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Virginia Flood Awareness Week begins March 13: How you can prepare and protect yourself

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Posted at 1:11 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 17:34:03-04

VIRGINIA – “Flood Awareness Week is a great time for citizens to review their insurance policies and make sure they have the coverage they need before the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30.,” said acting Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Director Frank Stovall.

Flood Awareness Week is from March 13-19. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) describes the awareness week as “a time for Virginians to learn about flood risk and protect their homes and property with flood insurance ahead of spring rains and hurricane season.”

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is the state agency that coordinates flood-protection activities.

Related: Norfolk to receive $249M in federal funding to increase community resilience to flooding

Virginia Flood Awareness Week allows the agency to build on a number of its initiatives that are aimed and designed to strengthen the Commonwealth’s resilience and knowledge of what to do in times of hazardous events such as extreme weather, storm surge and recurrent flooding.

“Floods, not winds, are the biggest threat from hurricanes,” said Stovall. “Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster. It’s not an ‘if’ – it’s a ‘when,’ and we want Virginians to be protected.”

Related: Hampton Roads could see record coastal flooding over the next decade, study warns

DCR also helps communities comply with the requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program which gives residents the ability to purchase federally-backed flood insurance.

Only 3% of Virginians have flood insurance, according to the National Flood Insurance Program.

“A flood can happen quickly and cause considerable damage. Prepare early to protect your home and personal property. Determine your flood risk and consider a flood insurance policy,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White.

According to DCR, nearly 90% of Virginia communities participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. Flood insurance may also be available through private insurers.

Virginians can identify the flood risk their property has using the Virginia Flood Risk Information System which is available through the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

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“The State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance reminds Virginians that flood insurance is not included in the standard homeowner policy. Consumers should reach out to the National Flood Insurance Program or consult a local insurance agent to inquire about this coverage”

Most homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover damage from floods, surface water or storm surges.

“It is important for Virginians to know DCR is their partner in flood preparedness. We understand that communities need knowledge, tools and both financial and technical assistance in order to protect themselves from the increased threat that floods present across the Commonwealth,” said Darryl Glover, DCR’s deputy director for Dam Safety, Floodplain Management and Soil and Water Conservation.

DCR has partnered with Art Works in Richmond to sponsor a juried, all-media exhibition on flood awareness. The exhibit features works by 25 artists that will be on view in the gallery through March 19 and may also be viewed online.

The Virginia Flood Awareness Week website offers fact sheets, a cost calculator and a risk-assessment tool as options for people to learn more.