Flooding is common throughout many areas within the United States and can be prevalent during particular times of the year in particular areas. Though there is no specific flood season, most flooding occurs in the U.S. from spring to fall. Floods can cause more than $40 billion in damage worldwide annually, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In the U.S., losses average close to $8 billion a year.

The City of Roanoke reported that the flood in November 1985 was the worst on record of the Roanoke River. Another, more recent flooding event in Roanoke was in October 2018, when precipitation from the remnants of Hurricane Michael resulted in the Roanoke River at Walnut Avenue Bridge cresting at a height of 16.41 feet – placing it 8th on the list of all-time flood events. Hurricane Michael caused over $6 billion dollars of property damage across the east coast including many millions here in the Roanoke Valley.

How can I protect myself from water damage caused by floods?

Typically, standard policies exclude flood coverage, so you have to look to another type of policy to cover your building and contents. A flood policy will cover your building and contents for the peril of flood only. The coverage for the structure of your building typically includes:

    • Foundation
    • Electrical and plumbing
    • Central air systems and furnace
    • Water heaters
    • Built-in equipment
    • Permanently installed flooring

The contents of your building can also be protected by a flood insurance policy. The items included are as follows:

    • Furniture/Office Equipment
    • Electronics
    • Floor coverings that are not considered as part of the structure
    • Other items not considered permanently installed to the building

When do I need flood insurance?

The answer depends on the risk of a flood in your location and whether the government or a mortgage lender requires it. Generally, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) determines if your residence or building is at risk of flooding.

How do I determine if I need flood coverage on my building?

You can use the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map. Hard copies of maps should be available for review at your local planning, zoning or engineering office. You can also view and request copies from FEMA online. Enter a zip code or address into FEMA’s Map Protal, zoom in until you locate your area, and click to view the map. If your building is in an area beginning with the label Zone A or Zone V, you’re in a high-risk area and it is highly recommended that you obtain flood insurance. Also, a FEMA elevation certificate (sometimes called a Flood Certificate) is a tool provided by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to determine the likelihood of your building being damaged due to a flood. It is a technical document which must be prepared by a registered land surveyor.


If you have any questions about flood insurance, our personal and commercial advisers are here to help. Start a conversation with us!