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Here’s how to get a flood insurance policy if you aren’t already covered

Flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program typically have a 30-day waiting period between when you purchase the policy and it goes into effect.

But Adam Mathney of Flow Insurance Services said customers can also purchase a private policy, and that private policies differ from company to company.

Mathney said dozens of companies are getting in on the flood insurance market. Some companies are trying to be cheaper, more individualized and more responsive than the NFIP, he said.

“If you have a trusted flood insurance professional, ask them about private flood insurance,” he said.

The price of these plans are more varied than the uniformed NFIP. Mathney said many private policies are cheaper and don’t have wait times, the price ultimately depends on the risk of your home.

And due to recent legislation, Mathney said in most cases banks will accept private flood insurance when applying for a loan. Some private flood insurance companies operating in South Carolina are Natural Catastrophe Insurance Program, Hiscox London Market and Superior Flood Inc.

For many people living along waterways and high-risk flood zones, purchasing insurance is required by mortgage lenders. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, however, more than 20 percent of flood claims come from people who didn’t live in a high-risk area.

The Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors suggests homeowners buy flood insurance even if they live in lower-risk areas. The association “highly recommends” all homeowners with any risk of flooding to purchase a policy.

“Flood insurance is actually pretty inexpensive, when considering the cost of your home, other insurances and flood damage,” said Don Thomas of Peace Sotheby’s International Realty. “If you are looking to purchase a home during hurricane season, purchase flood insurance as soon as possible.”

Flooding in lower-risk areas is something the Grand Strand is all too familiar with after record flooding three of the last four years. Water entered hundreds of homes not in flood zones during Hurricane Florence last year. Paying for repairs out of pocket, even with government aid, can be expensive.

The NFIP said flood insurance claims do not require a national emergency like many other FEMA and federal grants. Flood insurance is a federal government service, but can be purchased through private providers.

A list of South Carolina providers can be found on the NFIP’s website.

The price of the policy does not differ from agent to agent, but surcharges may apply.

People living in lower-risk areas will have an easier time getting insurance through the Preferred Risk Policy from the NFIP. It offers a lower-cost option for homes and apartments outside of known floodplains but still with slight flood risk.

According to the Code of Federal Regulations, you cannot be outright denied flood insurance as long as your building was built legally and doesn’t violate any local or state ordinances. The cost will differ based on your situation and location.

When determining how much a flood insurance policy is going to cost, agents look at the age of a building, number of occupants and floors, and flood risk based on its location and the lowest floor level.

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