Roughly 16% of North Carolina is located within a high-risk flood zone — the 8th highest of any U.S. state, yet only around 30% of homes in these areas are equipped with flood insurance.   Homeowners insurance typically won’t cover flood damage to your home and personal belongings, so North Carolina homeowners in flood-prone regions of the state will want to consider separate flood insurance coverage.
What does flood insurance cover in North Carolina?
Flood insurance helps cover the cost of flood damage to your home and belongings. That means if your house is damaged due to flooding caused by heavy rainfall, a hurricane, a river overflow, or any other sources of natural flooding, flood insurance can pay to repair or replace your property.
A standard flood insurance policy through the NFIP comes with two main coverages that can be purchased together or individually.
Building property coverage: Pays to repair or rebuild your house or garage if they’re damaged in a flood. The maximum building property coverage limit with the NFIP is $250,000, meaning that’s the most the NFIP will reimburse you for repairs, regardless of the damage amount.
Personal property coverage: Pays to repair or replace your belongings if they’re damaged in a flood. This includes your furniture, electronics, clothes, and any other items you own. The maximum personal property coverage limit with the NFIP is $100,000.
Each coverage also comes with its own separate out-of-pocket deductible, which is the amount you’re responsible for paying on each claim. Choosing a higher deductible will lower your flood insurance premium, but it will also reduce your claim payment.
Does North Carolina require flood insurance?
While you aren’t legally required to buy flood insurance in North Carolina or anywhere else in the country, if your home is one of the approximately 209,102 in a high-risk flood zone, your mortgage lender may require it as a stipulation in your loan agreement.
But even if your lender doesn’t require it, homeowners in flood-prone areas of North Carolina will want to consider this important piece of financial protection. While only around 5% of North Carolina homes are located in Special Flood Hazard Areas, around 25% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate- to low-risk areas, according to FEMA. 
Here’s a look at the total number of housing units and the percentage of all homes in high-risk flood zones for each county in North Carolina.
Where can I buy flood insurance in North Carolina?
North Carolina residents can buy flood insurance in one of two ways: through the NFIP, which is regulated and backed by the federal government and sold by insurance companies, or private flood insurance.
Private flood insurance vs. NFIP coverage
Private flood insurance generally gives you the option for higher coverage limits beyond the relatively low $250,000/$100,000 in coverage you’re limited to with the NFIP.
Additionally, private flood policies include coverages and perks that aren’t available through the heavily regulated NFIP. This includes loss of use coverage to help cover the cost of lodging or restaurant meals in the event your house is badly damaged and you’re forced to evacuate; or replacement cost coverage for your personal belongings.
Here’s a look at what North Carolina residents can expect with NFIP and private flood insurance.
NFIP flood insurance
Private flood insurance
Building property coverage
Max of $250,000
Up to $15,000,000 depending on the company
Personal property coverage
Max of $100,000
Up to $1,000,000 depending on the company
Additional living expenses
Limited to wall fixtures, air conditioners, washer/dryers
$1,000 to $10,000
$1,000 to $50,000
As little as 0 to 10 days
Accepted by mortgages
56 states and jurisdictions
May be limited in higher-risk areas
How much is flood insurance in North Carolina?
The average cost of flood insurance in North Carolina is $920 per year through the NFIP and around $888 per year when purchased through a private flood insurance company. While government-backed flood insurance through the NFIP is cheaper on average and more widely available in North Carolina, private flood insurance policies often come with higher reimbursement limits and additional coverages.
Looking at the 37 North Carolina cities with at least 500 NFIP policyholders, the average cost of flood insurance is as high as $2,501 in Asheville, a city that has a major risk of flooding over the next 30 years; and as low as $372 per year in Indian Beach, a town that is expected to have a severe risk of flooding over the next 30 years, according to Risk Factor. 
Here’s a look at the average cost of flood insurance in North Carolina cities with at least one active FEMA flood insurance policy.
Your flood insurance costs are generally calculated based on the following factors:
Where you live
Your home’s elevation and construction type
The amount of coverage in your policy
Policy deductible amount
In addition to the above factors, the amount you pay for flood insurance will also depend on how your flood insurance provider calculates your rates.
FEMA, for example, has historically based its rates on whether or not your house is in a high-risk flood zone according to its Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). This means you’ll often pay the same flood insurance rate as your neighbor if you live in the same flood zone, even if their house is larger or closer to a beach or riverbank.
Conversely, private flood insurance providers use more advanced methods to determine and price flood risk. This includes analyzing each home’s elevation and simulating flood events using computerized models.
10 cheapest North Carolina cities for flood insurance
Here are the cheapest cities in North Carolina for flood insurance out of those with at least 500 NFIP policyholders.
Average annual cost
Kill Devil Hills
10 most expensive North Carolina cities for flood insurance
Here are the most expensive cities in North Carolina for flood insurance out of those with at least 500 NFIP policyholders.
Average annual cost
North Topsail Beach
Flood insurance rates by flood zone in North Carolina
Flood insurance rates in North Carolina will generally vary depending on where you live and whether or not your house is in a high-risk flood zone, which it determines based on the likelihood of flooding over a period of time. Any A or V zone, for example, has at least a 1% chance of flooding during any given year.
Also referred to as a 100-year flood plain, these areas have the highest flood risk, according to FEMA flood maps. Here are the average flood insurance rates in areas with a high risk, moderate to low risk, and undetermined risk, according to an analysis of NFIP premium data.
Average annual cost
High risk (A or V)
Moderate to low risk (B, C, or X)
Undetermined risk (D)
Regardless of which flood zone you live in, you’ll want to make sure you’re finding the best flood insurance at the most affordable rate. For the best flood insurance policy comparison, consider comparing both NFIP and private flood insurance plans with Policygenius.
North Carolina flood insurance companies
Once you’re ready to purchase flood insurance, be sure to compare quotes from both the NFIP and private flood insurance plans. If you have homeowners insurance, your provider likely offers flood coverage via the NFIP, but it may have a private flood insurance option as well.
After analyzing data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, we found at least eight companies that offer private flood insurance in North Carolina. If you feel you’re looking for better coverage or lower rates, consider getting quotes from one of the following companies.
Average annual cost
National Fire & Marine Insurance
The Flood Insurance Agency
United Speciality Insurance
Our team of licensed insurance agents at Policygenius can help you compare flood insurance policies and find the best option for you. Click the calculator to get started.