Facts and Helpful Information about flooding in Charleston SC & Coastal South Carolina
As if the prognosis for flood insurance wasn’t bad enough in coastal areas, and obtaining flood insurance wasn’t already a concern for residents not only in Charleston but around the United States as congress tries to figure out how to keep FEMA solvent. One important thing you should know, there is NO “shopping around” for flood insurance. FEMA regulates flood insurance and its costs. Agents simply are the distributors of the policies. However, your insurance could vary in cost IF and only if the agent providing you the flood insurance quote makes a mistake in inputting the information therefore, affecting the rating adversely.
Rate changes are likely to affect owners of subsidized pre-FIRM non-primary residences, business properties, and properties that have experienced sever repetitive flood losses. Owners of pre-FIRM condos and multi-family units will also see their rates gradually increase. Owners of pre-FIRM primary residences will retain their subsidies unless the policy lapses; it suffers a severe, repeated loss’ or it’s sold to a new owner which is retro active to July 6th, 2012 when the legislation was enacted. Flood insurance is available through the NFIP. It may be purchased through licensed property and casualty insurance agents or through many private insurance companies. Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before a policy goes into effect. There are eligibility restrictions to qualify for National Flood Insurance. Please contact the NFIP with eligibility questions at (800) 427-4661 or visit FEMA website. As FEMA improves its mapping technology and draws more accurate flood maps, some homes may now be located in a flood zone, or higher risk area, where the flood insurance is more expensive. Also, some insurance agents may adjust rates to correct previous mistakes made about the home’s features when they are re-evaluating a policy at renewal.
In Charleston County, FEMA said all homes built before April 1971 pre-date the first flood map. In Dorchester County, the date is January 1982, and in Berkeley County it’s September 1983. Homes built after flood maps were adopted will not see as much impact from the NFIP changes, but they could be affected by the new flood maps FEMA is developing for the entire United States, according to the agency. When parts of the new law kicked in, flood policies increased an average of 10 percent. Under the changes, subsidies are being removed from second homes, rentals and businesses, as well as dwellings that have had repeated flood losses. Homes sold in pre-FIRM areas are automatically required to have the much more expensive insurance that reflects the “true risk” of flooding.
A Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), Flood Boundary and Floodway Map (FBFM), and Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM) are all flood maps that have been produced by FEMA. The FIRM is the most common map and most communities have this type of map. At a minimum, flood maps show flood risk zones and their boundaries, and may also show flood ways and Base Flood Elevations (BFEs). The FBFM is a version of a flood map that shows only the flood way and flood boundaries. The FBFM is no longer produced; current FIRMs include all of this information. The FHBM is an older version of a flood map and is based on approximate data.
B, C, and X
|Areas outside the 1-percent annual chance floodplain, areas of 1% annual chance sheet flow flooding where average depths are less than 1 foot, areas of 1% annual chance stream flooding where the contributing drainage area is less than 1 square mile, or areas protected from the 1% annual chance flood by levees. No Base Flood Elevations or depths are shown within this zone. Insurance purchase is NOT required in these zones.|
|Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding and a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Because detailed analyses are not performed for such areas; no depths or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.|
|Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding and a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. In most instances, base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.|
|Areas with a 1% annual chance of shallow flooding, usually in the form of a pond, with an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 feet. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.|
|River or stream flood hazard areas, and areas with a 1% or greater chance of shallow flooding each year, usually in the form of sheet flow, with an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 feet. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Average flood depths derived from detailed analyses are shown within these zones.|
|Areas with a temporarily increased flood risk due to the building or restoration of a flood control system (such as a levee or a dam). Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements will apply, but rates will not exceed the rates for unnumbered A zones if the structure is built or restored in compliance with Zone AR floodplain management regulations.|
|Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding that will be protected by a Federal flood control system where construction has reached specified legal requirements. No depths or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.|
|High Risk – Coastal Areas|
|In communities that participate in the NFIP, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply to all of these zones:|