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Before You Buy

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What to ask your realtor

Before making any purchase of real estate, educate yourself on the responsibilities of owning property on the Outer Banks. Disclosure of flood hazards by your realtor is mandatory in North Carolina. Also check with the Planning Department on their knowledge of the property and the history of flooding in the neighborhood. 

Other hazards may apply. Coastal erosion may be a concern in some areas and some property may be located in Coastal Resources Barrier Areas (CBRA) which impacts the availability of flood insurance. Staff in the Planning Department can answers questions about these other hazards or regulations that may apply. 


What to ask your insurance agent

A separate flood policy is needed since a homeowners policy does not cover flood damages. Flood Insurance policies are different in many ways from other types of insurance policies so be sure to educate yourself on the coverage limitations, what is insured and not insured, and how the claims process works. 

Dwelling Coverage Limits up to $250,000 on structure and $100,000 on contents
Commercial Coverage Limits $500,000 on structure and $200,000 on contents 

Mandatory purchase requirements may apply if you will be securing a federally-backed mortgage. Building coverage and content coverages are different and have different deductible levels. Even if your property is not located in a flood zone, you may still be at risk. Flood insurance policies can be purchased for properties located in an X zone. A preferred risk policy is a lowcost policy for structures located in X zones. Properties outside of mapped flood zones account for 25% of flood claims annually in the United States.

PRE - Firm versus POST - Firm

 Structures built in unincorporated Dare County before October 1978 are considered PREFirm structures. Dare County entered the National Flood Insurance Program in October 1978 and structures built before this date did not have to adhere to a BFE. 

Any structure built after October 1978 is considered a POST - Firm structure and was required to be constructed to the BFE effective at the time of its construction. Flood insurance for POST - Firm structures are rated based on an elevation certificate.