Natural Disaster Insurance


Insurers have responded to recent natural disasters by raising insurance rates or declining to write policies. NAR supports the development of a federal natural disaster policy that promotes the availability and affordability of property insurance nationwide and provides for pre-disaster mitigation as well as post-disaster assistance.

Without federal involvement, affordable property insurance will continue not to be available in many parts of the U.S. to protect against the next mega-catastrophe caused by a hurricane, earthquake, or other Act of God. Without insurance, it is the taxpayer -- not the property owner -- that pays when Congress reacts to the latest disaster by providing millions of dollars in financial disaster assistance to rebuild under-insured properties and communities.

Political Advocacy

Current Legislation/Regulation

None at this time.


Letters to Congress
Congressional testimonies
Letters to federal agencies
Issue summary
NAR Federal Issues Tracker

Legislative Contact(s):

Austin Perez,

Ken Wingert,

Regulatory Contact(s):

Austin Perez,

Russell Riggs,

What is the fundamental issue?

Insurers have historically responded to natural disasters by raising insurance rates, reducing coverage, and/or declining to write new or renewal policies. NAR supports the development of forward-looking U.S. policies that improve access to affordable property insurance and strengthen or mitigate properties against future disasters.

I am a real estate professional. What does this mean for my business?

Without federal involvement, many property owners may not have access to affordable property insurance for the next natural catastrophe. Without insurance, it is the taxpayer who pays when Congress spends hundreds of millions of dollars on supplemental disaster aid to under-insured property owners and communities. At the same time, the average homeowner receives just $5,000 in aid for property repairs and a low-interest loan that must be repaid along with the mortgage.

NAR Policy:

NAR supports establishing national disaster policies that promote the availability and affordability of property insurance and shift the emphasis from post-disaster relief to pre-disaster mitigation. That way, more property owners will be insured and as a result, fewer will turn to the federal government for taxpayer-funded assistance after the next natural disaster.

Legislative/Regulatory Status/Outlook

NAR has adopted a multi-bill strategy to advance the natural disaster policy debate, including legislation that:

  1. Protects property owners by ensuring that comprehensive and transparent insurance coverage for catastrophic events is available and affordable across the United States;
  2. Acknowledges the importance of personal responsibility and smart land use decisions while providing adequate incentives to undertake appropriate measures to mitigate risk; and
  3. Recognizes the state's role in regulating property insurance markets and the federal government's in addressing mega-catastrophes as well as critical infrastructure such as federal levees and dams.

In previous congresses, NAR has supported a range of legislative approaches including:

  • Offering federal reinsurance or loan guarantees for qualified states as alternatives to a volatile global market that offers reinsurance at rates many times the expected annual loss; and
  • Clarifying insurance coverage under the NFIP where there is wind as well as flood damage.

Legislation has yet to be introduced in the 115th Congress. NAR will continue to raise the profile of the issue and support adoption of forward-looking disaster policies.

NAR Committee:

Insurance Committee


We've already done the research for you.

Before you search elsewhere, take advantage of the research we've already done for you. Formerly known as Field Guides, References tabs contain links to external articles, titles from the NAR Library eBooks collection, websites, statistics, and other material to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives on each topic. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require a password.

Disaster Insurance Coverage

While the exact coverage will vary from policy-to-policy, the following list should give you a good idea of the types of natural "disasters" that a standard policy covers:

  • Fire / Lightning
  • Windstorms / Hail
  • Freezing of Plumbing / Pipes
  • Damage from Weight of Ice
  • Volcanic Eruptions (with exceptions)

Source: Disaster Insurance, (Money-Zine Blog, 2010). 

Information From NAR

Transaction Guidance After Natural Disaster, (National Association of REALTORS®, Aug. 30, 2017).

Private Flood Insurance Regulation, (National Association of REALTORS®, Jan. 12, 2017).

Flood Insurance Program Renewal a Top Priority for NAR, (REALTOR® Magazine, Nov. 9, 2016).

Skipping Flood Protection a “Really Big Mistake,” Says Experts, (National Association of REALTORS®, Nov. 7, 2016).

Is Your Building Ready for a Crisis?, (REALTOR® Magazine, Sept. 2016).

How to Talk About Flood Insurance: Talking Points (National Association of REALTORS®, Sept. 2016)

5 Tips to Prevent a Flooded Basement, (REALTOR® Magazine, Aug. 10, 2016).

Private Flood Insurance Update, (National Association of REALTORS®, Mar. 3, 2016).

Flood Insurance Developments, (National Association of REALTORS®, Jan. 14, 2016).

Selected NAR Research on Natural Disasters

12 Things to Plan for Now, (REALTOR® Magazine, Feb. 19, 2015).

Keep water at bay, (REALTOR® Magazine, Mar. 2014).

After the storm, (REALTOR® Magazine, Mar. 2014).

