The coast is a beautiful place to live. It offers a unique lifestyle that no other part of the Carolinas does, but it’s also considered a high-risk area for homeowners. Homes are more susceptible to certain storm-related perils than the rest of the state — wind, hail, and floods.
Even when a storm doesn’t make a direct hit on the Carolina coast, damage can result in thousands of claims to insurance providers. More than 185,000 claims were filed from Hurricane Florence. When you live on the coast, it’s important to understand the unique nature of insuring your home.
You Need More than a Standard Policy
In many parts of inland North and South Carolina, wind and hail are often automatically included as part of a standard homeowners insurance policy. This isn’t true on the coast. Not realizing the difference can create gaps in your coverage which you’ll only learn once you try to file a claim.
You can often purchase a separate rider to add to your home insurance policy for wind and hail. This will mean you’ll have two separate deductibles, as well. Even in standard policies this is true, but it’s always important to remember. Your wind and hail deductible will be a percentage of your total policy, typically between one and five percent.
Flood insurance isn’t included in a standard home insurance policy, no matter where you live. Because of your proximity to the water, you definitely need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy. Flood damage can be devastating and massively expensive. You can’t count on FEMA to help you if your home is damaged or destroyed by rising waters.
High Risk Options
Some homes on the coast, because of location, age, and other factors, cannot find home insurance through the private market. But North Carolina law requires that you have the opportunity to purchase a policy. To do this, two risk pools were created. The North Carolina Insurance Underwriting Association (NCIUA) oversees the Coastal Property Insurance Pool, the group responsible for helping insure coastal properties.
Residential homes, rentals, and some business properties are eligible to purchase insurance from this pool. It provides coverage for common perils like fire, wind, vandalism, and more. Liability is not available through this program. You’ll need to purchase this separately.
Buying insurance through the risk pool should be used as an absolute last resort. It’s more expensive coverage — at least 10 to 20 percent more than coverage you can buy in the private market. It also includes caps on your coverage. The total coverage limit it $750,000 and personal property coverage is capped at 40 percent.
Finding Home Insurance for Your Coastal Home
While you can’t prevent storms from damaging your home on the coast, you can mitigate the risk. Putting up storm shutters, installing high impact hurricane resistant windows, and adding other protections to your home will make you more attractive to insurance carriers who may not want the risk of insuring a coastal home.
The best way to find the right insurance for your coastal home is to work with an independent insurance agency like ours. We have access to multiple insurance providers so even if some carriers won’t insure your coastal home, you increase your chances of finding coverage through the private market. But, if the high risk pool is your only option, our insurance agents can help you get coverage there, too. Contact us at Charlotte Insurance today and make sure you have the right insurance for your coastal home.