Organization: Legal Aid of North Carolina

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Floods occur frequently, often without warning. They represent the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States. Yet, many property owners do not realize that their insurance policies will not cover the damage.

Even just 1 inch of water in or under your home can cause thousands of dollars in damage. Regular homeowners insurance won’t cover that loss.

Through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you can buy insurance that pays for damage and loss from flooding. Flood insurance can include buildings, furnishings, and other contents of your home.

In some cases, homeowners may be required to maintain flood insurance, for instance, if you live in an area of high flood risk and you or a previous owner has received federal assistance for storm damage.

Cost and Coverage

Rates for flood insurance under the NFIP vary. Prices depend on your home’s location and elevation. Property in a flood zone, as determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is at higher risk, resulting in higher premiums.

You can purchase coverage for buildings, which includes your foundation, electrical and HVAC systems, and other property damage. You can also purchase contents coverage, which includes furniture and other personal belongings.

Having this coverage helps people recover after a storm. The NFIP also works to improve floodplain management to reduce the devastation caused by floods.


Does homeowners insurance cover losses from a flood?

What does flood insurance cover?

What do you mean by “flooding”?

Is there anything flood insurance won’t cover?

I don’t live in a floodplain. Should I get flood insurance?

For more information:

National Flood Insurance Program: 800-621-3362

FEMA Mapping and Insurance Exchange : 877-336-2627

FEMA Website (Flood Maps):


The NFIP is a federal government program administered by FEMA. The NFIP partners with more than 50 private insurance companies and the NFIP Direct to sell and service flood insurance policies.

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Organization: Legal Aid of North Carolina

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If you are elderly or disabled and own your home, you may qualify for a reduction of your property taxes.

To be eligible, you must be either 65 or older, or totally and permanently disabled. You also must own and live in your home, unless you are living elsewhere for medical reasons.

This reduction does not happen automatically. You will need to submit an application to your local tax office. Applications are accepted from January 1 to June 1 of each year. You can find the Application for Property Tax Relief online, or ask for a copy in your county tax office.

There are three possible exemptions you may receive:

Elderly or Disabled Exemption

  • You must be either 65 or older, or totally and permanently disabled.
  • Your income must be under a certain limit. For 2024, the limit is $36,700 annually.
  • You will need to turn in information about your income. If you are disabled but not elderly, your doctor will also have to fill out a form.
  • If you qualify for the exemption, the county will tax your property as if it were worth less than it really is. For tax calculation purposes, the county will either exclude the first $25,000 in value or will reduce the value by 50%, whichever lowers your bill more.

Disabled Veteran Exemption

  • You must be a veteran with a totally and permanently service-connected disability, and who left the military under honorable conditions.
  • Widows and widowers of disabled veterans also qualify, if you have not remarried.
  • There are no income limits for this exemption.
  • Your home will be taxed as if it were worth $45,000 less than it really is.

“Circuit Breaker” Tax Deferment

  • This is an alternative to the Elderly and Disabled Exemption. You must be either 65 or older, or totally or permanently disabled.
  • Under this exemption, your taxes can be calculated as a percentage of your income, rather than based on the value of the property.
    • For 2024, if your income is below $36,700, your taxes will be limited to 4% of your income.
    • If your income is between $36,700 and $55,050, your taxes will be limited to 5% of your income.
  • Taxes above the limit will be a lien on the property that is forgiven after 3 years.

Organization: Legal Aid of North Carolina

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If it’s not safe for human beings, it’s not safe for animals. Pets are more dependent on us than ever during an emergency; with this guide, you’ll be able to prepare, evacuate, and shelter with your animal family.

Gather What You’ll Need and Make a Plan

Before a disaster, all animal families should prepare an evacuation plan, an emergency kit, and first aid kits for you and for your animals. Begin the process by gathering important information: make copies of your pets’ vaccination records and owner contact information, collect info about your local shelters, animal control services, and poison control, and verify that these details are up to date.

A thorough, ready-to-go plan is essential to helping you, your family, and your pets stay safe during an emergency, so make preparations beforehand. Emergency shelters for pets must be provided in case of evacuations, but it’s also a good idea to find out what hotels in your area allow pets. Keep one or more safe locations in mind before the disaster hits, and if there is an alternate location, such as at a family member’s house, try to visit with your animals beforehand.

Put Together an Emergency Kit

  • Food, in a protected container
  • Water
  • Bowls
  • First aid kit
  • Medication, in a protected container
  • Backup collar with tag and backup leash
  • Sturdy carrier
  • Pet brushes and shampoo
  • Picture of yourself and pet to document ownership
  • Sanitation bags
  • Favorite toys, treats, and blankets

Assemble a Pet First Aid Kit

  • Information on pet’s medical status
  • Veterinarian contact info
  • All medical records
  • Digital thermometer
  • Muzzle
  • Gauze for you or your pet
  • Clean towels
  • Non-stick bandages
  • Scissors
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Small flashlight
  • Hydrogen peroxide

All About Shelters

When a disaster arises, shelters for animals are REQUIRED: The PETS Act of 2006 is now part of the Stafford Act, meaning pet-friendly shelters must open whenever an evacuation is in place. These shelters are most frequently organized by local animal control offices or county, or state, animal response teams. When creating your emergency plan, remember to verify that your preferred pet shelter is staffed by qualified animal care personnel with animal handling experience.

  • Be sure to have proof of rabies vaccination .
  • Make time to treat for fleas while at the shelter.
  • Try to keep your animal calm with familiar blankets, toys, and treats.
  • If you think your pet might be sick, talk to a veterinarian.
  • Treat dogs and cats for intestinal parasites while at the shelter – this is especially important for pets under 6 months old.
  • Your animals may be taken to a mobile shelter; not all congregate shelters allow animals inside.

Extra Tips

  • Keep a leash and carrier near the exit.
  • Make sure you have proper equipment for pets to ride in the car (carriers, harnesses, pet seatbelts).
  • Ask your veterinarian for help in putting together your pet’s veterinary records.
  • Please note, a service animal is not a pet, and all shelters must allow service animals pursuant to the Fair Housing Act.

Helpful Links

Check out some of these websites for more info on how you can prepare your pets for an emergency:


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