How’s Your Flood Fluency?

August 9, 2019

How’s Your Flood Fluency?  
What is the most common natural disaster: fire, hurricane, tornado or flooding? Which region is experiencing the highest rate of sea level rise in the U.S.? And if your home floods, is flood damage typically covered by your homeowners or renters insurance?  
If you answered “flooding,” “Hampton Roads” and “no,” you are on well on your way to becoming flood fluent.  
To separate fact from fiction when it comes to flooding risks in Hampton Roads, the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC), working with local planners and emergency managers, has just launched  
The website and region-wide public awareness campaign educates about flood risks in Hampton Roads using easy-to-understand language, an interactive challenge to test your flooding fluency, video stories of local residents whose homes were devastated by local flooding, and facts — lots of facts:  

  • Floods are the most common natural hazards.  
  • Anywhere it can rain, it can flood. And the area’s rainfalls have become more intense and frequent over the past four decades.   
  • It doesn’t have to be raining for flooding to occur. Flooding can come from storm surge, high tides, and wind direction.  
  • Hampton Roads is experiencing the highest rate of sea level rise on the East Coast, and the region is sinking by an inch or two every 20 years.  
  • You don’t have to be in a high-risk zone to experience flooding.  
  • Flood damage typically isn’t covered by homeowners or renters insurance.  

That last fact is the one the campaign really wants to drive home.  
“The damage of just one inch of water in your home can cost more than $25,000 in repairs,” said Ben McFarlane, a senior regional planner with the HRPDC. “You could 
hope you’re never impacted by flooding. Or, you can protect yourself from devastating loss by signing up for flood insurance.” 

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the cost of flood insurance depends on different factors, including the amount of coverage you need, your deductible, the risk level of your flood zone, the age of your home, how your home was constructed, and more. In 2018, the average yearly premium for flood insurance in Virginia was about $737, or $61.40 a month. Flood insurance is not only recommended for homeowners; renters and business owners should also be insured.  
In addition, federal disaster assistance is only available following a presidential disaster declaration, and usually available in the form of a low-interest loan that must be repaid.  
So where can you go to sign up for flood insurance? Contact your insurance agent first to see if flooding insurance is offered. If it is, ask for a specific quote. If it isn’t and you would like a referral, contact the National Flood Insurance Program’s Help Center at 1-800-427-4611.  
Any questions?  
To check your flood fluency and get all the facts, visit