Everything You Need to Know About Flood Insurance in Virginia

Flood insurance is required for Virginia homeowners with federally-backed mortgages in high-risk flood zones.
Written by Kara Vanderbeek
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
If you have a federally-backed mortgage on a home in a FEMA-designated high-risk flood zone in
, you will be required to purchase a flood insurance policy for your home.
Despite beliefs to the contrary,
flood insurance is not covered
by standard homeowners insurance policies. Only 4.8% of Virginia homeowners are covered by flood-specific insurance. As such, the majority of homeowners are unprotected from flooding damages when disaster hits. 
Virginia residents are susceptible to heavy rainfall, storm surges, and rising sea levels, and an estimated 80% of properties are at risk of flooding by 2050. To keep your home and belongings safe from an inevitable disaster, flood insurance is a must. 
Luckily, home and
car insurance
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has created this guide to flood insurance in Virginia to provide you with all the information you need to stay protected. 
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What is flood insurance?

Flood insurance is a type of homeowners insurance that protects a dwelling from damages due to flooding.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) defines a flood as an excess of water on land that is usually dry, affecting two or more acres or multiple properties.
Thus, damages from sources other than a weather-related flood will not be considered for coverage under flood insurance policies.

What does flood insurance cover?

Flood insurance includes both building and contents coverage. 
Building coverage will protect the structure of your home, including your furnaces, plumbing, electrical systems, kitchen appliances, and more. 
Contents coverage will protect your personal belongings, including electronics, clothing, and furniture. 
Flood insurance will not cover items such as cars, anything stored in your basement, landscaping outside of the property, valuable papers, and additional living expenses incurred as the result of a flood.
For a breakdown of what each type of coverage does and does not cover, refer to the table below:
Type of coverage
What it covers
What it doesn’t cover
Electrical and plumbing systems Water heaters and furnaces Large appliances like dishwashers or refrigerators Permanently installed bookcases, cabinets, and paneling Permanently installed carpets Window blinds Foundational walls, staircases, and anchorages Detached garages Fuel tanks, solar panels, and well water tanks/pumps
Decks and patios Swimming pools Fences and landscaping
Clothing Furniture Electronic equipment Curtains Washing machine and dryer Portable air conditioners, including window units Carpets not included in building coverage Valuables such as artwork up to $2,500
Valuable papers Currency Anything stored in a basement

Do you need flood insurance in Virginia?

Virginia homeowners will be required to have flood insurance if:
  • Their home is either partially or completely located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), and
  • Their mortgage is backed by a federal program such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
Flood insurance is available to homeowners in Virginia through the
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP
), which offers coverage based on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) assessment of your area’s level of risk.
To check if you’re located in one of NFIPs 290 participating Virginia communities, refer to
this list
Since every area is at some risk of flooding, it is recommended that all homeowners protect themselves with flood insurance, irrespective of whether it’s required by your lender.

What flood zones require flood insurance in Virginia?

FEMA uses Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) to designate the specific levels of risk (low, moderate, or high) in different locations. The risk level of your area helps determine how much your policy will cost. 
Low- and moderate-risk flood zones have a lower risk of flooding (and thus policies are usually cheaper), but note that one in three flood insurance claims come from low-to-moderate areas.
FEMA flood maps identify low- to moderate-risk areas using the letters B, C, and X, while high-risk areas are designated with the letters A or V
If your home is located in a high-risk zone, you have a significant risk of experiencing a flood. If you also have a federally-backed mortgage, you’ll need to purchase flood insurance. (Private lenders may also require flood insurance in moderate-risk areas.) 
To check your property’s risk level, use FEMA’s
Flood Map Service Center
Flood Factor®
Key Takeaway If you live in a designated high-risk flood zone (starting with A or V) and have a government-backed mortgage, you must purchase flood insurance. 

How much does flood insurance cost in Virginia?

The average cost of Virginia flood insurance through the NFIP is $775 per year or $65 per month.
In April 2022, the NFIPs new Risk Rating 2.0 methodology will change prices nationwide to better reflect each area’s level of risk.
Approximately 55% of homeowners will see a rate increase, while 45% of homeowners will see a decrease.

How to save money on flood and auto insurance in Virginia 

While flood insurance can save you from paying for expensive damages out of pocket, the monthly cost to hold a policy can be burdensome to many homeowners. 
Luckily, you can get the protection you need without breaking the bank using the following tips:
Once you’ve prepared for flood damages to your home, you should think about covering your vehicle (you’ll need an auto insurance policy with
comprehensive coverage
to protect your car against flooding). 
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