The mayor of Pawleys Island is urging the town’s property owners to purchase flood insurance since their homeowner’s policy does not cover damage from flooding and it is federally mandated.
The Town of Pawleys Island only includes the properties on the island, not on the mainland.
In light of the recent damage from Hurricane Sandy in the north, some homeowners who do not have flood insurance may be considering it.
Mayor Bill Otis sent a letter to all of the property owners recently stating, “due to the topography and location, flooding is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when.’”
“Rainfall from hurricanes and tropical storms has exceeded eight feet on several occasions in Pawleys Island,” he wrote.
“Rainfall associated with Hurricane Floyd dropped almost a foot of rain on Georgetown County on Sept. 16, 1999. The storm surge from Hurricane Hugo on Sept. 22, 1989 washed over the island and destroyed or damaged a significant number of structures in the town.”
He told property owners in the letter that the town participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, which allows local insurance agents to sell property owners a flood insurance policy at subsidized rates set by the federal government.
That insurance is separate from regular property insurance.
“The U.S. Congress enacted a law making it mandatory for homeowners to obtain a flood insurance policy if the structure is in a Special Flood Hazard Area, which much of the island is, and the loan is federally-backed,” Otis wrote.
He added that renters can buy coverage for contents, even if the owner does not have the structure coverage.
The Town of Pawleys Island participates in the Community Rating System, which gives more than 450 policy holders in the town a 20-percent discount on their policy premium costs, Otis said.
“This amounts to an annual savings of over $225,000 in premiums for the policy holders,” Otis wrote.
“It is not recommended that homeowners and renters rely on post-disaster assistance in lieu of flood insurance. Generally, insurance benefits will greatly exceed any assistance provided to the non-insured after a disaster.”
Property owners can contact their insurance agent to get flood insurance.
To find an agent, call the NFIP’s toll free agent referral service at 1-888-379-9531.
By Clayton Stairs
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