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News | News Release Contact: Katha Treanor, (804) 371-9141
For Immediate Release: March 20, 2014

RICHMOND — National Flood Safety Awareness Week is March 16-22, and the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance encourages Virginians to consider floods when determining your insurance needs.

Floods can happen anywhere and at any time. They are the most common, costly, and deadly severe weather-related disaster in the United States. They can occur as a result of hurricanes, heavy rains, or melting snow. Even a few inches of water can cause major damage to your home and its contents.

The Bureau encourages Virginia residents to protect themselves and their property physically and financially before the waters start to rise. This includes making sure you have the insurance coverage you need.

If you live in a floodplain near a river, or if you live near the coast, Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jacqueline K. Cunningham recommends that you consider purchasing separate flood insurance for your home. However, she said, “Even low-risk communities can experience flooding. Flood insurance is one of the best ways you can get back on your feet financially following a flood, but you have to plan ahead.”

Homeowners insurance policies issued in Virginia typically do not provide coverage for damage to your home and belongings due to floods. However, the federal government does sell insurance for direct flood and flood-related damage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This federally backed flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters, and business owners in communities that adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood losses. It offers separate coverage for structures and contents, but there is a 30-day waiting period before a new flood insurance policy takes effect.

For more information about flood insurance, contact your insurance company, agent, or the NFIP at 1-888-379-9531 or visit www.floodsmart.govExternal Link logo.

Unlike homeowners insurance, auto insurance generally covers damage caused by flooding. However, the policyholder must have “other than collision” (comprehensive) coverage on their vehicle. This coverage pays for damage to a vehicle from such things as fire, water, hail, vandalism, glass breakage, wind, and falling objects.

Among the many publications offered by the SCC’s Bureau of Insurance are consumer guides regarding homeowners and auto insurance and disaster-related property insurance claims. For copies of the guides or answers to your insurance questions, contact the Bureau of Insurance Property and Casualty Consumer Services Section by calling (804) 371-9185 (in Richmond) or 1-877-310-6560 (toll-free nationwide). Consumers who are deaf or hearing or speech impaired may call through the SCC’s Telecommunications Device for the Deaf and hard of hearing (TDD) at (804) 371-9206. Copies of the consumer insurance guides are also available on the Bureau’s website at

For additional emergency preparedness information relating to floods and other types of disasters, visit www.ready.virginia.govExternal Link logo. This statewide public education effort is designed to prepare Virginians for all kinds of hazards.