RICHMOND — National Flood Safety Awareness Week is
March 16-22, and the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance encourages
Virginians to consider floods when determining your insurance needs.
Floods can happen anywhere and at any time. They are the most common, costly, and
deadly severe weather-related disaster in the United States. They can occur as a
result of hurricanes, heavy rains, or melting snow. Even a few inches of water can
cause major damage to your home and its contents.
The Bureau encourages Virginia residents to protect themselves and their property
physically and financially before the waters start to rise. This includes making
sure you have the insurance coverage you need.
If you live in a floodplain near a river, or if you live near the coast, Virginia
Insurance Commissioner Jacqueline K. Cunningham recommends that you consider purchasing
separate flood insurance for your home. However, she said, “Even low-risk communities
can experience flooding. Flood insurance is one of the best ways you can get back
on your feet financially following a flood, but you have to plan ahead.”
Homeowners insurance policies issued in Virginia typically do not provide coverage
for damage to your home and belongings due to floods. However, the federal government
does sell insurance for direct flood and flood-related damage through the National
Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This federally backed flood insurance is available
to homeowners, renters, and business owners in communities that adopt and enforce
floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood losses. It offers separate
coverage for structures and contents, but there is a 30-day waiting period before
a new flood insurance policy takes effect.
For more information about flood insurance, contact your insurance company, agent,
or the NFIP at 1-888-379-9531 or visit www.floodsmart.gov.
Unlike homeowners insurance, auto insurance generally covers damage caused by flooding.
However, the policyholder must have “other than collision” (comprehensive) coverage
on their vehicle. This coverage pays for damage to a vehicle from such things as fire, water, hail,
vandalism, glass breakage, wind, and falling objects.
Among the many publications offered by the SCC’s Bureau of Insurance are consumer
guides regarding homeowners and auto insurance and disaster-related property insurance
claims. For copies of the guides or answers to your insurance questions, contact
the Bureau of Insurance Property and Casualty Consumer Services Section by calling
(804) 371-9185 (in Richmond) or 1-877-310-6560 (toll-free nationwide). Consumers
who are deaf or hearing or speech impaired may call through the SCC’s Telecommunications
Device for the Deaf and hard of hearing (TDD) at (804) 371-9206. Copies of the consumer
insurance guides are also available on the Bureau’s website at
For additional emergency preparedness information relating to floods and other types
of disasters, visit www.ready.virginia.gov. This statewide public education effort
is designed to prepare Virginians for all kinds of hazards.