Virginians advised to insure against second half of hurricane season

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Summer may nearly be over, but destructive storms could affect Virginia into the holidays.

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season continues through Nov. 30, and a midseason update from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicated the remainder of the season could be eventful.

NOAA’s Aug. 4 update predicted 15 to 21 named storms could form through the end of November, and seven to 10 of those could become hurricanes. Of the potential hurricanes, three to five were expected to become major storms.

With portions of the eastern U.S. still reeling from Hurricane Ida, Virginians are being reminded to stay vigilant.

In addition to protecting their families and residences from the threats of severe weather, homeowners and renters also are encouraged to obtain flood coverage on their insurance policies.

“The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation urges everyone to understand their flood risk and take steps now to protect themselves, their families and their property from flood damage, and to get flood insurance now,” said Wendy Howard-Cooper, director of dam safety and floodplain management programs for the DCR.

Without flood insurance, the cost to fix water damage can be crippling. Flooding can cause both structural and property damage, and according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1 inch of water can cause more than $25,000 in home damages.

FEMA data also indicated more than 20 percent of all flood claims are filed by people who live outside high-risk flooding areas, making flood insurance a wise investment for all homeowners and renters.

“The biggest problem we find with flood insurance is that many people think that flood damage is covered under their homeowner policies, but it’s not,” said Ted Joyce, vice president of insurance agency services for Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co.

“And, another reason some people don’t buy flood insurance is because they think it’s complicated and can be a hassle, but it’s really as easy as buying homeowner insurance,” he continued. “If you don’t have coverage, and there’s a flood, you’ll be out a lot of money having to fix the damage on your own.”

With a flood insurance policy, both the policyholder’s dwelling and personal property are covered should a loss occur. Joyce also noted that flood insurance policies generally are inexpensive.

To further calculate their flood risk, Virginians can use the Virginia Flood Risk Information System to see if their property is located within Virginia’s Special Flood Hazard Area. SFHAs are mapped flood-risk areas that would be inundated by a 100-year flood event.

Additional resources and information can be found through Virginia Farm Bureau’s Hurricane Preparedness Central webpage.

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