Flooding is not covered by normal home-owners insurance. Flood Insurance is provided through the National Flood Insurance program and can be purchased through most local insurance brokers.
You can protect your home and its contents from flood loss through the National Flood Insurance Program. Contact any licensed property or casualty broker for more information. County libraries have a list of local brokers and agents known to be Program participants. Additional information on personal and property flood protection can be found at these locations.
Related Link: National Flood Insurance Program (FEMA)
Flood Insurance Is Available For Both Buildings And Contents
- Single Family
- Mobile Homes
- Small Business*
- Other Structures
*Check with your insurance agent to see if you qualify.
Flood Insurance Facts
- Flood insurance is available for most enclosed buildings, including contents. This includes homes, condominiums, mobile homes on foundations, businesses, and farms. The contents of a rental unit are also insurable.
- There is a 30-day waiting period from the policy purchase date until coverage begins with a few exceptions. One such exception is that coverage becomes effective immediately at the time of a house title transfer. Also, special rules apply to repair of substantially damaged structures, including those with more than 50% damage, or who have made improvements to their home which exceed 50% of the structural value of the home.
- Flood insurance is necessary to obtain federally secured loans to buy, build, or renovate a structure located in a flood hazard area. This includes federal grants, FHA, and VA loans, as well as most conventional mortgage loans.
- Flood insurance is limited to $250,000 for the structure and $100,000 contents for residential and $500,000 each for the structure and contents for non-residential properties. Make sure your level of coverage is appropriate for your risk.
Check If Your Property is Within A Designated Flood Hazard Area
Do this even if you do not (or did not) require a mortgage loan to purchase your house or business. To protect yourself, purchase flood insurance even if your property is not in a designated flood hazard area.
The cost of flood insurance is based on several aspects: where your structure is located, what type of structure it is, what flood zone it is in, when it was constructed and what the elevation of the structure is. The elevation is detailed in an Elevation Certificate that is required for any new or substantially improved or repaired structure constructed after Jan. 1, 1975. Elevation certificates are available via the Community Development Department or can be viewed and downloaded via our GIS. Follow the instructions here to learn how.
If your home receives flood water damage, whether or not you purchased flood insurance is important. The type and amount of federal disaster assistance available to you can be severely reduced if you are not insured.
Charlotte County works hard to save you money on flood insurance
As a participating community in the National Flood Insurance program, Charlotte County is also eligible to participate in a companion program called the Community Ratings System.
This program assesses, on a regular basis, how well your community does to minimize the impact of flooding on their community and minimize the potential for loss of life or property.
Communities can earn a premium discount of up to 45% for their policy holders. Charlotte County has maintained a 25% discount for our policy holders for many years saving the community $6.6 million every year.
Property Protection Measures
In some locations, contents can be protected through flood proofing measures such as sandbagging. Portable property can also be elevated above anticipated flood levels. You can also take certain actions to retrofit your home to protect it from wind and water damage. All General Contractors registered in Charlotte County are capable of retrofitting your home or business - Contractor. Visit the Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, and Englewood Libraries for more information on this subject.
For more information about retrofitting your property, contact the Charlotte County Building Department at 941.743.1201 to speak with a specially qualified Flood Plain Manager trained in retrofitting techniques.
Further information can also be found at the website for FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program or general information about FEMA at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Under the “Flood Plain Management” heading, there are several resources on how you can protect your property but a very useful one for retrofitting can be found on the Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting.
Development in Flood Prone Lands is Restricted
Charlotte County and the City of Punta Gorda have special requirements concerning all forms of construction in flood hazard areas. All development within the Special Flood Hazard Area requires a permit which must be obtained prior to starting work. As the County participates in the NFIP, there are minimum certain requirements that must be met. In addition, the County has higher standards that help keep the cost of flood insurance as low as possible for our residents.
The following is a summary of the regulations in Charlotte County:
- All development in the Special Flood hazard Area must have a permit prior to starting work.
- The structure should be elevated to at or above the Base Flood Elevation – this includes all equipment associated with the structure. Non-residential structures may be flood proofed as an alternative to elevation.
- Development in areas subject to high waves (shown as V Zones on the FIRM) cannot obstruct the flow of waves so must remain open or be constructed in a way that any obstructions will break away. Charlotte County also restricts the size of the area that may be enclosed below these elevated structures and does not allow subdivision of the area. A Non-Conversion Agreement to prevent prohibited use of the space below an elevated structure is also required at the time of construction.
