Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael brought widespread flooding to North Carolina, including Raleigh. Fortunately, nearly 2,000 flood insurance policies providing more than $500 million in coverage are currently in force in this city. Are you prepared with coverage in the event that disaster strikes? Flood insurance does not go into effect until 30 days after you purchase your policy, so do not wait until heavy rains are imminent to buy your coverage. Talk to an independent insurance agent in Raleigh for help obtaining a suitable, yet affordable, flood insurance policy.
What Is Raleigh Flood Insurance?
Standard products like homeowners insurance, renters insurance, and business insurance can go a long way toward covering your assets and protecting your finances. However, these policies do have some limitations. For example, they do not cover against flood damage. That is why, in 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This program is designed to shield property owners from massive financial losses due to floods. It enables individuals and business owners to cover their property with affordable flood insurance policies that are backed by the federal government.
Of course, FEMA can help too, but this assistance is available only if the flood area is declared a federal disaster, and the help comes only in the form of guaranteed low-interest loans that must be paid back. Flood insurance provides cost-effective coverage so that you do not need to take out large loans in order to rebuild and replace your belongings.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost in Raleigh, NC?
The average amount paid for flood insurance in the US is about $700 a year. In Raleigh, where many properties are located in high-risk areas, the average cost is $944 a year. Fortunately, filing a claim will not cause your rates to increase, and you cannot be turned down for coverage if your property is located in a high-risk flood zone. Flood insurance costs are based on:
- Whether your property is located in a FEMA-designated high-risk, medium-risk, or low-risk area: Property owners in low-risk areas can obtain Preferred Risk policies at significantly lower rates.
- The amount of coverage you are purchasing: You can decide how much structural and how much contents coverage you wish to include in your policy, up to a designated limit.
- The amount of your deductible: As with all insurance products, the higher your deductible, the lower your cost.
Talk to an independent insurance agent to learn how much a flood insurance policy for your Raleigh home or business will cost you.
Average Rainfall and Flooding in Raleigh
The city of Raleigh sees significantly more rainfall than most US cities.
- US average annual rainfall: 38.61 inches
- Raleigh average annual rainfall: 46.58 inches
When tropical storms and hurricanes make landfall on the North Carolina coast, they often bring extremely heavy rainfall to the Raleigh area. This can saturate the ground and cause backups in drainage systems. Heavy rains can also cause water levels in bodies of water like Lake Lynn and Greshams Lake to rise. As a result, local waterways like Marsh Creek, Hare Snipe Creek, and Big Branch can overflow their banks and cause localized flooding.
Do I Need Flood Insurance in Raleigh, NC?
The city of Raleigh has 23 square miles of FEMA-designated floodplains. These areas can be found close to the three major rivers that run through this city: Crabtree Creek, Walnut Creek, and the Neuse River. Because Raleigh is a participant in the NFIP, this city must take steps toward reducing and minimizing the financial impacts of flooding. The city’s Stormwater Management Division manages Raleigh’s floodplain to ensure that it remains in compliance with NFIP regulations.
Mortgage companies require property owners in designated high-risk flood zones to carry flood insurance. Once you own your property outright, however, flood insurance is optional. This is not to say you should forgo coverage if it is not required. Between 20% and 25% of all flood insurance claims filed are for properties that are located in low-risk areas.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
Flood insurance can be purchased in two types: structural coverage and contents coverage. Depending on your circumstances, you can opt to purchase just one or both types of coverage.
- Structural coverage: This covers damage to your property’s foundation and structural equipment such as electrical systems, plumbing, water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners, built-in appliances, and permanently installed carpeting over unfinished floors. Homeowners can purchase a maximum of $250,000 in structural coverage, while businesses can purchase up to $500,000.
- Contents coverage: This covers personal belongings kept on main living floors such as furniture, electronics, clothing, portable appliances, and flooring. In basements, it covers only appliances such as your washing machine, dryer, and freezer. Homeowners can purchase a maximum of $100,000 in contents coverage, while businesses have a limit of $500,000.
Talk to your local insurance agent for help determining how much of each type of coverage is right for you.
What Is Not Covered by Flood Insurance?
Homeowners who have finished basements are often surprised to learn that, other than the appliances normally kept in this part of the home, personal property stored in basements is not covered by flood insurance. Additionally, flood insurance will not cover:
- Removal of mold, mildew, and moisture
- Temporary housing if a flood renders your home uninhabitable (this is usually covered by your home insurance)
- Loss of business income due to a temporary closure
- Structural damage caused by earth movement like landslides, even if it is the direct result of a flood
- Personal property that is kept outside, such as swing-sets, hot-tubs, and lawn furniture
- Currency and important documents
- Claims for damage that occurred within 30 days of your policy purchase
Talk to your local independent insurance agent to learn more about the limitations of a flood insurance policy.
Why Work with an Independent Agent in Raleigh, NC?
You can request the assistance of an independent agent in Raleigh when you are shopping for flood insurance. These insurance professionals live and work in your community, so they are familiar with the risks Raleigh residents face when it comes to floods and other natural disasters.
Contact an insurance agent near you to learn more about flood insurance.
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