RALEIGH, N.C. -- While disaster recovery assistance programs are important in helping flood survivors get back on their feet, there is no substitute for the broad-ranging benefits of flood insurance, available to nearly every homeowner, renter and business in North Carolina.
Regardless of whether people live in a designated Special Flood Hazard Area or outside such an area, they can purchase flood insurance if their community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. The vast majority of North Carolina's communities and 94 of 100 North Carolina counties participate in the program. An average flood insurance policy for a home in a flood hazard area costs about $375 a year for $100,000 in coverage. Policies cost much less outside the special flood hazard areas - sometimes as little as about $100 per year.
"The cost of flood insurance offers peace of mind at a very low price considering the catastrophe floods can cause," said Eric Tolbert, director of North Carolina's Emergency Management Division. "And people need to realize that most people in North Carolina can get the coverage very easily, as long as their community participates in the program."
People wanting more information on flood insurance should call their insurance agent or call the National Flood Insurance Program toll free at 1-800-427-4661 (TTY 1-800-427-5593).
Here are a few things people should keep in mind as they consider flood insurance:
- During the life of a 30-year mortgage, there is a one percent chance your house will be damaged by fire; there is a 26 percent chance that your house will be flooded if it is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area.
- Federal disaster assistance for flood victims is available only if the President declares a disaster. In those cases, the average disaster recovery grant is about $2,500. But more than 90 percent of all disasters in the United States are not presidentially declared. And flood insurance, which can cover the structure and the structure's contents, pays whether the disaster is presidentially declared or not.
- Flood damage does not occur only in high-risk flood zones. About 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from low- to moderate-risk areas. The flooding following Hurricane Floyd has largely been outside of high-risk flood areas.
- Owners of manufactured homes are often required to purchase private flood insurance that only protects their lender's interest in the property. Those policies usually pay off only the remaining principal on the loan after a flood. But owners of those homes can buy flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program for the full value of that home and its contents.