RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Ralph Northam is urging Virginians to purchase flood insurance or renew their policies on or before May 1, a month before the official start of hurricane season.
Flooding is the most common natural disaster, and many people do not realize that standard homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover damage from floods.
“I urge Virginians to take steps now to protect their lives, their properties and their financial livelihoods,” Northam said. “Make buying flood insurance a key component of your emergency plan, whether you live near the water or not.”
When Hurricane Matthew hit southeastern Virginia in October 2016, more than 2,000 homes were damaged. Many of the homes were outside mapped flood zones and were not covered by flood insurance.
Flood insurance policies take 30 days to become effective.
“If Virginians buy flood insurance now, they can ensure that their coverage is in effect by the start of hurricane season,” Secretary of Natural Resources, Matthew Strickler, said. “Flood insurance is a good idea even for those who are outside established flood zones. As we’ve seen with recent storms, flooding doesn’t always follow a map.”
The goals of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are to provide flood insurance, improve floodplain management and develop maps of flood hazard zones.
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) works with localities to ensure compliance with the NFIP.
“This is an important opportunity for all Virginians to understand their flooding risk and take steps to protect themselves and their property,” Department of Conservation and Recreation Director, Clyde Cristman, said.
DCR provides information on flooding and access to the Virginia Flood Risk Information System here.
Virginians can go to FloodSmart.gov for information on flood insurance options.