(WFXR) – Virginia’s Flood Awareness Week is here and flood experts say that now is the time to prepare before a potential disaster strikes.

Flood Awareness Week runs from March 13-19 and is the perfect time to learn about the risk of flooding and how to best protect homes and property ahead of stormy weather.

The program builds on a number of initiatives aimed at bolstering the Commonwealth’s resilience to events that could have significant long-term impacts.

The Virginia Flood Risk Information System is available through the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and allows Virginians to identify whether or not their property is at risk for flooding.

“Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster. It’s not an ‘if’ – it’s a ‘when,’ and we want Virginians to be protected. Flood Awareness Week is a great time for citizens to review their insurance policies and make sure they have the coverage they need before the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30. Floods, not winds, are the biggest threat from hurricanes.”

Frank Stovall, Virginia’s acting DCR Director

The National Flood Insurance Program is available to help residents – regardless of whether or not they live in a flood zone – the ability to purchase federally-backed flood insurance.

Most homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Only three percent of Virginians have flood insurance, according to the National Flood Insurance Program.

“A flood can happen quickly and cause considerable damage. Prepare early to protect your home and personal property. Determine your flood risk and consider a flood insurance policy. The State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance reminds Virginians that flood insurance is not included in the standard homeowner policy. Consumers should reach out to the National Flood Insurance Program or consult a local insurance agent to inquire about this coverage.” 

Scott A. White, Virginia Insurance Commissioner

Nearly 90% of Virginia communities participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. Residents may also purchase flood insurance through private insurers.

“It is important for Virginians to know DCR is their partner in flood preparedness. We understand that communities need knowledge, tools and both financial and technical assistance in order to protect themselves from the increased threat that floods present across the commonwealth. Our Flood Awareness Week website offers fact sheets, a cost calculator and a risk-assessment tool. I urge people to use them as a first step to learn more.”

Darryl Glover, DCR’s Deputy Director for Dam Safety, Floodplain Management and Soil and Water Conservation