Rebuilding after a tornado: A home owner’s story, (REALTOR® Magazine, Apr. 2014).

Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012: Section by Section Highlights (Nov. 7, 2012)

Floods and Flooding Topic Page

Natural Disaster Insurance Topic Page

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

Disaster Insurance Basics

Does Your Company Have Enough Disaster Insurance?, (Poms & Associates Blog, Dec. 21, 2016).

Here’s What You Need to Know About Flood Insurance, (Money, Oct. 12, 2016).

7 Natural Disasters that can Destroy Your Home – Are You Covered?, (®, Oct. 3, 2016).

Basic Facts about the National Flood Insurance Progam, (FEMA, Sept. 19, 2016).

Why You Should Consider Buying Flood Insurance, (Consumer Reports, May 3, 2016).

House Committee Passes Private Flood Insurance Bill, (Insurance Journal, Mar. 2, 2016).

Don’t let the flood maps soak your buyers, (Realty Times, Feb. 5, 2016).

Homeowners insurance add-ons to protect your home against extreme weather conditions, (Realty Times, Jan. 16, 2016).

Flood Insurance: 5 Things You Need to Know When the Water Hits, (NBC News, Oct. 6, 2015).

A Disaster Damaged Your Home? How to File a Successful Insurance Claim, (U. S. News & World Report: Money, Aug. 2, 2015).

Find the Best Flood Insurance to Prepare for the Unexpected, (Nerdwallet, July 24, 2015).

Insuring for Disaster, (The New York Times, May 4, 2015).

Home insurance: Are you really covered?, (Consumer Reports, Oct. 2013). E

The National Flood Insurance Program, (FEMA).

Settling Insurance Claims After a Disaster, (Insurance Information Institute).

Drying up 6 myths about flood insurance, (Bankrate, Jan. 10, 2015).

When Disaster Strikes, Insurance May Not Cut It, (Mint, June 28, 2013).

The Right Disaster Insurance for Your Region, (HouseLogic, June 20, 2013).

Insure Your Home Against Natural Disasters, (U.S. News Money, Nov. 2, 2012).

Do You Need Flood Insurance?

Flood Insurance: Do I Really Need It?, (Allstate, Sept. 2016).

You don't have to live in a 100-year floodplain to need flood insurance, (The Balance, Aug. 4, 2016).

Everything you need to know about flood insurance, (WiseBread, July 25, 2016).

Flood Insurance Misconceptions, (Farmers Insurance, 2016).

Ready for El Niño? Here’s what many homeowners don’t know about flood insurance, (LA Times, Jan. 12, 2016).

If you don’t have to buy flood insurance, should you?, (San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 10, 2015).

Why don’t Property Owners have Flood Insurance?, (Claims Magazine, Oct. 2015). E

Should You Have Flood Insurance?, (Forbes, May 28, 2015).

Do you need to have flood insurance, (Realty Times, Feb. 8, 2014).

What You Need to Know About Excess Flood Insurance, (HouseLogic, Aug. 22, 2013).

Big Flood Insurance Price Hikes Rescinded, (HouseLogic, Mar. 26, 2014).

Minnesota Flooding: Tips for Cleaning up a Wet Basement, (Twin Cities Pioneer Press, June 20, 2014).

The Cost of Flooding, (, n.d.).

Surprising Facts About Flood Insurance, (, June 19, 2013).

Defining Flood Risks, (, 2012).

Win for Home Owners: Congress Reauthorizes Flood Insurance for 5 Years, (HouseLogic, Jul. 2, 2012).

Map Service Center, (FEMA).

eBooks & Other Resources

The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Complete Book of Insurance (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Contingency Planning and Disaster Recovery (Adobe eReader)

Disaster Management and Preparedness (Adobe eReader)

How to Insure Your Home (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Leading People Through Disasters (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Services at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Before and after disaster strikes: developming an emergency procedures manual, (Chicago, IL: Institue of Real Estate Management, 2005). HC 62 In7bd

Disasters and democracy: The politics of extreme natural events, (Washington, DC: Island Press, 1999). HV 555 P53

Be alert, be aware, have a plan: the complete guide to protecting yourself, your home, your family, (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 2002). HV 7431 R19

Natural disasters and the supply of home insurance, (Atlanta, GA: Georgia State University—Center for Risk Management and Insurance Research, 2002). HG 9970 G29

Disaster preparedness: simple steps for business, (Chicago, IL: Crisp Publications, 1998). HF 5500 F87

Natural disaster protection legislation: a legislative analysis, (Boulder, CO: 1995). Pamphlet

Disaster insurance protection: public policy lessons, (New York, NY: Wiley-Interscience, 1978). HG 9970 K96

Disaster relief and rehabilitation in the United States: a research assessment, (Boulder, CO: 1975). HC 62 C71d

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