Flood insurance in North Carolina
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Flood insurance in North Carolina

May 17, 2023
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In North Carolina, flooding is quite common during hurricane season. Residents face a high risk of property damage, but standard homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Separate flood insurance is required to protect oneself economically against flooding.

Adding flood insurance is relatively affordable in North Carolina, but the total cost varies from one insurance company to another and depends on several factors, including geographic location. North Carolina citizens can purchase private flood insurance from an insurance company, but also through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Why do North Carolina homeowners need flood insurance?

In 2022, the hurricane season lasted longer than usual, with Hurricanes Ian and Nicole causing severe storms and flooding in late September and early November. But the Atlantic coast is not the only area in North Carolina at risk of flooding.

Flooding, often severe, affects all regions of North Carolina, with the state's central regions particularly susceptible. Statewide, 86 flash flood warnings were issued in 2022 and more severe storm warnings were issued than in any other year since 2012.

Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover flood damage, so many experts recommend purchasing a separate flood policy. NFIP policies cover up to $250,000 for residential building damage and up to $100,000 for contents (building and contents coverage must be purchased separately). It is also possible to purchase private flood insurance, which may offer higher limits and other benefits, such as replacement cost protection for contents and structures and coverage for loss of use, but is likely to be more expensive.

Cost of flood insurance in North Carolina.

According to FEMA, NFIP claims in 2019 averaged $52,000 per claim nationwide. In the same year, homeowners paid an average flood insurance premium of about $700. FEMA determines flood insurance costs based on its Risk Assessment System 2.0. Factors that influence the cost of flood insurance include.

  • The age and structure of the property
  • The flood zone in which the property is located
  • The location and elevation of the property and its utility structures
  • The type of coverage, i.e., coverage of the building, contents, or both
  • the deductible levels.

Private insurers may consider different factors or weight the criteria differently. To get an accurate estimate of flood insurance premiums, experts recommend getting a quote from a flood insurance provider or contacting a licensed insurance agent in your area.

When to buy flood insurance

If you live in an area at moderate or high risk of flooding, purchasing flood insurance in advance can be an important financial protocol. You can determine the flood risk of your property by using the North Carolina Flood Hazard Information System's flood zone mapping tool. In general, it is worth considering flood insurance if you live in a high-risk county, including Wake, Guilford and Watauga counties, as well as areas along the coast.

In most cases, you cannot file a claim with the NFIP within 30 days of purchasing the policy, so purchasing a policy during a storm may not provide timely coverage. However, the NFIP waives the 30-day waiting period in certain circumstances, for example

  • when the policy is purchased in conjunction with a mortgage or mortgage refinance
  • when coverage is changed upon renewal of an existing flood insurance policy
  • when flood damage is caused by fire or flooding of an adjacent federal property.

When you purchase a home or commercial property within 13 months of the date the property was deemed a high risk of flooding, the NFIP reduces the waiting period to one day.

How do I purchase flood insurance in North Carolina?

If you already have commercial, home or renters insurance, you can ask your agent if the insurer offers private flood insurance or NFIP policies. You can also find insurers participating in the NFIP program by using the provider search tool on FEMA's website. If you are buying a new home, you can purchase a flood insurance policy at the time of signing.

Frequently asked questions.

Does my policy cover flood damage?

No, flood damage is not covered by regular homeowners or renters insurance. For flood damage to be covered, you must purchase flood insurance separately from a private insurer or the National Flood Insurance Program.

How do I know if my home in North Carolina is at risk of flooding?

To find out if your property is at risk of flooding, visit the North Carolina Flood Risk Information System website and enter your address. The system will provide you with your flood zone, risk information, and estimates of monthly and annual flood insurance premiums.

How much does flood insurance cost in North Carolina?

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Flood Insurance Program policies cost an average of $700 per year in 2019. But the cost of flood insurance can depend on several factors, including flood zone, age and structure of the house, etc.

Where can I buy flood insurance?

To find insurers that sell National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies, you can use the Provider Finder on the Federal Emergency Management Agency website. Most major insurers offer NFIP policies that can be purchased from them. You can also purchase private flood insurance from several insurers. Experts recommend contacting an insurance professional for assistance.

Destiny Richardson
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Destiny Richardson
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Destiny Richardson is a seasoned professional with 10+ years of global experience in the field of Investment Banking, Mergers and Acquisitions, and CFO. My area of expertise is Finance, Financial modelling, Fundraising, Investment Thesis, Mergers & Acquisitions, Market Research & Strategy work for startups as well as mid size companies. Destiny Richardson is a qualified Chartered Accountant (equivalent to CPA) and a graduate in commerce also hold Masters degree - MBA from leading universities in Asia / Europe. Due to my nature of work and love for travelling, I have been to more than 20+ countries.