Sunday, April 14, 2024

Life in Hampton Roads survey No. 4: Neighborhood flooding and insurance

(WYDaily/Courtesy of ODU)
(WYDaily/Courtesy of ODU)

In this part of the 10th annual Life in Hampton Roads survey, which was conducted by Old Dominion University’s Social Science Research Center, residents were asked about neighborhood flooding and flood insurance.

Respondents were asked whether they own or are in the process of buying their home, rent or have some other arrangement.

Similar to past years, the majority of residents reported that they own or are in the process of buying their home (66.8 percent), marking the second-highest percentage in the past five years, only behind last year’s percentage of 67.7. Another 28.6 percent indicated that they rent, while only 2.8 percent reported having another arrangement.

Respondents were asked whether recurrent flooding is a problem in their neighborhood. Only one in four respondents (24.9 percent) said it was.

That was an 8.5-percentage-point decrease from 2018 (33.4 percent).

There were significant differences between the cities regarding the prevalence of recurrent flooding in neighborhoods.

At the highest end, 39.3 percent of Portsmouth residents and 36.9 percent of Norfolk residents said that recurrent flooding is a problem in their neighborhood.

At the other end of the spectrum, only 14.1 percent of Newport News residents and 12.0 percent of Suffolk residents said that recurrent flooding is a problem.

Only 17.0 percent of respondents said they live in a high-risk flood zone as designated by the National Flood Insurance Program. Another 7.7 percent did not know if they are in a high-risk zone.

Consistent with the past five years, 30.1 percent of respondents said that they do have flood insurance.

Since 2015, this percentage has stayed between 30.1 percent (2017) and 37.4 percent (2015). Of those who do have flood insurance, more than half (54.8 percent) said their flood insurance is covered by a renter’s or homeowner’s policy.

Another 39.9 percent said their flood insurance is covered by a separate policy they purchased from the National Flood Insurance Program.

Those who did have flood insurance were asked to provide the top three reasons why they purchased it.

The most common answer was wanting to protect their property (36.9 percent), followed by their mortgage lender requires it (26.9 percent). Another 16.3 percent reported they bought insurance because they think their property is at risk from flooding.

Those who said they did not have flood insurance said the most common reasons for their decision was that they were not required to or are not in a flood zone (57.6 percent).

Another 21.4 percent reported they do not think their property is at risk from flooding.

Others said flood insurance is too expensive (12.5 percent) or gave some other reason (12.3 percent).


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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