Flood losses not covered without specific flood insurance

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Insurance agents say relatively few residents in the area realize that water damage losses from storms are covered only by specific, government-issued policies.

Flood insurance comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is available through local insurance agents.

Kristie Campos of Atlantic Charter Insurance says some people in Hampton Roads often have the mistaken notion they are not in a flood zone.

“Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you aren’t in a flood zone,” Campos says. “There are just different levels. You are either in a high risk or low risk zone.”

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Campos says dozens of her clients have already filed flood claims, and many more are wishing they had coverage and are now looking into it for when the next storm comes along.

The biggest determining factor for what flood coverage will cost is your address.

FEMA gives flood zones letter designations on several levels. “X” means you have the lowest probability of flooding, then there are progressively higher levels, with “AE” assigned to the most flood-prone areas.

Campos says flood coverage in an “X” zone might run between $300 and $500 a year. Coverage in an “AE” zone would be much higher, at $2,000 to 4,000 annually.

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Campos says the designations can be misleading. The area surrounding the intersection of Newtown Road and Virginia Beach Boulevard was an “X” zone, but flooded over the weekend.

“No one thinks about flood coverage until it’s too late,” Campos says, and estimated that only about one in five homeowners in Hampton Roads carries flood insurance.

FEMA can provide additional aid to flooded areas if they are declared federal disaster areas. As of Wednesday evening, only specific sections of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina had disaster declarations.