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Homeowners in West Virginia may be required to purchase flood insurance coverage if their home is located in a FEMA-designated high-risk flood zone.
Damages due to flooding cost billions of dollars each year across the United States. Surprisingly, only 27% of US homeowners are protected with flood insurance. This may be due to the misperception that standard home insurance provides flooding coverage.
Unfortunately, you won’t have coverage in the event of a flood unless you purchase a separate flood insurance policy. Luckily, home and auto insurance super app Jerry has compiled this guide to everything you need to know about flood insurance in West Virginia.
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What is flood insurance?
Flood insurance is a type of property insurance that covers damages to your home and possessions as a result of a flood.
While most standard homeowners insurance policies will cover damage from snow, hail, and wind, losses due to flooding are not covered. Thus, homeowners will need to purchase additional, stand-alone flood insurance to protect their homes.
What does flood insurance cover?
Two types of coverage are offered under flood insurance: building coverage and contents coverage.
Building coverage provides protection for the structure of the home, while contents coverage covers any losses or damages to personal property.
For example, permanently installed carpeting, cabinets, bookcases, window blinds, and staircases will be protected under building coverage, while contents coverage will cover valuable items such as artwork, electronics, curtains, clothing, and furniture.
Keep in mind that flood insurance will only cover losses that were the direct result of flooding and the cause of flooding matters. Flood insurance will only cover weather-related events that affect two or more acres or two or more properties that are normally dry.
Items that will not be covered under flood insurance include currency, precious metals, cars, and personal property kept in basements.
Here’s a more comprehensive breakdown of what’s covered in your policy:
|Type of coverage||What it covers||What it doesn’t cover|
|Building||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|
|Contents||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 West Virginia?
West Virginia does not require all homeowners to have flood insurance.
However, if you live in a high-risk flood zone, your mortgage lender may require you to purchase a separate, stand-alone flood insurance policy.
External flooding coverage is offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Insurance rates and costs are calculated based on a property’s flood risk level.
Keep in mind that only those in participating communities can purchase an NFIP-backed policy. To check the status of your community, consult this handy list.
If your community does not participate in the NFIP, you can still purchase flood insurance through a private insurance company, such as Neptune or FloodSimple.
Flood insurance can be purchased by anyone, irrespective of your property’s risk. Even if you think you’re not at risk of a flood now, having a policy in place may benefit you in case of the unexpected later.
What flood zones require flood insurance in West Virginia?
To identify a community’s risk of flooding, FEMA has created Flood Insurance Maps (FIRMs). Flood maps designate an area’s flood zones, floodplain boundaries, and base flood elevation.
Flood maps categorize areas into low, moderate, or high risk. (No area is at zero risk of flooding.)
High-risk areas, wherein lenders may require homeowners to purchase flood insurance, are indicated on FIRMS with the letters A or V.
Low- to moderate-risk areas are indicated on flood maps with the letters B, C, and X. Though these areas are not required to have flood insurance, it is still recommended. After all, over 20% of NFIP claims come from low-risk areas.
To determine your home’s level of risk, you can use FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center or Flood Factor®.
Key Takeaway If you live in a designated high-risk flood zone, you may be required by your mortgage lender to purchase flood insurance.
How much does flood insurance cost in West Virginia?
The average annual cost of flood insurance in West Virginia is $1,292, or about $92 per month. Compared to the annual national average of $958, West Virginia flood coverage is roughly $334 more expensive.
However, pricing for flood insurance is subject to change with the NFIPs new Risk Rating 2.0 methodology. This new rating system will determine insurance prices based on such factors as historical flood frequency, distance to water source, property characteristics, flood type, and cost to rebuild.
Beginning in April 2022, about 23% of flood insurance premiums nationwide will drop, but 83% of West Virginia policies can be expected to rise by at least $10 a month.
How to save money on flood and auto insurance in West Virginia
The rising cost of flood insurance in West Virginia can be overwhelming for homeowners that need protection. Luckily, you can save money on flood insurance with the following tips:
- Following FEMA’s recommended flood risk mitigation practices
- Choosing a higher deductible
- Submitting an elevation certificate to your insurance agent
- Opting for contents-only coverage
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