Now that you know how vulnerable we are here in Hampton Roads and about our growing flood risks, you’re so smart to protect your family, home and business with flood insurance.
How do I get covered?
Whether you’re a homeowner, renter or business owner, contact your current insurance agent. Almost 100 insurance companies write and service National Flood Insurance Program policies.
If your insurance company doesn’t offer flood policies and you’d like a referral, contact the National Flood Insurance Program’s Help Center at 877-336-2627.
Don’t forget, there’s a 30-day waiting period before your flood policy takes effect. Don’t wait!
How can I protect my home?
As a homeowner, there are additional steps you can take to reduce your risk of damage during a flood event. Proactive strategies include building smart, elevating structures, installing flood vents and managing rainfall.
Do your homework.
Having a flood elevation certificate helps you understand your risk. It can also help you reduce your flood insurance premium. Your community may have a flood elevation certificate on file for your property, but if not, you can contact a surveyor to have a flood elevation certificate completed for you. Contact your local floodplain administrator to learn more.
When adding new structures to your property, always work with a licensed contractor and get the proper permits for your project. It’s always smart to build outside of the flood risk area if you can, or if that’s not possible, elevate your new structure. You will also want to be sure your new structure doesn’t impede the drainage flow of your property. Contact your local planning department for assistance with new construction.
Elevating your home or, at a minimum, your critical systems such as HVAC compressors, may prevent damage from floodwaters. If you are looking at elevating your home, grant funding may be available to assist you.
Install flood vents.
Flood vents work by allowing floodwaters to flow through a structure. While this may seem counterintuitive, the pressure from floodwater pressing against the outside of a building can destroy walls and foundations. Allowing the water to flow freely through the crawlspace or structure reduces potential damage caused by this pressure. And here’s another good reason to install them: having flood vents can lower your flood insurance premiums.
Your home must properly manage rainfall, especially during high rainfall events. Ensure your gutters are clean and have the downspouts directing rain away from your home and towards grassy areas, if possible. Also be sure to keep a proper grade around your foundation. A properly graded yard will drain rainwater away from the home. Over time though, the grading of your yard can erode causing ponding around your foundation. If you see water building up around your home, work with a licensed contractor to correct the issue.
Contact your local floodplain administrator…
to learn about any assistance programs that may be available.
How can I protect my personal property?
Flooding can also damage your personal property items from cars to household goods to vital documents. What can you do?
A quick and easy way to protect your valuable personal property is to store things at higher elevations when you can. For smaller valuables and vital documents, try storing them on a second-story or, at a minimum, off the ground in water-tight containers. If possible, include valuables in the items you take with you during an evacuation. Be sure you understand what personal property is covered by flood insurance as you make your decisions. Move cars and recreational vehicles to higher ground; many localities will open public parking lots to allow citizens a safe place to store vehicles during an anticipated flood event.
How can I stay safe during a flooding event?
According to the National Weather Service, more deaths occur each year due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm-related hazard. To stay safe, it is vital that you and your family have a plan for responding to flooding.
No matter how you prefer to get your information, stay up-to-date with the latest weather bulletins from the National Weather Service. You can tune in on a NOAA Weather Radio, through local radio or TV news programs or social media. And if your community offers it, register for weather-risk alerts.
Know your zone.
Look up your evacuation zone, which is different from your flood hazard zone, and keep that information on hand. It will help you understand any evacuation orders that may be issued in advance of an expected flood event. If advised to evacuate, please do so.
Turn around, don’t drown.
People underestimate the force and power of water. Many deaths occur when cars or people are swept downstream in a flooded roadway. Whether on foot or in your car, the best advice is always to turn around, don’t drown. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult while just 12 inches of rushing water can carry away most cars. It is NEVER safe to walk or drive into flood waters.