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Florence’s Biggest Lesson: Don’t Gamble on Flood Insurance

Hurricane Florence dumped a record 24 inches of rain on North Carolina, surpassing 1999’s Hurricane Floyd for the most rainfall ever delivered by a single storm. Yet, for all the lessons we learned from Hurricane Floyd, there was one we didn’t learn well enough: not having flood insurance is a risk we can no longer afford to take.

An uptick in the number of flood insurance policies after Floyd was short lived. Today, only 134,000 North Carolina homeowners have flood insurance in a state of 10 million residents. South Carolina is doing only slightly better. Why is that? Misinformation is the primary culprit.

Many people still mistakenly believe that, because they don’t live in a flood plain, they cannot buy flood insurance. That hasn’t been the case in over a generation, but the misinformation lingers, and while it does, more than 50 percent of the flood claims made annually are filed by homeowners living outside of designated flood plains.

The fact is, homeowners don’t purchase flood insurance because they aren’t required to by law. And let’s face it, the $380 average annual premium is a cost many of us would prefer to save. But the risks are simply too great to keep saying no to flood insurance.

Here are the facts on flood:

  1. Flood damage is not covered by a typical homeowner’s policy.
  2. You are only required to purchase flood coverage if your home is located in a high-risk area and you have a federally backed mortgage.
  3. Should you purchase flood insurance if you do not live in a high-risk area? Yes. Sentinel recommends flood coverage to all our clients.
  4. Flood insurance can cover your home, personal belongings, or both. That’s up to you and your risk manager.
  5. There are a few things that are not covered by flood, including: vehicles, currency and paper money, mold that is the result of poor home maintenance, and outdoor property such as pools, hot tubs, etc.
  6. Flood coverage is priced to sell, and that is intentional. Premiums range from around $250-$500 per year.  That’s cost effective, considering that just one inch of standing water in your home is likely to result in $20,000 or more in repair costs.

For more information on the federal flood insurance program, click here: https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program

For questions about flood coverage for your home, and to get a free quote, contact Mary Kunkle at 336.842.4804, mkunkle@sentinelra.com