The cost of flood insurance depends mostly on the flood zone as detemined by FEMA, and the elevation of the first floor above mean high tide. Flood zones change and some Mount Pleasant neighborhoods (like Belle Hall Plantation, for example) may have homes that are in flood zones (like AE) and others that are not (i.e. flood zone X). It is very difficult to "rule out" neighborhoods based on cost of flood insurance, it comes down to the specific property.
After Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which went into effect last October, many homes have experienced increased rates. At present Congress is considering legislation to delay the implementation of this law, but this has not yet been approved.
The best course of action, in my opinion, is to select the home you like (wherever) but include in your offer a contingency to be able to research the cost of flood and wind/hail insurance within a time frame after the contract has been ratified - as part of your due diligence - so that if the cost is too high you can rescindf the contract and receive a full earnest money refund. This is what I recommend to my buyer clients.
Alan Donald, Broker Associate
Keller Williams Realty, Mount Pleasant, SC
Call or email me for some referrals on insurance experts.
The "West of 17" rule is largely tied to wind and hail insurance. West of 17 is typically less and many of the large national insurance companies stopped selling east of 17 (although no problem securing coverage). Flood insurance depends on the homes main floor elevation relative to the base flood zone requirement. Any homes that are built to code (typically after 1980) in AE or X flood zones should have reasonable premiums (plan on $500/yr). Note that Daniel Island is in Berkeley County which has higher taxes than Charleston County. Depending on your price range this could be one of the larger factors. Also, primary residence taxes are almost 1/3 the cost of a 2nd home.
So to summarize your best bet is to be in Charleston County, west of 17, in an AE or X flood zone as a primary resident.
Please let me know if I can help you with your home search.
Please feel free to call or email me with any questions and or concerns.
Happy house hunting! Catherine