Fewer than 10% in NC have flood insurance despite high risk of flooding

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hurricane season is here and you need to ask yourself are you protected? Even if you're not in a flood zone, your home could be flooded and unless you have a separate flood insurance policy, you're typically not covered.

A typical homeowner's or renter's policy does not cover flooding, you need a separate flood policy. One option is the Federal Flood Insurance Program through FEMA, but you're limited to $250,000 coverage on your dwelling and then $100,000 coverage for contents. Despite that option, many aren't buying the extra protection.

"There's less than 10% of the population in North Carolina covered under a flood insurance policy. We are the seventh-ranked, the seventh state in the country as far as flood events. The majority of those not being on the coast but rather being inland flood events in the piedmont area so there's definitely the risk, a very high risk of flooding in North Carolina just due to the nature of our coastline and our Piedmont area and the number of storms we get up in this part of the country every year," Joanna Biliouris the Chief Operating Officer at the NC Rate Bureau said.

With the high risk, Biliouris said the NC Rate Bureau worked with the NC Insurance Commissioner's office to offer homeowners another option which is private flood insurance, which has no limits on the amount of coverage, plus is more comprehensive than the federal flood insurance. The problem right now is that no insurance companies have started offering private flood insurance just yet.

"We do have many companies who have expressed interest and are researching, you know, the various forms and the rating that comes with it, so I know that it is being evaluated now," she said.

What you can do right now is easily check your risk is to go online to the North Carolina Flood Risk Information System. You just type in your address and it shows the risk level for your location. You can even see an estimate of how much you'll pay for flood insurance.

"They can tell on your property, which corners of your yard may be in a flood-prone area," NC Commissioner of Insurance Mike Causey said.

Causey said the key right now is talking with your insurance agent to make sure you have the proper coverage.

"Make sure that you have replacement coverage, because if you don't if you have a claim you're going to be very disappointed in what you get because that piece of furniture that you bought has depreciation," Causey said.

Another important factor to remember is don't wait to buy flood insurance when you hear about a hurricane.

"If you called today and signed up for federal flood insurance, it'd be thirty days before that policy would take effect," Causey said.

It's also advised you talk to your insurance agent now to see what your options are as some companies will provide coverage through an endorsement of an existing homeowner or renters policy.
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