The subject of flood insurance has taken center stage in South Carolina as the Palmetto State copes with historic flooding. Climate change notwithstanding, there has been a significant increase in the prevalence of storm damage and flooding along the popular coastal communities of South Carolina in recent years.
Flood damage isn’t covered by standard homeowner’s, renter’s and business insurance policies. However, flood coverage is available separately from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and a few private insurers. The low country is particularly dependent on the federal flood program. Since 1978, two-thrids of the NFIP claims in South Carolina have come from Charleston.
The NFIP provides coverage for up to $250,000 for the structure of a home and $100,000 for personal belongings. For businesses, the coverage is $500,000 for a commercial structure and $500,000 for its contents.
You may be required to have flood insurance by your lender if you have a mortgage on your property. Lenders tend to require flood insurance on mortgaged properties that are located in areas at high risk for flooding. In some cases, your lender may require flood insurance even if your property is not in a high-risk flood area. You want to make sure that your loan officer includes this cost in your closing documents. The full-year payment is due upfront. Flood insurance takes up to 30 days to become active, so you want to make sure you order it in the proper timeframe to be sure it is active when you move into your new home.
You must be in an NFPI participating communities to purchase flood insurance. The best place to start is with your insurance agent who should be able to advise you on all things flood insurance. If your insurance agent does not sell flood insurance, you can contact the NFIP Help Center at 800-427-4661.