Joint Information Center · Joint Field Office · 4800 Cox Road · Glen Allen, VA 23060
Aug. 9, 2006
NR – 06
News Desk: 804-270-2671
Flood Awareness Goes Hand in Hand with Hurricane Awareness
GLEN ALLEN, Va. — As the 2006 hurricane season progresses, Virginians are being strongly advised by state and federal disaster officials to understand flooding risks in their area, and to obtain sufficient flood coverage.
As some statistics clearly show, while many residents have and maintain their homeowner’s insurance policy, many neglect to buy flood insurance coverage.
- Most Virginia residents are not covered by flood insurance. Even though there are nearly 2.7 million households in Virginia (2000 US Census), there are less than 92,000 flood insurance policies in effect throughout the state (data as of 5/31/2006).
- If you live in a highest-risk area (special flood hazard area), you need to be covered by flood insurance. Fifty-two percent of households in the highest-risk areas of the state are financially protected with flood coverage. However, more than 16,000 homeowners lack this vital protection against the devastating effects of flooding.
- You don’t have to live in a highest-risk area to be at risk for floods. Floods can happen anywhere, at anytime. Approximately 25 percent of all flood claims come from areas that are not designated as special flood hazard areas, yet only 4.3 percent of Virginia households in areas considered to be low-to moderate-risk areas have flood insurance protection.
- Land use, development and other factors do cause changes in flood risk over time. Even current flood hazard maps would not show the risk of catastrophic events such as hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
- Flooding is not covered by homeowners insurance. Even if you are living outside the high-risk area, and thus are not required by law to purchase flood insurance, you are still at risk for flooding, and should consider flood insurance.
“Even if you have a flood policy, make sure that it is kept current to reflect the changing needs of your structure and content,” Federal Coordinating Officer, Gracia Szczech pointed out. “Do not wait until after a flood event to discover that you are underinsured. Take action now to protect your family’s and business’ investments.” Policies are available to residential and business property owners for structures and contents, and to renters for content.
“Let’s remember that when you prepare for a hurricane, you should also prepare for flooding,” State Coordinating Officer, Michael Cline added, “Tropical storms and other severe rain events can flood homes as well as a hurricane can. Assess your need for flood insurance, even if it is not required by law or your mortgage company.”
About 200 private insurance companies nationally offer affordable National Flood Insurance Program flood insurance backed by the federal government. Furthermore, flood policies are paid even if there are no federal disaster declarations in effect for those floods.
If you don’t have flood insurance, talk with your insurance agent. There are low-cost Preferred Risk policies for people in low- to moderate-risk flood areas. State residents and others can visit FloodSmart.gov or call the National Flood Insurance Program call center, at 1-800-427-2419 to learn about flood coverage limits and the 30-day waiting period; to obtain a list of participating agents in their area; learn how to prepare for floods; how to purchase a National Flood Insurance Policy; and the benefits of protecting homes and property against flooding.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities; works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.
Be ready. Be willing to help.
Virginia Disaster Relief Fund
How is the money distributed?
Fund proceeds will be distributed to local long-term recovery groups, members of the Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and other non-profit and faith-based organizations as a grant.
Many of these groups work directly with individuals and families following a disaster.
How else can I donate?
The Virginia Disaster Relief Fund benefits projects that include: repair or rebuilding of underinsured dwellings, transportation assistance, replacing essential household items, helping renters establish new rental residence, temporary living expenses while recovering from loss, and more.
How can I donate?
If you want to help, send checks made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia with “Virginia Disaster Relief Fund” noted in the memo line to:
P.O. Box 1971
Richmond, VA 23218-1971