- Site development must be done in such a way to ensure proper drainage of the lot so as not to impact surrounding lots.
- Charlotte County has regulations impacting the placement of mobile homes in V Zones and limiting the type of foundation that must be used for a manufactured home in a V Zone
Note: Minimum requirements of the NFIP are now part of the Florida Building Code
Substantial Improvement and Substantial Damage – the 50% rule
The NFIP treats a substantially improved building as a new structure. The NFIP defines “substantial improvement” as any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or any other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before the state of construction. The requirement also applies to buildings that are substantially damaged.
In Charlotte County, we have a 1-year cumulative approach to substantial improvement/substantial damage. This means that if the combined cost of improvements over the past 12 months equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before the start of construction, then the building will be considered as substantially improved and be treated as a new structure. For more information about this or any of the floodplain regulations, or to report illegal development in the floodplain, please contact the Charlotte County Community Development Department at the contact details below:
18400 Murdock Circle Port Charlotte, FL 33948
Note: These regulations apply to unincorporated Charlotte County only – for information about regulations in the City of Punta Gorda, please contact the City Building Department at 941.575.3346 or the Zoning Department at 941.575.3324.
Drainage Systems Require Maintenance
Charlotte County is interlaced with a system of canals, ditches, and waterways that serve to direct the flow of floodwater. It is most important that these elements of the floodwater drainage system be kept clear of debris and trash that could impede the flow of water in a flooding situation. Dumping of debris and trash in the drainage system or alteration of the channels is prohibited. Violators should be reported to law enforcement or public works officials.
- Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office: 941.639.2101
- Charlotte County Public Works: 941.575.3600
- Punta Gorda Police Department: 941.639.4111
- Punta Gorda Public Works: 941.575.5050
Natural and Beneficial Function
In Charlotte County, water drains naturally into Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. We have great natural resources in this area and the County has many parks and open space protected to ensure Charlotte County’s unique eco systems are not harmed. Allowing a floodplain to “do its job” allows for the water to naturally flow into the rivers and the Gulf of Mexico and also filter naturally through the ground into the water table. If this is impeded or disturbed, flooding may occur in areas where runoff water cannot drain properly.
Impeding water flow can also disturb wildlife and environmental interests in streams and estuaries, such as those found in Charlotte Harbor. It is important that citizens and businesses take this into account during development of property and maintenance of drainage systems. In addition, eco tourism and encouraging visitors to beautiful Charlotte County is a benefit to the County’s economy as a whole. Allowing our parks and open space to remain natural allows access for visitors and keep Charlotte County a great place to live work and play. Consult with local planning and zoning officials for information on protecting the natural and beneficial functions of the floodplain in Charlotte County. Charlotte County Open Space Preservation Lands Map.
Sources for Further Information
The Charlotte County Library System, Mid-County Library maintains flood hazard area maps and references concerning flood protection and preparedness. Call 941.613.3160. Flood maps are also available at the Port Charlotte branch at 2280 Aaron Street; the Punta Gorda Library, 424 W. Henry Street and the Englewood Charlotte Library, 3450 McCall Road.
The Charlotte County Building Department at 18400 Murdock Circle, County Administration Building, Port Charlotte, can advise of the flood hazard pertaining to specific parcels. Examples of available information included:
- The date of construction and the flood zone at the time of construction
- An elevation certificate for the structure
- The current flood zone and any other flood related information including information about the Coastal Barrier Resource Act, the Coastal Construction Control Lines, Floodways, and details of historical flooding at your location.
- Information about repetitive loss areas
- Whether you are required to purchase flood insurance if you have a federally backed loan
The Charlotte County Building Department will also assist with onsite visits to advise of flood protection steps and can provide information on contractors experienced in flood reconstruction and renovation. For more information, call 941.743.1201.
The City of Punta Gorda Planning and Zoning Department in the City Hall Annex at 326 W. Marion Ave. can provide the same information and services for property in Punta Gorda. For more information, call 941.575.3324.
The Office of Emergency Management at the Public Safety Building, 26571 Airport Road in Punta Gorda (across from the Charlotte County Airport), can address questions concerning community and individual flood preparedness activities. For more information, call 941.833.4000.
Video: An Ounce of Prevention