MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- Savvy Virginians know how to protect their homes from the country’s #1 natural disaster: buy flood insurance.
“Flooding is the most common disaster in this country, but homeowner’s insurance rarely covers flood damage,” said the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Federal Coordinating Officer Don Keldsen.
“All it takes is a few inches of water to cause major damage to your home,” said Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s State Coordinating Officer Michael Cline. “Flood insurance is a low-cost way of protecting yourself and your property from harm,” he said.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is backed by the federal government, but policies are sold by private insurance agents throughout Virginia. Homeowners, businesses and renters can purchase flood insurance as long as their community participates in the program.
Today 21,564 communities nationwide participate in NFIP; 283 of them are in Virginia. Only 17 communities in Virginia have yet to join the program. To join, a community must adopt and administer flood hazard regulations. To see a list of participating Virginia communities, go to www.fema.gov/fema/csb.
Flood insurance pays off.
Homes in high risk areas, have a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. As a result, many borrowers in high-risk areas are required to buy flood insurance. But flooding can happen anywhere. In fact, nearly 20 percent of flood insurance claims come from moderate to low risk areas.
The average homeowner pays about $600 a year for flood insurance. NFIP flood insurance can be purchased for as little as $129 a year for a home in a low risk area. Costs increase significantly in high risk zones.
Coverage can include up to $250,000 for the structure up to $100,000 for its contents. For businesses, structural coverage is available up to $500,000, and up to $500,000 for contents.
Flood insurance is not dependent upon a federal disaster declaration. NFIP pays claims even if a disaster is not declared by the president. Less than half of the floods in the U.S. result in a federal disaster declaration.
Since 1973, the NFIP has paid nearly $40 billion dollars in flood insurance claims, helping hundreds of thousands of families and businesses recover from flood events. Even after a home, apartment, or business has been flooded, owners and renters are still eligible to purchase flood insurance, provided that the community is participating in the NFIP.
Be flood smart. Buy flood insurance. Remember: It takes 30 days after purchase for flood insurance to go into effect. Act now.
Go to www.floodsmart.gov to find out more.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.