News Flash

GtCounty General News

Posted on: May 22, 2023

New flood insurance rate maps in effect this month

A community of brick homes with flooded yards and streets

New flood insurance rate maps from FEMA went into effect this month, meaning some residents may see changes to their home insurance rates. Residents whose homes were moved into special flood hazard areas on the new maps may see rates rise significantly, while those whose homes came out of flood zones may see lower insurance rates. 

The changes went into effect May 9. It is the first time the maps have been updated since 1989.

“It was definitely overdue,” said Steven Elliott, Building Official for Georgetown County. “We’re the last county in the state to adopt the new maps. I think they’re going to be a lot more accurate than what we had previously.”

He adds that these maps are federally created and the federal government requires the county to adopt them.  

For the average person, the details of the new maps, the new criteria used for determining property elevations and what all this means for property owners is extremely complicated. Luckily, staff in the building department is here to help. 

“If individuals have no intentions of doing any improvements to their houses or commercial structures on their properties, there’s really nothing for them to do at this point,” Elliott explained. “Those individuals who have mortgages on properties that are transitioning into a flood zone, I’m sure they’ll be getting a letter from their mortgage company requesting that they carry flood insurance.”  

Flood insurance is a requirement for properties in certain flood zones. It can be very pricy depending on the zone. In these instances where properties are transitioning into flood hazard areas, Elliott said it may benefit property owners to hire a surveyor to create an elevation certificate. While the insurance industry does not use elevation certificates to determine risk when writing flood insurance policies, Elliott said he has spoken to insurance agents who confirm that a current elevation certificate can help lower rates – but only if it exhibits the property’s situation is better than the insurance agency previously deemed. 

“As far as your risk, it could lower your premiums if you submit that elevation certificate to the company. But I would caution people to make sure it’s going to benefit you before you just provide that information,” Elliott said. 

The new maps also introduced a new zone: Coastal A, which comes with more restrictive building requirements. Georgetown County requested a variance from the State Building Codes Council that would allow it to not recognize the new zone and enforce those more restrictive measures. The request was denied on a 10-1 vote on May 23. 

The county is currently working with a company to help set up an online hub where residents can access the new maps in a format that will help to better explain changes for their property under the new criteria. The county will also upload some of the elevation certificates it currently has on file to better assist property owners. A link will be provided when the hub is ready. 

“We’re trying to get as much information out as we can, but it will still be really useful for people to actually see a flood map and information just for their property,” Elliott said. “Until that’s ready though, you can still go onto the county’s website, to the GIS maps and use the drop-down menus. Sometimes those can be a little difficult to interpret though, depending on what features you have turned on.” 

He said residents who have questions or need additional help interpreting the GIS maps are always welcome to contact the Georgetown County Building Department for assistance. The main phone number for the department is (843) 545-3116. 

“If you don’t plan to do any improvements to your home, but you’re just interested in knowing what’s happening, give us a call or look it up on the GIS map. But if you’re planning to do some improvements, the best thing to do would probably be to come in and sit down in the office with us and look at the maps,” Elliott said. 


Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in GtCounty General News

Holiday schedule for 2023

Posted on: November 22, 2023

Early voting opens Oct. 23

Posted on: October 13, 2023
A wooden kayak launch extends onto the Black River.

CANCELLED: Outdoor Festival and River Day

Posted on: September 11, 2023
Football players on a field backlight by a blazing sun

Fall youth sports delayed due to heat

Posted on: August 10, 2023
A weather map showing the projected track of Tropical Storms Brett and Cindy

Prepare now for Hurricane Season

Posted on: June 23, 2023
A large group of people surround a park sign bearing Abie Ladson's name.

Park named for Abie Ladson

Posted on: April 18, 2023
County employees pose with an award plaque in Council Chambers

County earns statewide safety award

Posted on: April 4, 2023
Portrait of Brandon Ellis

Ellis takes the helm at SCEMA

Posted on: March 10, 2023
Brandon Ellis, center, accepts the award on behalf of Georgetown County Emergency Management.

GCEMD named Agency of the Year

Posted on: February 28, 2023
Portrait of Tim Holt

Holt promoted to County Assessor

Posted on: February 2, 2023
a Volkswagen Id.4 and a Ford Transit-350

County adds electric vehicles to fleet

Posted on: January 30, 2023
Old fashioned black and white line-drawn map of waterways with ships

Talking History series to debut in March

Posted on: January 20, 2023
photo of Stella Mercado, Louis Morant and Clint Elliott in council chambers

Council members take oath of office

Posted on: January 11, 2023
Ribbon Cutting Big Dam Swamp Recycling Center

Ribbon Cutting at New Recycling Center

Posted on: November 3, 2022
Aaron Bostic edited

County Hires New Assistant Fire Chief

Posted on: October 18, 2022
Beach access

Create an Account

Posted on: November 22, 2016
Georgetown County SC

Stay connected!

Posted on: November 22, 2016
trucks accessing marina with boats

Keep in Touch

Posted on: November 22, 2016
OLder gentleman with dog at a marina

Website Personalization Now Available!

Posted on: November 22, 2016