How and Where to Get Flood Insurance In the Carolinas and Save Money
…Without Taking Out Another Mortgage
Since the disaster of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans the nation has taken a long hard look at the insurance industry, with sweeping changes for consumers, especially those living in coastal areas.
From Florida to Long Island, insurance companies have raised their rates drastically, or even refusing to cover people.
Some insurance companies have even stopped writing insurance in some of the coastal states and pulled out all together.
Thankfully states like North Carolina and South Carolina have taken steps to protect their coastal areas and the people who live there.
In addition, the Federal Government has also stepped in to help alleviate the troubles caused by flooding, which happens to be 26 times more likely than fire, according to the Federal Insurance Administration.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has identified over 19,000 communities nationwide which are susceptible to flooding. For those residents, FEMA has established the National Flood Insurance Program.
North Carolina has 486 participating areas, and South Carolina has 205 areas. The numbers include both towns and counties, so if your best place to live is along the coast, there is a good chance your area is covered.
Please listen very carefully…if your best place to relocate or retire is along the North Carolina or South Carolina coastline….or better yet any coastline, please educate yourself.
Don't just click off this article as if you don't need to know the information. You need to know all aspects of what it means to live along the coast. It will effect your money. It will effect your lifestyle.
I am assuming one of the reasons you have chosen North Carolina or South Carolina for your best place is affordability. Insurance and where you choose to live in the Carolinas will effect the affordability.
The National Flood Insurance Program covers residences, commercial properties, and renters. The insurance isn’t prohibitively expensive, especially considering what you can loose.
Premiums average around $400 per year for residences and provide coverage for up to $250,000 of structural damage, and $100,000 of personal property.
Renters are able to cover up to $100,000 of personal property.
Commercial property premiums are slightly higher, and provide coverage of up to $500,000 combined for structural and property damage.
Once you have decided the area that is your best place, the first step in educating yourself.
Flood insurance – visit www.floodsmart.gov, which is the National Flood Insurance Program’s website
- Typically deductibles for policies run from $500 to $1,000. These are standard deductibles, and do not change from company to company.
- The National Flood Insurance Program’s limit of $250,000 for structural damage and $100,000 for personal property has led many people to opt for additional insurance from private companies.
- Remember, the bank is still going to expect its mortgage payments, even if your home is destroyed.
- The American International Group allows policyholders to insure their property for up to its full value, and premiums start at around $1,200 for $1 million in coverage and increase from there, as you increase your coverage limit. Rates vary, so check at www.aig.com.
- Also, using www.floodsmart.gov, you can enter your address to first check your flood danger, and then find local insurance companies in your area. It will pay off to speak with a few companies to find the best terms of service, premiums, and deductibles.
- Another point to keep in mind is that flood coverage does not cover damage caused by wind or hail.
- You’ll need a special rider or policy for wind and hail damage.
- If you are having trouble finding a private insurer, talk to your potential neighbors, realtor or call your state insurance department for recommendation.
- You can use the site www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm to find your state’s agency.
- Here is where checking with a few companies can make a difference in your premiums and coverage.
- Luckily, for residents of coastal North Carolina and coastal South Carolina, their states have supplemental plans that cover things such as hail, windstorms, vandalism, theft, and fire.
- Residents can participate in the FAIR Plan, which stands for Fair Access to Insurance Requirements.However, in order to participate in the FAIR Plan you have to make improvements to your home designed to mitigate the effects of such calamities
- .Efforts such as repairing your roof, using wind resistant materials, and increasing security measures all qualify.
- In South Carolina the FAIR Plan administration office number is 803-737-6180.
- The FAIR Plan offers up to $1,500,000 in coverage, and you can find information at the South Carolina Department of Insurance at www.doi.sc.gov, or the North Carolina Department of Insurance at www.ncdoi.com.
- You can also contact your local insurance agent for information regarding the FAIR Plan.
The thought of living along the coastline in the Carolinas, close to the beaches is very appealing and a long sought after best place to live.
Places like Beaufort, SC, Charleston, SC, Hilton Head, SC, and Myrtle Beach, SC and Wilmington, NC, Morehead City, NC, Oriental, NC, New Bern, NC are truly some of the best coastal places to relocate or retire however, you must take the proper precautions.
In many of these areas, you can’t even get a mortgage without buying a flood insurance policy.
Make sure your insurance covers all possible damage to your home and belongings.
Some policies do not cover fire, although your regular homeowner’s policy should, and some do not cover water damage from a burst pipe.
Make sure you read the fine print and get a combination of policies, so that you’ll be fully protected.
Buying insurance may seem expensive at first, but with the possibilities of hurricanes and tornadoes, you’ll have peace of mind which is priceless.
Remember the reasons why you have decided living along coastal North Carolina or South Carolina was your best place to live.
To find out if your community participates in the program, visit www.fema.gov/fema/csb.shtm.
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About Bob Bencivenga
|Bob Bencivenga is a professional site locator and location analyst for major corporations. Bob researches the growth of NC and SC to find the Best Places to Retire or Relocate that are still affordable.|
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