If questions about flood insurance costs are keeping you from signing up, a new online tool can help you do the math. Hampton Roads planners and emergency managers, working with the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC), have developed a free Flood Risk Calculator that takes the guesswork out of insuring your home from flooding.
Funded in part by a grant from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the calculator tool is a new feature at GetFloodFluent.org, a website and region-wide public awareness campaign that provides information about flood risks in Hampton Roads. The Flood Risk Calculator uses the standard rate tables provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s national flood insurance program. By answering a few easy questions on the online tool, residents will receive a baseline rate to determine what they may pay for flood insurance.
“Our calculator is specifically designed for residents of Hampton Roads, to help them make informed decisions when talking with their flood insurance provider,” said Ben McFarlane, a senior regional planner with the HRPDC. “It’s an easy first step to understand the factors that determine the cost of flood insurance before you call an insurance company and select your level of coverage.”
Using simple language, the calculator guides users through prompts for entering their flood zone, occupancy type, how the home is structured and their preferred coverage for the building and its contents.
In 2019, the average yearly premium for flood insurance in Virginia was about $737.00, or $61.40 a month. Flood insurance is not only recommended for homeowners; renters and business owners should also be insured.
Flooding risks in Hampton Roads
With a busier than normal Atlantic hurricane season on the horizon and communities still coping with the effects of a global pandemic, having flood insurance means one less thing to worry about.
“Anywhere it can rain, it can flood,” McFarlane said. “In our region, it doesn’t even have to be raining for flooding to occur. It can come from storm surge, high tides, or sustained winds.”
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, usually available in the form of a low-interest loan that must be repaid. Residents should also be advised there is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance policy goes into effect. So don’t wait until a hurricane is approaching to get insurance.
“The damage of just one inch of water in your home can cost more than $25,000 in repairs,” McFarlane said. “You could hope you’re never impacted by flooding. Or, you can protect yourself from devastating loss by signing up for flood insurance.”
To get more flood facts and check out the Flood Risk Calculator, visit GetFloodFluent.org.
An initiative of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, GetFloodFluent.org 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.
Are you flood fluent? Get the facts: