With Irma in sight, is now the right time to buy flood insurance?

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Hurricane Irma's future track is lurking, and Hurricane Matthew's past experience has people wondering - is now the time to buy flood insurance? (WTVD)

Hurricane Irma's future track is lurking, and Hurricane Matthew's past experience has people wondering - is now the time to buy flood insurance?

READ MORE: Powerful Cat 5 Hurricane Irma slams into Caribbean islands - where's it headed next?

Flood insurance policies are offered exclusively through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program that regulates where policies are offered and how much they will cost.

Under the auspices of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NFIP policies are available to 94 percent of all cities and towns in North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Fayetteville.

LINK: Can I buy flood insurance if I live in this NC city/town?

Because there's a 30-day waiting period before any policy takes effect, new plans would not protect homeowners or renters from Hurricane Irma, but emergency managers are still promoting flood insurance as a way to mitigate the risks of future hurricanes, which could threaten North Carolina until Thanksgiving.

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According to FEMA, flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States, and as many as 20 percent of all flood claims have occurred outside of designated "high-risk flood zones." That means flooding is possible even if you don't live in a flood plain, near a river, or on a coast.

READ MORE: Curious whether your house could flood? Check this out

Data sets from past flooding claims show an average cost of $27,000 in damage caused by just one inch of water in a 2,500 square foot home and up to $87,000 for damage from a foot of water.

FACT SHEET: What is covered in a flood insurance plan?

Federal records show just 133,033 flood insurance policies were purchased last year in North Carolina - a mere 3.5 percent of all households, according to Census data.

For more information about federal flood insurance, contact the National Flood Insurance Program at 888-379-9531 or visit their website.

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weathersevere weatherhurricane irmafloodingwtvdocinsuranceraleigh newsRaleigh
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