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By Nicole Salvia
Updated on Jun 1, 2022
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff, Staff Editor.
If you live in a special high-risk flood zone in South Carolina, federal law requires you to purchase a flood insurance policy covering the amount equal to the principal value on your mortgage.
Many natural disasters like hurricanes, tropical storms, intense rainfall, and storm surges can cause flooding and so can many non-natural disasters. FEMA states that flooding is the most commonly occurring natural disaster in the U.S. Your typical home insurance policy doesn't cover flooding—it poses too many risks for insurers.
A recent study by the Insurance Information Institute (III), shows that only 30% of homeowners have a flood insurance policy. Too often, homeowners don’t realize they aren't covered for flooding until disaster strikes. By then, it may be too late. Like most insurance policies, there can be a 30-day waiting period for coverage.
Let Jerry help you navigate flood insurance. Home and auto insurance comparison app Jerry has created a guide including all you need to know about flood insurance in South Carolina.
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What is flood insurance?
Flood insurance is like an extra blanket in winter. It’s insurance on top of your homeowners insurance that guards your home and belongings in the event of flooding or water damage that is caused by flooding.
Plumbing mishaps or accidents that cause water damage to your home are usually covered by a basic home insurance policy. But, water damage to your home caused by flooding is not! So, buying this extra blanket policy is pretty important. Especially if you live in an area with a high risk of flooding
What does flood insurance cover?
Building coverage and contents coverage are the two types of flood insurance
you need to familiarize yourself with. Building coverage covers the building itself or your place of residence. Contents coverage covers your belongings and items inside the structure or your home. Both of these types of coverage are offered through The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
Content coverage means your policy will allow items like appliances, clothing, furniture, jewelry, etc. to be replaced if they are damaged by water.
There are some exceptions to what is and what is not covered under flood insurance. Sewer backups caused by plumbing issues are not covered under flood insurance. Money, personal property in basements, cars, and living expenses (like hotels, etc.) incurred as a result of flooding are also not covered.
The table below lists more details on what is and what isn’t covered through a flood insurance policy:
|Type of coverage||What it covers||What it doesn’t cover|
|Building||Electrical and plumbing systems Water heaters and furnaces Large appliances like dishwashers or refrigerators Permanently installed bookcases, cabinets, and paneling Permanently installed carpets Window blinds Foundational walls, staircases, and anchorages Detached garages Fuel tanks, solar panels, and well water tanks/pumps||Decks and patios Swimming pools Fences and landscaping|
|Contents||Clothing Furniture Electronic equipment Curtains Washing machine and dryer Portable air conditioners, including window units Carpets not included in building coverage Valuables such as artwork up to $2,500||Valuable papers Currency Anything stored in a basement|
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Do you need flood insurance in South Carolina?
There are no requirements, federal or state, that stipulate ALL homeowners must purchase a flood insurance policy. However, if you live in a special high-risk flood zone in South Carolina, federal law does require you to purchase a flood insurance policy in an amount equal to the principal value of your home mortgage.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) directs the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides flood insurance to homeowners based on their level of flood risk. Though your actual policy will come from a private insurance company like Allstate or Farmers, the NFIP still manages the policy and insurance providers. The NFIP will also help you find a provider in your community.
Anyone can buy flood insurance. Actually, it’s a great idea to do so especially if you’re in an area with a higher-than-average rate of flooding like coastal South Carolina. You don’t have to be a homeowner to purchase flood insurance.
Flood insurance is also available to renters as well. It’s important to note that one inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damage! Over 40% of NFIP claims are filed by homeowners outside of FEMA’s designated high-risk flood zones.
To purchase an NFIP flood insurance policy, you must live in one of South Carolina’s participating communities. If your community doesn’t appear on that list, you can still buy flood insurance. You’ll just have to go through a private company. South Carolina Flood Insurance is a good place to begin your search.
What flood zones require flood insurance in South Carolina?
FEMA determines high-risk areas in South Carolina by using flood maps. You can use their Flood Map Service Center to determine your home’s level of risk. If you live in an area designated as high-risk on this flood map and have a federal back mortgage, you are required to purchase flood insurance.
Key Takeaway If you live in a designated high-risk flood zone and have a government mortgage, you must purchase flood insurance.
How much does flood insurance cost in South Carolina?
The national average cost of flood insurance is $739 per year. South Carolina’s average cost for coverage is $679 per year which is a bit lower than the average national cost. A few things like level of elevation, where you live and the age of the building will affect your insurance rate.
Maximum coverage limits for residential structures (from one to four units) are $250,000 in-building coverage and $100,000 in personal contents coverage. For residential structures (five or more units) the maximum amount of coverage is $500,000 in-building coverage and $100,000 in personal contents coverage.
How to save money on flood and auto insurance in South Carolina
You can reduce the cost of flood insurance in South Carolina by:
- Following FEMA’s recommended flood risk mitigation practices
- Selecting a policy with a higher deductible
- Providing an elevation certificate to your insurance agent
- Choosing a contents-only coverage policy
Keep in mind that flood insurance doesn’t cover damage to cars. Ensure that your ride’s protected in the event of a flood, download the Jerry app. Our insurance wizards will find you personalized quotes from top insurance providers in less than a minute, and you’ll receive top-of-the-line support while you sign up for a new policy.
“When using Jerry, I was impressed at how their representative took care of my situation. He was so knowledgeable about my state’s insurance laws!” —Rabi B.
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