RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is urging those in the commonwealth to buy flood insurance or renew their polices by May 1.
“If Virginians buy flood insurance now, they can ensure that their coverage is in effect by the start of hurricane season,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew Strickler.
May 1 is a month before the official start of hurricane season, and flood insurance policies take 30 days to become effective, WTKR reports.
The goals of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are to provide flood insurance, improve floodplain management and develop maps of flood hazard zones. But Strickler says that flood hazard zone maps don’t always cover every place that a flooding can happen.
“Flood insurance is a good idea even for those who are outside established flood zones. As we’ve seen with recent storms, flooding doesn’t always follow a map,” said Strickler
According to the Northam’s office, when Hurricane Matthew hit southeastern Virginia in October 2016, more than 2,000 homes were damaged. Many of the homes were outside mapped flood zones and were not covered by flood insurance.
“I urge Virginians to take steps now to protect their lives, their properties and their financial livelihoods,” said Governor Northam. “Make buying flood insurance a key component of your emergency plan, whether you live near the water or not.”
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) works with localities to ensure compliance with the NFIP. The agency provides information on flooding and access to the Virginia Flood Risk Information System, which can be accessed here.
Virginians can also find more information on flood insurance options here.