We live in such a beautiful area, the Lowcountry. Water shapes our geography; the ocean, the rivers, and the marshes. We have water everywhere. Including lagoons, ponds, and stormwater drains. With all of this water, you might have questions about flood insurance. Here are some of the most common questions we get about flood insurance in Hilton Head and Bluffton.
Question 1: Am I in a flood zone? or Do I need flood insurance?
The short answer is yes. The entire county is in a flood zone but not all zones are required by the mortgage company to purchase flood insurance. If you live in an A or V zone your lender will require you to purchase flood insurance in order to get a mortgage but flood insurance will not be mandatory if you are in a B, C, or X zone. Even if it is not required by the mortgage company, it is still recommended that you purchase flood insurance.
Flood insurance covers damage claims arising from the overflow of a body of water or the accumulation of surface water due to events like torrential rain, mudflow, or storm surge. It does not normally cover water damage from mundane events like a burst pipe or an overflowing appliance.
Consider these statistics (Source FEMA – see link at bottom of blog):
- Just 1 inch of flooding in your home can cause $25,000 in damage
- FEMA reports that 20% of flood damage occurs outside of designated “flood zones”
- 90% of all natural disasters in the US involve flooding
- You are 4 times more likely to suffer a loss from flood than fire
- 98% of counties in the U.S. have experienced a flooding event
- Deciding whether or not to buy flood insurance should not be based on a line on a map. Where it can rain, it can flood.
Question 2: When is Hilton Head going to be remapped and why does the flood map need to change?
We are being told that more specific details (preliminary maps, public review, and formal letters) about flood zones in Hilton Head being remapped should be available in the next 6 months (by October 2019).
Flood maps change because flood hazards change over time. New land use and development change the way water flows and drains. The impact and erosion from previous storms also changes flood hazard areas.
Question 3: Won’t my home insurance policy or the federal government cover me if I have flood damage? You might assume that your property insurance covers flooding. That probably isn’t true. Most basic homeowner policies don’t protect against flood damage. Neither do most business owner policies. Only flood insurance can cover damage caused by flooding. It is a good idea to review your homeowners and/or property insurance policy, carefully with one of our agents.
Federal disaster assistance is only available if the president declares a federal disaster area. And then federal disaster assistance aid usually comes as a loan that must be repaid.
Question 4: I am ready to purchase flood insurance. What do I need to do next?You need to give us a call! 843-252-0840 Is the number at Hilton Head Insurance and Brokerage and our agents can help you complete the process of buying flood insurance in Hilton Head or Bluffton. There are a couple of key things to remember as you finalize your policy:
- The maximum amount of coverage available through FEMA is $250,000 for dwelling and $100,000 for personal property. However, additional coverage, often called “excess”, may be purchased through a private flood market.
- If your property is in an “A” or “V” zone, you must have a current elevation certificate to get a quote.
- There is a 30 day waiting period before your policy can go in effect if you don’t have a mortgage or if you are in a “C” zone.
- If your property is a 2nd home, vacation home, or rental property, FEMA will add a $250 charge to the policy.
Cleaning up the mess flood water leaves behind isn’t cheap. Consider purchasing flood insurance sooner rather than later. It is rainy day protection that could help save your most valuable investment, your home or business.
FEMA News Photo