Saturday, September 23, 2023

It takes 30 days for flood insurance to kick in. Are you ready?

Flooding in the Creeds section of Virginia Beach (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Fire Department)
Flooding in the Creeds section of Virginia Beach (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Fire Department)

Since the start of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1, meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have increased the chances for an “above normal” hurricane season.

And, with the possible looming 10 to 17 named storms — with five to nine of them becoming hurricanes — and two to four major hurricanes with winds more than 110 mph, the city’s Office of Emergency Management wants to remind residents it’s not too late to get flood insurance coverage before the end of the season on Nov. 30.

RELATED STORY: Hurricane season is right around the corner. Here’s what experts are forecasting this year

“The key issue with hurricane season and flood insurance is that there is a 30-day waiting period that is required so folks need to think now about purchasing a policy,” said Erin Sutton, Office of Emergency Management director.

Via the city’s Twitter page, officials quoted FEMA’s “Why Buy Flood Insurance” page when they said, “one inch of flooding can cost more than $25,000 in damages and more than $3,000 in personal property costs on average.”

Uninsured residents impacted by Hurricane Matthew received around $4,000 in assistance from FEMA whereas those with flood insurance received an average of $35,000,” officials said.

Residents should also know flood insurance is separate from homeowners insurance.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management launched the “Know Your Zone” program in spring 2017 to streamline evacuation efforts in the event of a powerful hurricane passing over Hampton Roads.

Twenty-three localities participate in the program. The areas are split into four zones based on their vulnerability to the impacts of hurricanes, including storms surge and flooding.

But Sutton said residents don’t have to live in a “Special Flood Hazard Zone” to get a flood insurance policy.

“Policies are more expensive as a property has flood claims and those that have more than four or are a secondary resident have some of the highest rates,” she said.

Earlier this year, Virginia Beach was accepted into FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program which decreases flood insurance premiums for those who qualify.

The program aims to reduce the “socioeconomic” impact of flooding on private and public structures.

“It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. These efforts help mitigate the effects of flooding on new and improved structures,” Sutton said.

For more information about flood insurance or the National Flood Insurance Program, click here. 

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