Hurricanes and tropical storms can cause torrential downpours in Winston-Salem. It takes just two inches of rain per hour to lead to flash flooding in this area of the country. Some homes and businesses in Winston-Salem are at risk for flood damage, such as was seen in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Fortunately, you can cover your property with a flood insurance policy. Flood insurance takes 30 days to go into effect, so do not wait until heavy rains are imminent to buy your coverage. An independent insurance agent in Winston-Salem can help you secure a suitable, yet affordable, flood insurance policy.
What Is Winston-Salem Flood Insurance?
In the 1950s and ‘60s, insurance companies found the cost of covering flood damage to be too high, and they stopped including it in standard policies like home, renters, and business insurance. This became a problem, since flood damage had the potential to send people into bankruptcy and could even wipe out entire neighborhoods, and there was nothing anyone could do to protect themselves financially.
That is why the US Congress passed the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. This created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which makes it possible for homeowners and businesses to protect their assets with federally backed flood insurance policies. Winston-Salem has been an NFIP participant city since 1968.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost in Winston-Salem, NC?
Rates for flood insurance coverage are based on a model that is standard across the United States. Costs can be influenced by:
- Whether your property is located in a high-risk, medium-risk, or low-risk area
- How much structural coverage you are purchasing
- How much contents coverage you are purchasing
- The amount of your deductible
To get a basic idea of how much a flood insurance policy costs, the average amount US residents pay for this coverage is about $700 a year. If your property is in a low-risk area, you may qualify for a Preferred Risk policy at significantly lower rates. Be aware that, unlike with other policies, filing a flood insurance claim will not cause your rates to increase. Also, because Winston-Salem is a participant in the NFIP, you cannot be turned down for coverage, even if your property is located in a high-risk flood zone.
Average Rainfall and Flooding in Winston-Salem
The city of Winston-Salem receives more rainfall than most of the United States.
- US average annual rainfall: 38.61 inches
- Winston-Salem average annual rainfall: 46.93 inches
This city’s annual rainfall makes for good tobacco farming, but even farms are at the mercy of the damaging effects of a flood. Rainfall in excess of two inches per hour can cause sewer lines to back up. Also, bodies of water, like Salem and Winston lakes, and area waterways, like the Yadkin River and Brushy Fork and Salem creeks, are likely to overflow their banks, leading to localized flooding. Flood damage is more likely in the wake of a tropical storm or hurricane.
Do I Need Flood Insurance in Winston-Salem, NC?
If your property is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area, as indicated by FEMA-drawn flood maps, your mortgage lender will require you to have flood insurance. More than 9,000 homes and businesses in Winston-Salem are situated in high-risk zones. If you live in a low- or moderate-risk area, your lender may or may not require this coverage. Once your property is paid in full, this coverage is optional, but highly recommended.
If your home or business is located outside the designated high-risk locations, that does not mean you have no need for a flood insurance policy. In fact, between and 20% and 25% of all flood insurance claims filed in North Carolina each year are for properties that are located in mid- to low-risk areas. A local independent insurance agent can help you review flood zone maps to determine your level of risk.
What Does Flood Insurance Cover?
Flood insurance is made up of two parts: structural coverage and contents coverage. You can opt to buy just one type or both and can choose your coverage levels for each, depending on your circumstances. If you are renting your home or business space, you will only need to purchase contents coverage, since your landlord will be responsible for covering the building itself.
- Structural coverage portion of flood insurance: Homeowners are able to purchase a maximum of $250,000 in structural coverage, while businesses have a limit of $500,000. This insurance covers damage to your property’s foundation as well as structural equipment, including electrical and plumbing systems, water heaters, furnaces, and built-in appliances.
- Contents coverage portion of flood insurance: Homeowners are able to purchase a maximum of $100,000 in contents coverage, while businesses have a limit of $500,000. This insurance covers personal belongings kept in above-ground floors as well as appliances normally found in a basement (e.g., washing machines, dryers, and freezers).
Talk to your local independent insurance agent for help determining how much of each type of coverage is right for you.
What Is Not Covered by Flood Insurance?
If your home has a finished basement, don’t expect to receive any compensation for the furniture, electronics, and personal property you keep in this space if it is damaged by a flood. The only basement-kept property that a flood insurance policy will cover is appliances, like your furnace, water heater, washing machine, and dryer, which are normally found in basements. Additionally, flood insurance will not cover:
- Mold and mildew remediation
- Damage caused by earth movement like mudslides
- Property outside your home including decks, fences, and landscaping
- Currency, important papers, and precious metals
- Damage that occurred within 30 days of your policy purchase
Talk to a local independent insurance agent for more information about the limitations of a flood insurance policy.
Why Work with an Independent Insurance Agent in Winston-Salem?
Independent agents in Winston-Salem live and work in your community, so they understand the risks you face due to floods and other hazards. These agents can provide you with assistance when you are shopping for the best and most affordable policies to cover your assets.
Contact an independent insurance agent in Winston-Salem to learn more about flood insurance as well as any other insurance products that may be beneficial to you.
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