RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolinians who have recently experienced the economic and personal disruptions of Hurricane Floyd and the 1999 floods may ease their anxiety about the next natural calamity by seeking coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Residents of more than 400, or 70%, of the state's communities are eligible to buy flood insurance, and more local governments are considering enrolling in the program as a consequence of the property destruction caused by Floyd.
Over 5,500 victims of the most recent disaster have already received $122.2 million in NFIP claims to rebuild and repair their property. The move toward recovery would have been slower for many if they had recourse only to home loans or individual and family grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Flood insurance is available to anyone in any community which participates in NFIP. Those communities must agree to enact and enforce floodplain ordinances which restrict and limit growth in flood-prone areas. But it is not necessary to live in the floodplain to purchase the insurance.
Flood insurance is not expensive, costing approximately $300 for every $100,000 of coverage depending on the hazard area; and it may be purchased through a person's regular insurance agent.
Federal Coordinating Officer Carlos Mitchell encourages homeowners and renters to buy flood insurance. "Insurance provides a real safety net for all natural disasters, large and small," he said. "If you suffer flood damages, you won't have to wait for the President to declare your county a disaster area, and you won't need to be dependent on federal/state assistance programs. You merely file your insurance claim and get on with your recovery."
People living in North Carolina's 66 disaster-declared counties, whether they have flood insurance or not, still have until February 17 to register for disaster assistance. Call FEMA's recovery Hotline at 1-800-462-9029 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.