BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Berkeley County residents could be paying more per month for insurance with the release of new flood zone maps.
The S.C. Department of Natural resources and county officials have revised preliminary digital flood insurance rate maps for the area.
Homeowners are able to view those maps at a public open house Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Berkeley Electric Coop Meeting Hall in Goose Creek.
The maps will show the extent to which areas are at risk for flooding, and are used to help determine flood insurance and building requirements.
"There haven't been any significant changes" said Maria Cox Lamm, CFM with DNR. "Actually the net change is that more parcels are being taken out of the flood plane as opposed to being placed into the flood plane. Your level of risk really has to do with your proximity to the flood plane."
County officials say residents can meet one-on-one with a variety of specialists to talk about flood insurance and what it means for their property.
The preliminary maps were produced through a partnership among Berkeley County, the S.C. Department of natural Resources (SCDNR), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
While the Lowcountry saw significant floods in October, Cox Lamm said the maps were already in the process of changes at that time.
According to a news release, the ultimate goal is to protect property owners and the community form the risks associated with flooding. Over time, flood risks change due to construction and development, environmental changes, floodplain widening or shifting and other factors. Flood maps are updated periodically to reflect these changes.
Berkeley County's preliminary maps have not yet been officially adopted and will become effective after a public comment period. This period allows the public to submit comments and appeals if they can show that any part of the maps is in error. Once all comments are received and addressed, Berkeley County may adopt the maps.
By law, federally regulated or insured mortgage lenders require flood insurance on properties that are located in areas at high risk of flooding. Standard homeowners', business owners', and renters' insurance policies typically don't cover flood damage, so flood insurance is an important consideration for everyone. Flood insurance policies can be purchased from any state licensed property and casualty insurance agent.