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Federal flood insurance now available in Hamilton County

Announcement follows passage of ordinance to reduce flood losses

Residents of Hamilton County can now purchase federally-backed flood insurance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced this week.

The county joins more than 22,000 communities and counties across the nation that are allowed to purchase the federally-backed flood insurance. This follows Hamilton County’s adoption of ordinances to reduce flood losses and acceptance by the National Flood Insurance Program.

Hamilton County became a participant in the NFIP effective on Sept. 25 of this year.

This development is very good for the county, said Hamilton County Supervisor Doug Bailey.

“What it does, for one thing, is open up the availability of federal flood insurance,” he said. “That allows individuals who are going to build in or near a flood plain the opportunity to purchase insurance at a much lower cost.”

The second key element to this membership is that if and when there is a flood event that causes damages to the county’s secondary road system, FEMA will provide financial assistance in making those repairs, Bailey said. It also means a 10 percent increase in relief funding from the state in the event of a flood, he added.

The adoption and enforcement of county-wide ordinances is what made the county eligible to participate in the NFIP.

“The bottom line in the ordinance is that it does have restrictions on new construction in the 100-year flood plain,” Bailey said. He said that flood plain is mainly in the unincorporated areas of the county and as of now, there is only one structure currently standing in the 100-year flood plain and it is not a residential building.

According to the press release from FEMA, Hamilton County residents are now able to purchase flood insurance up to the limits established under the Regular Phase of the NFIP, but there is a 30-day waiting period before the flood insurance coverage goes into effect.

For single-family dwellings, the building coverage limit is $250,000 and the contents coverage limit is $100,000. Renters can also protect their belongings by purchasing contents coverage.

For commercial properties, the building and contents coverage limits are both $500,000.

Lenders must require borrowers whose properties are located in a designated flood hazard area to purchase flood insurance as a condition of receiving a federally-backed mortgage loan in accordance with the Federal Disaster Protection Act of 1973.

Residents who wish to learn more about the National Flood Insurance Program can visit https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program.

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