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How do I buy flood insurance?

Flood insurance is sold by private insurance companies. Flood insurance is not sold by the government. However, the federal government sets the terms and rates.

It's a good idea to buy your flood insurance from the firm that provides your homeowners' or your business' insurance. If your agent does not write flood insurance policies or you do not have an insurance agent, contact the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) at 1-888-379-9531 or www.floodsmart.gov.

Flood insurance can be purchased at any time. However, there is a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy can become effective unless the policy is required by the lender at closing. If you are buying a house or other building that has flood insurance coverage, talk to your insurance agent about having the flood insurance policy "assigned" to you by the seller so that the coverage is continuous.

Eligibility and discounts
Mecklenburg County participates in the NFIP. That means all property owners anywhere in Mecklenburg County are eligible to buy flood insurance whether or not their property is in the mapped, regulated floodplain.

For property in the regulated floodplain in Charlotte, Pineville and unincorporated Mecklenburg County, there's an automatic discount of up to 25% on flood insurance premiums. This is because the City of Charlotte, Town of Pineville and Mecklenburg County go above and beyond the NFIP's minimum floodplain management requirements.

Flooded house

More about discounts on local flood insurance premiums

How much does flood insurance cost?
The real question is: How much does it cost not to have flood insurance? One inch of water inside your home or business can do a lot of damage and cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix.

In general, flood insurance costs:

  • about $570 per year for a house in a mapped, regulated floodplain (Special Flood Hazard area.)
  • about $129 per year for a house outside of the mapped, regulated floodplains.

Get an estimate of flood insurance costs for your building at www.floodsmart.gov. The actual cost of your premiums will depend on your building’s specific level of risk.

The major factors that determine how much you'll pay for flood insurance are:

  1. If the property is located in a FEMA floodplain. Use the Floodzone Interactive Map.
  2. If the structure was built before there were floodplain maps
  3. If the floor or any part of the building's living area is likely to be under water in a "100-year flood"
  4. Amount of coverage
  5. Deductible

You can buy flood insurance for the building itself, your belongings, or both. Figure out the value of what's in your home by using the Home Invent​or​y Calculator.

Or use the interactive "Cost of Flooding."

Premiums are set by the National Flood Insurance Program. There should be no difference in flood insurance premiums among insurance companies.

More about what is covered by a flood insurance policy.

A flooding rescue. 

Common information your flood insurance agent will need:

  • Date of construction (date of the original building permit) Find out when your structure was built.
  • FEMA elevation certificate completed by Professional Engineer or Registered Land Surveyor
  • The dates of any substantial renovations, additions and/or damage (valued at greater than 50% of the market value of the building, not including the value of the land, prior to the substantial improvement or damage).
Throughout Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Storm Water Services works to update flood maps, educate citizens and maintain a safe storm drainage system. But if it rains hard enough, the land will flood. So it's important for anyone at risk of flooding to buy a flood insurance policy, even if their risk is low.

For more information about flood insurance, contact:

David Kroening    
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services