Do I Need Flood Insurance in Virginia?
You may be required to have flood insurance—but even if you’re not, you should still seriously consider buying a flood insurance policy. If you’re in a low-risk flood zone, peace of mind will be even more affordable!
If you’re in what FEMA calls a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and have a federally backed mortgage, your lender will most likely require you to purchase a flood insurance policy. These areas are at high flood risk because they’re in a 100-year floodplain, which has a 1 percent chance of flooding every year.
Even if you’re not compelled by the federal government to purchase flood insurance, it’s not a bad idea for anyone to think about it carefully. Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in America, and with a warm climate and abundant water, Virginia is vulnerable to about every flood risk you can imagine—including up in the mountains.
But I have home insurance, you might be thinking. Doesn’t that cover flooding? Probably not. Flood damage is very rarely covered by standard homeowner’s insurance policies. So make sure you’ve verified with your insurance agent if you think your homeowner’s policy covers flooding.
Virginia Flood Zones
So what’s your flood risk? You can find out at FEMA ’s Flood Map Service Center by putting in your address. Your flood zone is assigned a code. If your code starts with an A or Z, you’re in a high-risk flood zone; X or D means low, moderate, and unknown flood risk.
Property owners should know that these flood zones are based on research that isn’t always as up-to-date as possible. If your area has altered significantly in recent decades—perhaps a levee was built, or lots of new real estate has been built in the watershed—your property may be at higher or lower flood risk.
So you checked, and your flood zone is not considered high-risk. Phew! But remember that it’s still very wise to buy a flood insurance policy anyway.