What Are The Flood Insurance Options In Virginia?

Today we're talking about what the different flood insurance options are in areas like Richmond, Arlington, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach Virginia. These are areas that have seen a lot of flooding through the years but may not be as much lately. So many people think that the only option in these areas is through the National Flood Insurance Program, also known as NFIP, which we will talk about that program a little bit first.

The National Flood Insurance Program was created in 1968 because people along the Mississippi River were having continuous flooding, and the program was set up to give them some kind of resource and relief so that they could have floods covered since private companies did not want to cover them at the time. The National Flood Insurance Program is administered by FEMA or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It's also known as the Government Flood Insurance Program.

Some of the quick things to know about the National Flood Insurance Program is it offers coverages on residential properties up to $250,000.00 and on contents up to $100,000.00. As we've mentioned before, most people think this is the only option when it comes to flood insurance. Today we want to talk about what some different options are out there and if these options are better than the National Flood Insurance Program.

When it comes to flood insurance, depending on what type of loan you have on the property, you may have access to what's called private flood insurance. What is private flood insurance? Well, private flood insurance is, just like it sounds, its flood insurance that's offered by private insurance companies. Now, some of the benefits and downsides to this is with the National Flood Insurance Program is they set their rates. All rates are mot the same across the board. it does matter where you go to get a policy. Well, when it comes to private flood insurance, this different insurance companies can pick and choose the risk that they want and they can pick and choose the rates. Generally, most private flood insurance is backed by larger companies or groups of companies like Lloyd's of London and Lexington. Now there are surplus companies is what they're called. They're not admitted companies. A lot of these companies don't have to abide by the same state laws. This is something to pay attention to when looking at private flood insurance.

Now that we know what some of the major backers are it's also important to know there are some smaller insurance companies that do offer private policies that are backed by those companies individually. Let's talk a little bit about the coverage differences when it comes to private flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program. We've mentioned the coverages with the National Flood Insurance Program before. Well, how it's a little bit different with private flood insurance is private flood insurance will offer coverage more than $250,000.00 on residential building. They might even go up to 10 million and on contents they offer replacement costs. They offer additional living expenses. If your property is flooded, you would have temporary housing possibly provided. They also even offer some things like repair and refill of a pool if a pool is damaged by a flood. Some private companies are even starting to go to payment plans while traditionally flood insurance has been required to be paid in full at new business and at renewal each year, even if it's paid by you or your mortgage companies. These are some differences.

Now let's really talk about the four ways to obtain flood insurance in Virginia. When we put the National Flood Insurance Program together and we put private flood, we want to talk about some different options. As we have mentioned before, you can do just a normal, traditional policy through the National Flood Insurance Program that any local insurance agent should be able to care of for you. You can also do what's called a flood insurance policy transfer or policy assumption. This is still through the National Flood Insurance Program, but if you're purchasing a house in one of these areas in Virginia then you might have the opportunity there where someone's already got a policy on the property and they can simply transfer from them themselves to you at closing. It's a very easy process.

The next option for flood insurance is, of course, the private market that we've discussed before. Now, it's very important to understand that if you get a rate from one private insurance company, or you get denied, it does not mean that you will get the same rate or denied by another one. It's very important to reach out to someone who has multiple flood insurance companies that they can review and has an educational background in flood mitigation like the Flood Insurance Guru. This way you know what all the options are available. Every once in awhile flood zones might be inaccurate so the opportunity to do a letter of map amendment or LOMA might be available. This is when we go through, we review things on an elevation certificate to see maybe if a property qualifies for this LOMA or letter of map amendment. And what this states is hey FEMA states I'm in a high-risk flood zone, but some things on the elevation certificate and our surveys show others.

Then what we do is we take this information to FEMA and we dispute it, and if we win, they do this LOMA. They change you from a high-risk flood zone to a low-risk flood zone. This does a few things. First of all, it removes the mandatory requirement for flood insurance, which can also help you increase your property values because it's no longer required.

Just to summarize, ways to get flood insurance in Richmond, Virginia; Norfolk, Virginia; Arlington, Virginia; and even Virginia Beach and other areas of Virginia is to do the traditional policy through the National Flood Insurance Program, do a letter of map amendment if you get the flood zone changed, do a policy transfer from one buyer to the next, or even take out a private flood insurance policy with one of the other companies.

If you've got questions about flood insurance in Virginia, you can always reach out to us through our website floodinsuranceguru.com, you can also subscribe to our YouTube channel or like or Facebook page where we do daily flood educational videos, or you can also give us a call 205-451-4294.

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com