Home insurance policies do not insure against flood.
Triest Agency flood insurance policies issued by The Hartford, Bankers and Nationwide Flood are administered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Flood insurance is unique in that the rate of premium will not vary from company to company as it would for other types of coverage. This is the rare time when shopping the policy will not result in a lower premium. However these flood policies are only available to participating communities. Many communities do participate but if not then the only other option would be to purchase a private flood policy.
Any home located in a high risk location or "special flood zone" must by federal mandate obtain flood insurance if they have a mortgage on the property. This makes sense because there is a 1 in 4 chance that a flood will happen during the course of a 30 year loan for a home located in a high risk area. If the home is located in a low or moderate risk area then it typically won't be required to obtain flood insurance. However it is still wise to have flood insurance regardless because floods can happen anywhere. Flood policy claims from low or moderate risk areas account for approximately 25% of all flood claims.
South Carolina poses a particular flood risk. There is not a single county or even city in the state that does not have a flood prone area. In fact over the past 12 years the state has had a collective loss from flood and hurricane damage in excess of $7 billion dollars. Yet only 12% of the households currently carry flood insurance so there are many homes still in jeopardy. Coastal areas are at a particular risk such as Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, Mt Pleasant, Kiawah or Seabrook owing to the chance of flooding due to hurricanes.
Flood insurance can protect both the building and the property inside. Your bank will require that you have a flood policy to cover your house or dwelling if you're in a special flood hazard zone but the bank doesn't require coverage for your contents or personal property. If you have a flood policy, it is extremely important to review the policy to make sure you have coverage for contents or personal property. Don't assume that you have it.
It is important to note what flood insurance will not cover. Flooding has to come from outside the home so if a pipe bursts or a toilet overflows that is not considered a flood. The water also can not originate from your pool or landscaping. So if your pool overflows into your home or a sprinkler breaks there would not be any coverage from a flood insurance policy. The flood also has to affect at least one other property or cover the span of at least 2 acres. Personal property and improvements located in a garage, basement are almost always excluded. Money and important papers at the residence are not covered. Additional living expenses and business interruption coverage are not available on a flood policy.
Whether your home is in a special flood zone or not, it is still an important policy for any homeowner to maintain. We always recommend flood insurance regardless if you're in a regular or special flood hazard zone. The threat posed from flood is real and the results can be devastating. It is important to buy one before you hear of threats of a hurricane or heavy storm in your area. This is because there is a 30 wait period before a policy can go into effect with the except of loan closings. So make sure to protect your greatest asset without delay.