other low lying coastal area, Virginia Beach's elevation and proximity to water
makes it susceptible to flooding. Nearly every year, and sometimes several
times throughout the year during periods of heavy rain, hurricanes or
nor'easter storms, residential and commercial properties are threatened by
floodwaters. Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past,
doesn’t mean you won’t in the future.
Most of Virginia Beach is susceptible to some level of flooding, and
officials encourage all property owners and renters to contact an insurance
agent to inquire about purchasing flood insurance
is a Floodplain?
Floodplains are low-lying lands next to rivers, streams,
and oceans. A floodplain is any land area susceptible to being inundated by
water from any source. When left in a natural state, floodplain systems store
and dissipate floods without adverse impacts on humans, buildings, roads and
other infrastructure. Natural floodplains add to our quality of life by
providing open space, habitat for wildlife, fertile land for agriculture, and
opportunities for fishing, hiking and biking. Click here for more information
about the benefits of floodplains.
Flood Insurance Rate Maps
Flood zones are geographic areas that the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has defined
according to varying levels of flood risk and type of flooding. These zones are
depicted on the published Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). FEMA’s FIRMs are changing. For
Virginia Beach property owners, this could mean a change in your flood
insurance requirements and rates. Property owners
are encouraged to learn more about their risk for flooding and view the updates
shown on the preliminary maps. Click here for detailed information about Virginia Beach’s
Building in a Floodplain
Appendix K of the Virginia Beach Code of
development in the floodplain area. A permit is required for all construction and development (any
manmade change) in areas designated as special flood hazard areas. This
includes, but is not limited to, building or other structures, the placement of
manufactured homes, filling, grading, paving, excavation, storage of equipment
or materials, or the subdivision of land. An Elevation Certificate will be required for
all new development and improvements to existing development. City staff will
take measures to ensure that improvements on existing structures and new
construction are consistent with current regulations.
In 1968, Congress created the National
Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to help provide a means for property owners to
financially protect themselves. The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners,
renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP.
Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or
exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding. Click here for more
information about flood insurance.
In 2012, Congress passed the
Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. In March 2014, Congress passed the
Grimm-Waters Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. For more information
on either the Biggert-Waters Act or the Grimm Waters Act, please click here. If you have questions about how these bills
will affect your flood insurance rate, please contact your insurance agent.
Mitigation involves cost-effective measures taken now to avoid the loss of life
and reduce future damages to public facilities, homes, and other improved
property. By implementing flood mitigation measures you may prevent future
damage to your property resulting from flood and potentially lower your flood
insurance premium. You may want to consider discussing mitigation options
with your flood insurance agent.
should your property qualify, the Severe
Repetitive Loss Program may
provide grant funds to assist with flood mitigation.