Outer Banks Oceanfront Home Insurance & Oceanfront Flood Insurance

Oceanfront houses are the same as any other houses on the Outer Banks in that they will typically require three insurances, all administered by the owner’s chosen insurance agency-- home owner’s coverage (fire, theft, hazard and liability underwritten by the owner’s insurance agency), separate wind & hail coverage (subsidized by the NCJUA), and flood insurance (subsidized by the National Flood Insurance Program/NFIP). 

Oceanfront properties differ in that lenders of financed oceanfront homes require flood insurance no matter how high the elevation or Flood Zone of the oceanfront lot. .

Lenders of federally backed/insured mortgages require a home owner to carry flood insurance on beachfront houses.  If you buy with cash or own outright there is no entity dictating what insurances you carry, no matter how low or how wet.  Regardless, our advice is to have flood coverage no matter what!  An Elevation Certificate shot by a Surveyor determines (a) what the base elevation of the lot is, and (b) what the various levels of the dwelling are above base flood elevation (BFE) from the ground up. A current Elevation Certificate is necessary for the insurance agency to quote and arrange flood coverage. 
Every Outer Banks property must be taken case-by-case; there are no two properties the same.  Some lots are part X and part AE, or part AE and part VE...etc.  X-Zone is the highest elevation, and is the only flood zone in our overall area in which most lenders will not require the buyer to get flood coverage (except on oceanfront lots!). Flood insurance is required on an X Zone lot if any portion of the dwelling lies in the AE zone.

Even flood insurance for oceanfront houses should be reasonably affordable providing that the dwelling sits correctly on the lot and doesn't have illegal living area below the required base flood elevation (BFE) for that lot.  Oceanfront lots are usually in VE and VO Zones and therefore typically require a bit higher flood premiums than the $500/year that is most common for non-oceanfront.

VE and VO Zones basically mean a property is not only under threat of 100-year flooding but also has a threat of wave velocity hazard (storm surge and battering from wave-borne objects).

No matter what/where/how new/how high, if flood vents are required on your oceanfront dwelling, install them and keep them uncovered and operable at all times. Rising water put enormous strain on a dwelling and its appurtenances.  Flood venting of ground floor enclosures will make your life much easier if your property is flooded or impacted by ocean over wash.

Another factor to consider when purchasing oceanfront property is that $250,000 is the lifetime total allowed amount of flood claims available for any dwelling. This runs with the property so it’s a good idea to ask the seller to obtain and provide a C.L.U.E. report (from the Claims Loss Underwriters Exchange) from their insurance agency so that you can know how many flood claims have ever been made against the property, if any.  FEMA can deem a property NFIP-ineligible if too many repetitive flood claims have been made. 


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