WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -The North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI) will be conducting disaster relief and flood insurance town hall meetings at five locations across the state this week. They will be informing the public about disaster relief and those still in need of assistance post-Florence.
“We have approximately six million homes in North Carolina and we only have 135,000 flood insurance policies enforced,” said Jerry Frye, FEMA hazard mitigation program group supervisor for floodplain management and insurance. “We had 15,000 claims during Florence and we paid out close to $600 million in claims. I would have like to see that go to $1 million in claims with twice as many claims.”
A common misconception about floods is that all homeowners’ insurance policies cover them. Many home and business multi-peril policies do not cover flooding.
“With flood insurance, the difference with that is that you have to have it by 30 days before it goes into effect,” says Brent Heath, regional director for the NCDOI. “Once the storm is named you can’t buy either of the insurances. So if you wait until the storm is coming you cannot purchase insurance.”
On top of that, even federal disaster assistance won’t always reimburse for floods. Federal disaster assistance can only be offered when the president declares a major disaster. In most cases, those forms for assistance are loans and have to be repaid with interest.
In southeastern North Carolina, we are a low lying area, meaning we flood often in inland and coastal areas. Communities in high risk areas are required to purchase flood insurance, but those outside of the flood prone areas are not required to get it.
“You don’t ever really need it until you have a loss,” says Heath. “The problem is though that we don’t know when those losses are going to come, so we are going to have to prepare for now. I would encourage everyone to go get it now because the floods do appear to be coming more frequently from some years ago. Even though your property didn’t flood, who’s to say it won’t be the next place to be in a new flood plain?”
It is encouraged that those who are not in high risk areas should ask their insurance agents if you’re eligible for Preferred Risk Policy. This is a low protection policy starting at $137.
The National Flood Insurance is a federal program offers protection from flood losses. This policy is for participating communities, while requiring state and local governments to enforce floodplain management ordinances. For the program those communities have to enforce floodplain management ordinance that meet or exceed the minimum requirement.
The locations that will be visited to talk about insurance will be:
- 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 14 (Brunswick County) Brunswick County Government Complex, Commissioners Chambers; 30 Government Center Drive NE, Bolivia, N.C. 28422
- 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 15 (Pamlico County)Department of Social Services Building; 828 Alliance Main Street, Bayboro, N.C. 28515
- 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 21 (Carteret County)Carteret County District Court, Main Downstairs District Courtroom; 300 Courthouse Square, Beaufort, N.C. 28516
- 12 p.m. Thursday, May 23 (Wayne County) Goldsboro City Hall Council Chambers; 200 N. Center Street Goldsboro, N.C. 27530