HARRISONBURG, Virginia (WHSV) – After Hurricane Ida, people across the country were reminded of the growing need for flood insurance. In the Valley, insurance agents emphasize the importance of getting a flood policy for your home or business as soon as possible.
“Timing is the most important thing that people have to pay attention to. You can’t wait for the water to run through your basement, then call and say, ‘Hey, I need a flood policy.’ All you need to remember is that it is 30 days from binding to effective, ”said Dennis Blackwell, an insurance agent for State Farm in Harrisonburg.
Blackwell has served as an insurance agent in the area for 40 years. He says almost all flood policies take 30 days to take effect unless you close a house and your mortgage lender requires you to close flood insurance.
Insurance companies like State Farm offer flood insurance through FEMA, which determines the flood risk of a property based on its location and altitude. The higher the flood risk of a property, the higher the insurance premium. According to Blackwell, due to the valley’s unique and hilly topography, this can make things difficult for people buying flood control measures in the area.
“In this area, the flood zone can change pretty quickly, you can be in a non-flood area, walk about 100 meters and be in a high risk area, it can happen that fast,” Blackwell said. “We have some areas in Rockingham County that are pretty endangered. I was here in 1985-86 when Briery Branch went underwater, I was here the same year the floods went all the way through Mount Solon, Mount Sidney, us have some “low areas in there, and Augusta County is the same.”
Blackwell adds that it is important that people consult with their insurance agencies to navigate flood policies, which are often very complex.
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