insurance carriers might stop providing to your community or also known as moratoriums. Equally, if moratoriums won't happen in a specific community, policyholders might find it difficult to renew their flood insurance policy

This also means that if you get to renew your flood policy, you might see an increase in your flood insurance rates.

You may be asking, does paying off my mortgage lower the cost of flood insurance for me?

Birmingham, Alabama Flood: One Year Later

Mortgage & Flood Insurance

Sad to say, paying off your mortgage will not really impact the cost of flood insurance for you. This means that you won't see any decrease in flood insurance costs. Regardless if it's an annual or monthly mortgage payment, it won't really have any influence on your flood insurance rates.

This will, however, impact flood insurance requirements. Keep in mind that even if you're in a low-risk flood zone, your mortgage or lender may require you to buy a flood policy for the property. This is especially true for properties that sit in high-risk areas. High-risk flood areas include properties that are mapped into Flood Zone A, Flood Zone AE, or the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't buy flood insurance even if you're in a low-risk area or flood zone like Flood Zone X. Remember, 30% of flood insurance claims from these zones. 

If you want to know your flood insurance options, how to handle your flood insurance in Birmingham, or anything related to floods, click below to go to our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer these questions for you.


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Facts can be Stranger than Fiction.

When scrolling through your Facebook feeds, you'll stumble upon an unexpected mind-blowing video. Do you know those stories that could make you do google fact check if the story is true?

Check out, for example, what happened today in Alabama's weather. We expect the winter season to close and welcome the blooming spring flowers and… BOOM! We get a deluge caused by heavy rainfall to sink everything around.

Alabama's Shocking Weather Today 

At the time of writing, many residents across multiple counties in the State of Alabama are being bombarded with heavy rainfall due to severe storms. There were numerous areas of heavy rain and storms on First Alert AccuTrack moving in all sorts of directions. We expected this prior when we focused on the potential flood events last month.

These types of storms have also been known to produce hail, which was of the size of a pea from the report. But don't underestimate them, considering it can hit like that of one of those used in paintballs which could definitely cause minor damage to your property. 

Flood Insurance for Alabama Storms: Are You Covered for This?

Alabama News even called this weekend a "severe risk Friday" due to the amount of rain expected due to the upper-level lows and cold fronts moving from Central Alabama to the Southeast.

Although these conditions are expected to end by next week, one should expect moderate to heavy rain until Thursday. The impacts of these severe thunderstorms are already felt across Jefferson County and Shelby County 

From this scenario, the whole central area of the state will obviously be exposed to heavy flooding. Just this afternoon, as the hail falls in multiple counties, a woman in Birmingham was rescued from her car, which was stuck on knee-deep high water. 

Flood Insurance for Alabama Storms: Are You Covered for This?

Don't worry, the lady is unscathed and in good condition. Sadly, we can't say the same for her car and dozens of vehicles that drove off the same road and those left in the parking area. 

This begs the question: Does flood insurance cover vehicles damaged by floodwater? 

Flood Insurance and Vehicles 

Today, Highway 31 in Alabama was inundated by flood. The local government of Jefferson and Shelby counties issued a flash flood warning until 5:30 PM. That is to save everyone from getting stranded at that same time, minimize the risk of vehicular damage. 

When it comes to flooding, vehicles are more susceptible to getting the bulk of the damage than homes. Why? For one, numerous vehicles get driven into flooded areas which causes a lot of problems safety-wise and insurance-wise.

When a car gets flooded, it is vulnerable to various problems, beginning with mold. Rust can form on body panels and other components. Water can cause engine harm. Then there's the electrical circuitry that controls everything from power windows to a car's safety and entertainment systems. They might fail intermittently or entirely.

Flood Insurance for Alabama Storms: Are You Covered for This?

Believe me, I worked as a branch manager for Enterprise Car Rental in Alabama and I saw how the southeast easily gets flooded. This is especially noticeable in Avondale and near the University of Alabama in Birmingham. This happens even with the smallest amount of rain and I've seen its severe damages to the vehicles.

— So, does having flood insurance also cover your vehicle?  

No. When it comes to vehicle coverage, no flood insurance policy will cover the damages that your truck, car, or minivan gets due to flooding. Even when you get extended coverage with your flood policy, vehicles won't be covered.

This is because flood insurance only covers your dwelling or the property building and its contents. The only time your vehicle will be covered due to flood damage is if you have that comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy.

Regardless of this exclusion in your flood insurance policy, it's always essential to ensure that there's a flood policy ready to protect you from flood loss.

Flood Insurance for Alabama Storms: Are You Covered for This?

Do Flood Zones Still Matter in Alabama?

That's another question that we need to ask about the current erratic weather conditions and the flooding we're seeing across cities in Alabama. Specifically, do flood zones still matter, especially with all these flash floodings? 

Not anymore. 

As you know, flood zones rating is no longer carried by either the federal or private flood insurance carriers. These ratings, which are a basis of risk a location could have when severe rain happens is, omitted and now do not impact the homeowner's premium rate.  

— Is it sound advice then not to get flood insurance just because of flood zone changes?

When you consider Alabama's current weather state and flooding occurrences, I believe we will both agree that regardless of a flood zone, one can never be too sure about the damages one can get because of these heavy rainfalls.

Do you know that Alabama is experiencing an enhanced risk for flooding in the last 2 - 3 years compared to the previous 10 - 15 years?

Be not like the property owners who moved into a low-risk flood zone and forgo carrying flood insurance for their properties and end up incurring large losses.

They may save money in the short run compared to those properties in the high-risk zones like Flood Zone A or AE, which are required to carry flood insurance. But that could be an expensive mistake, especially if situated in Alabama.

Nowadays, it's easy to conclude that you still have a big chance of getting flooded regardless of your flood zone. Would you risk losing thousands of dollars in flood just to save a few bucks from not getting flood insurance now?

We believe that you'd say no. So, let's talk about your flood insurance options in Alabama. Watch this video so you could too understand how to buy flood insurance in Alabama and your options.

We hope that everyone in Alabama is safe and sound despite having this type of weather condition. Flooding, hail, rainfall, and storms like this are no joke. So be safe as well. Don't drive into flooded roads. Make sure to be aware of where an area is flooded and protect yourself with flood insurance.

If you have any questions, click below to go to our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer all your flood insurance questions. Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand flood risks, your flood insurance, and protecting the value of your property long-term.

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