Starting January 29, 2021 new Charleston flood maps created by FEMA and Charleston Country will go into effect for residents across the Lowcountry. These new maps will help define whether thousands of homeowners will be required to have flood insurance and what options will be available to them for post-storm home repairs.
In general, the new studies have shown an overall decreased risk of flooding for most areas around Charleston. More than 80,000 buildings have been re-zoned, many from a high risk category to a lower risk one. This means that starting January 29th, next year many homeowners will see a decrease in insurance costs. Builders will also be affected by having lower height requirements than previous standards. Some areas, such as Edisto Island, have lowered the heights by as much as 7 feet.
Chris Silcox, an owner of C.T. Lowndes Insurance says, “Some of the largest changes you are going to see will be the more exposed properties on the oceanfront or a row or two back,” Silcox said. “They will see a substantial reduction in their rates. There’s a credit for every one foot above base flood elevation up to four feet. If someone is right at the right level currently or maybe a foot above and then the base flood elevation comes down and they end up ‘more positive’ then their rate would come down.”
There were also updates to FEMA’s flood insurance rules for storm damage. “Homes that are “substantially damaged,” or require repair beyond 50 percent of their value, must meet FEMA’s base height for houses in flood zones when they are fixed. That can mean additional expense for older homes, built before the federal flood insurance rules were in effect.”
To see the proposed new flood insurance rate maps visit this link: Charleston Country FEMA Flood Zones.