Brush up on flooding facts (and fiction) during Virginia Flood Awareness Week, March 10-16

Know your zone and calculate estimated flooding costs with

In the time it takes to scroll through social media or search for car keys, you could estimate the cost to insure your Hampton Roads home or business from flooding by using the free Flood Insurance Estimatorat

Those few minutes could make an enormous difference, and the people who power want residents and business owners to try the estimator for themselves during Virginia Flood Awareness Week, March 10-16. 

Revamped last year to align with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) update of the National Flood Insurance Program’s risk-rating methodology (Risk Rating 2.0), the online Flood Insurance Estimator provides users with an assessment of insuring their home and belongings from flooding based on answers to a few questions.

“With the updated Flood Insurance Estimator, Hampton Roads residents can obtain a more targeted and unique estimate, taking into consideration their home’s distance to local waterways, ground elevation, first-floor height and foundation type,” said Ben McFarlane, Chief Resilience Officer with the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC). “This is an easy first step in understanding the factors that determine the cost of flood insurance before you call an insurance company and select your level of coverage.”

Becky Bump knows all too well the price she and her family paid when Hurricane Matthew wrecked their Virginia Beach home in 2016. Within hours of the rain beginning, she was wading in water that had seeped inside the house.

“I had no idea that water in my house could be as devastating as it was, not only to me personally and emotionally, but to the things that it just literally tore apart,” said Bump, who had flood insurance at the time.

Even when it does not rain, it can flood

Rainfall is just one cause of flooding in Hampton Roads. Even on sunny days, flooding can occur as result of high tides and wind direction. In addition, water surrounds Hampton Roads, making storm surge—an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm—a concern when threatening weather strikes.

McFarlane also wants residents to know that the uninsured cannot rely on federal disaster assistance after a flooding event. Relief is only available following a presidential disaster declaration, generally available in the form of a low-interest loan that must be repaid.

“The damage of just one inch of water in your home can cost more than $25,000 in repairs,” McFarlane said. “You could hope flooding will not impact you. Or you can protect yourself from devastating loss by signing up for flood insurance.”

In addition to hosting the Flood Insurance Estimator, has a wealth of information to help area residents and business owners understand the impacts of local flooding and learn about steps they can take in advance of threatening weather:

  • Know your zone. Look up your evacuation zone, which is different from your flood hazard zone. This will help you if evacuation orders are called.
  • Store important items at higher elevations, such as small valuables and vital documents.
  • Don’t walk or drive in flood waters. Many deaths occur when cars or people are swept downstream in a flooded roadway. Whether on foot or in the car, the best advice is to “turn around, don’t drown.”
  • Stay informed. Tune in to local news and stay up to date on the latest weather conditions.

For more tips and information about flooding and hurricane preparedness specific to the Hampton Roads region, visit

About – An initiative of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, was developed by an advisory group comprised of municipal planners and emergency management staff representing all 17 local jurisdictions in Hampton Roads. Their goal is to make residents aware of the facts associated with flooding in the region and encourage them to act responsibly by making sure their homes and businesses are covered by flood insurance.

Get the simple, indisputable facts about the growing chances for flooding, why you need flood insurance, and what your rate might be with our Flood Insurance Estimator.