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Where are the flood zones in James City County ?

FEMA recently released updates to the coastal flood maps for James City County. Do you know your risk?
Learn more at a public Coastal Flood Risk Open House on Aug. 13 from 5-7 p.m. at Legacy Hall in New Town. Representatives from the Federal, State and local governments will be available to answer flood risk and insurance questions. Visit the website for more information.

The blue areas are flood zones.

flood zones in james city county va

Do I need Flood Insurance ?

Question: We are exploring  purchasing a home in Hampton Roads, Virginia. I know that that are certain areas in Hampton, James City County, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Poquoson, Va Beach,  York County and other nearby areas  are prone to flooding. How can I find out if a home I am interested in is in a flood zone ? How can I find out how much flood insurance will cost ?

flooding in ocean viewAnswer: Quite a bit of  Hampton Roads is in a flood zone and subject to flooding during tropical storms, nor’easters and even extremely high tides.

The flood maps for Hampton, VA were recently redrawn, and the process is under way in Suffolk and Newport News.

In Hampton, more than 1,700 properties and their structures were added to a new flood-hazard zone, while 2,568 were removed. An additional 2,734 properties were added to the new flood zone, but their structures remain outside the zone. The changes are scheduled to take effect by February 2011.

What distinguishes flood insurance from home owners insurance is the source. The federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program makes the coverage available through private insurers and agents, who sell it and deal with claims. Conventional homeowners policies exclude any coverage for flood damage.

Hampton Roads home buyers and others seeking information about the insurance should start with the National Flood Insurance Program’s Flood Smart website, www.floodsmart.gov. More detailed information about flood maps and flood-hazard zones is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Map Service Center website, www.msc.fema.gov.

If you have a federally backed home loan, your lender may require it. Even if you aren’t required to have the coverage, it’s worth checking with neighbors and others about the flood risks where you live. Of the claims filed for flood damage, 20 percent come from homes outside zones designated as flood-hazard areas, according to FEMA.

A quick way for determining the risk at a particular address is to use an interactive tool on the Flood Smart website. Fill out the "Flood Risk Profile" box on www.floodsmart.gov and get an estimate of your exposure.

Flood policies are capped at a maximum amount of  $250,000 for a home and $100,000 for the contents. Private insurers offer additional amounts for homeowners who already have coverage from a National Flood Insurance Plan policy.

The deductibles are typically $1,000 for the building and $1,000 for the contents but can be higher.

The program also provides coverage for renters, condo owners and owners of commercial property.

Policy costs depend on your exposure to flood damage and how much coverage you buy. The annual cost of a standard policy with the maximum coverage for a single-family home and contents in a moderate-to-low-risk zone is $1,489.

The cost of maximum coverage for certain policies in a moderate-to-low-risk area can be as low as $355, but the premium jumps to $5,700 a year for a home in a high-risk coastal zone.

Flood insurance is available from most agents who sell homeowners coverage. The Flood Smart search engine for determining the flood risk of a property also lists agents who sell flood insurance. These agents use the same rates, deductibles and terms defined by the National Flood Insurance Program, so it doesn’t help to shop around for a lower rate.

Flood zones describe the land area in terms of its risk of flooding. Everyone lives in a flood zone—it’s just a question of whether you live in a low, moderate, or high risk area.

How do I find out whether or not a property in Hampton Roads is at risk of flooding, and if it is, at what level?

Go to the website http://www.floodsmart.gov and fill out the Flood Risk Profile on the left hand site of the site. The site allows you to call up flood maps for the Hampton Roads and Williamsburg areas..

What is a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)?
Land areas that are at high risk for flooding are called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), or floodplains. These areas are indicated on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).

A home located within an SFHA has a 26 percent chance of suffering flood damage during the term of a 30-year mortgage.

What is a Non-Special Flood Hazard Area (NSFHA)?
A Non-Special Flood Hazard Area (NSFHA) is an area that is in a low-to-moderate risk flood zone (Zones B, C, X Pre- and Post-FIRM). An NSFHA is not in any immediate danger from flooding caused by overflowing rivers or hard rains.

However, it’s important to note that structures within a NSFHA are still at risk. In fact, one out of four floods occurs in an NSFHA! Get the facts before you decide that your property is not at risk.

Want to see something covered in the next posting ? Would you like to be a guest writer? Send a note to John Womeldorf, John@MrWilliamsburg.com

5395This post was authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf.  John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market.  His websites, www.WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com  and   www.MrWilliamsburg.com, were created as a comprehensive resource about living in Williamsburg and Hampton Roads, with the hopes of selling a house now and again.  You can reach him at 757.254.8136 or John@MrWilliamsburg.com.