HomeRenters InsuranceGov. Younkin encourages homeowners to know their home flood risk

Gov. Younkin encourages homeowners to know their home flood risk

NORFOLK, Va. — This week is Flood Awareness Week.

It was enacted by Governor Glenn Youngkin to urge Virginians to know their flood risk and protect their property.

Jay Ford with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation says coastal Virginia has some factors working against it when it rains.

“We have certain facts of nature that we can’t get away from and that’s that the region experiences subsidence where the ground is sinking,” said Ford. “We also have the impact of climate change, which is sea level rise. There are very few parcels in the city that don’t have some kind of concrete construction on it. That means there is nowhere for the water to go,” said Ford.

Casey Hartman says he’s seen his share of flooding from previously living in the Ghent neighborhood. “When I was in Ghent for eight years ,my condo complex would become a castle with a moat around it,” explained Hartman.

Even after moving to Portsmouth, Hartman hasn’t been able to escape flooding.

Half of my street does flood,” explained Hartman. “Part of it is because there is only one storm drain,”

According to FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program, just one inch of water can cause more than 25,000 in damage to your home.

However, only 3% of Virginians have flood insurance.

Ford says it doesn’t surprise him.

“We’ve seen a lot of providers around the nation say there are certain communities that are too high risk for them to be willing to offer insurance,” explained Ford.

Aside from flood insurance, there are a few things people can do to prevent flooding.

“Other things you can do is find ways to mitigate water that is coming off your roof, like rain barrels and or putting additional plants in your yard,”

Ford says he’s even seen some people turn to rain gardens to help with the excess water.

On the legislative level, Ford says there are a couple of bills related to flooding mitigation and climate resiliency.

If they pass, they’ll be signed by the governor by July 1st.

In the meantime, the Department of Conservation and Recreation has an online platform that can show you what your home flood risk looks like. To access it click the link, here.

“Floods are the most common natural disaster and can happen without warning across the commonwealth. We encourage Virginians to take proactive steps to protect themselves and their property by assessing their flood risk and with flood insurance coverage,” said Department of Conservation and Recreation Director Matthew Wells.

DCR coordinates flood-protection activities across the state and helps communities comply with the National Flood Insurance Program, which allows homeowners to purchase federally backed flood insurance regardless of flood zone.

Virginians can input their address into DCR’s Virginia Flood Risk Information System [dcr.virginia.gov] (VFRIS) to assess their property’s flood risk. The online platform was recently updated for mobile compatibility and new features include 3D visualization and the Flood Stories tool.

DCR’s Flood Awareness website [dcr.virginia.gov] offers tools and information including fact sheets, a cost calculator and a risk-assessment tool to help Virginians with flood preparedness.

The majority of homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover damage from floods and storm surges. Only 3% of Virginians have flood insurance, according to the National Flood Insurance Program.

FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program estimate [floodsmart.gov] that just 1 inch of water can cause over $25,000 in damages to your home. Without flood insurance, residents could be responsible for paying recovery costs out-of-pocket.

Almost 90% of Virginia communities participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. Virginians can also purchase coverage through private insurers.

“Flood insurance is essential to recover and rebuild after a disaster,” said Angela Davis, director of Floodplain Management. “It can take 30 days for a policy to go into effect, so Virginians should review their insurance now to ensure they have coverage well before a storm.”

There are additional ways renters, homeowners and business owners can reduce potential flood damage to some, but not all, of their property. These include:   

  • Storing important documents in waterproof containers, on an upper floor.    
  • Caulking windows, doors and gaps where pipes and wires enter a building.    
  • Labeling propane tanks with the owner’s name and address.    
  • Choosing tile or other waterproof flooring over carpeting on lower floors.   

“Anywhere it can rain, it can flood,” Davis added. “DCR is proud to be Virginia’s partner in flood preparedness.”   
For more information about Virginia Flood Awareness Week, please visit www.dcr.virginia.gov/floodawarenessweek [dcr.virginia.gov].

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