Accomack County is a participating community in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which protects your home, your business, and its contents. Flood insurance can be a good thing to have as most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover losses due to flooding.
The National Flood Insurance Program provides up to $250,000 coverage for single-family residential buildings and up to $100,000 coverage for contents. Contents of commercial and other structures are capped at $500,000.
If you have a federally backed mortgage, and your property is in the Special Flood Hazard Area SFHA, also known as the 100 year flood zone or zones AE or VE in Accomack County), you are required by federal law to carry flood insurance on your property. Flood insurance is optional outside of the SFHA although your mortgage holder may still require it.
Even if your property is not in a Special Flood Hazard Area you may still wish to secure coverage to protect your property. If a flood occurs, the type and amount of federal disaster assistance you can qualify for is impacted by whether or not you have flood insurance.
For federally secured financing in a Special Flood Hazard Area, the law requires flood insurance in an amount equal to the outstanding principal balance of the loan, the value of the building, or the maximum coverage available, whichever is less. It also requires flood insurance to be maintained for the life of the loan. While the law requires coverage only for the loan balance, you should consider protecting your equity. It’s wise to insure primary residences and businesses in sufficient amounts to fully protect the building and its contents.
If you do not secure flood insurance coverage your note holder will likely secure a policy for you and add it to the amount you owe them. It is in your best interest to secure your policy yourself as what you can find is often less than what the financial institution will acquire on your behalf.
Outside of the Special Flood Hazard Area while there is no federal insurance requirement for federally backed mortgages, you financial institution may still require that you secure coverage as a condition of your note or mortgage. This can be good as 25% of flood insurance claims are for areas outside the Special Flood Hazard Area.
Property owners and renters are encouraged to consider flood insurance even if not required federally in order to protect your property and investments. Insurance premiums vary depending on:
- Location and elevation of the lowest floor of the structure.
- Amount of coverage sought to include structure only or structure and contents.
Keep in mind there is a 30-day waiting period between purchase and when coverage begins, to prevent purchasing insurance when a major storm is forecast (only to cancel the policy when the threat passes). The following exceptions apply:
- When the purchase of insurance is done in connection with making, increasing, extending or renewing a loan.
- When the purchase of insurance occurs during the one-year period following issuance of a revised flood map for a community.
- If flood insurance is required as a result of a lender determining that a loan that does not have flood insurance coverage should be protected by flood insurance.
- If an additional amount of insurance is selected as an option on the renewal bill.
Discounts on Annual Flood Insurance Premiums:
Because Accomack County participates in the FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS), property owners in the unincorporated portions of Accomack County qualify for annual discount on their flood insurance. The CRS is an incentive program that encourages communities to adopt floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum requirements for FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to:
- Reduce flood losses.
- Facilitate accurate insurance ratings.
- Promote the awareness of flood insurance.
In return for a community’s adoption of standards that go above and beyond the minimum NFIP requirements, flood insurance premium rates for property owners residents within the participating community are discounted. The discount varies according to the community’s level of effort.
Within Virginia, 24 counties, cities, and towns participate in the CRS program. As of December 2017 Accomack County is rated a Class 6, which provides a 20 percent discount on flood insurance premiums for property located within special flood hazard areas (SFHA) and a 10 percent discount in non-special flood hazard areas (non-SFHA) within the unincorporated portions of Accomack that are new or renewed beginning May 2018. During 2013, flood insurance policyholders in the unincorporated portions of Accomack saved $240,330, an average of $86 on their annual premiums.
Within Accomack the incorporated towns of Chincoteague and Wachapreague also participate in the CRS program. Participating communities are awarded points for their local floodplain management activities that exceed the NFIP minimum standards. Communities are placed into classes ranging from Class 1 (highest) to Class 10 (lowest) based on the total number of points accrued and other specific requirements. All participating communities start out as a Class 10, which offers no flood insurance premium discount, and each class increase results in an additional five percent premium discount.
For more information about the National Flood Insurance Program and flood insurance, call (800) 427-4661, or contact your insurance company or agent. For an agent referral, call (888) 435-6637 TDD (800) 427-5593.