Following the state’s recent devastating wildfires, a reminder that standard homeowners’ insurance does not cover most flood or mudslide damage
October 24, 2020 - LOS ANGELES, Calif. — As California enters rainy season and Flood Preparedness Week comes to an end, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is urging homeowners to consider purchasing flood insurance well before a storm hits. Many consumers may not be aware that flood damage is not covered by traditional homeowner’s insurance and, if you purchase flood insurance, it must be in force for 30 days prior to a flood, in most cases.
“Climate change is driving more extreme weather events than ever, including floods which have caused loss of life, injuries, property damage, and economic disruptions,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “Now, more than ever, is the time for consumers to evaluate their risk and consider purchasing flood insurance to protect their assets.”
The Federal Flood Insurance Program currently provides the majority of flood coverage written in the state, but private flood insurance is also available. Commissioner Lara encourages consumers to review existing homeowner coverage to make sure they understand what is, and is not, covered when rainstorms cause damage other than flooding from rising water.
Survivors of recent wildfires should note that damages caused by mudslides and debris flows may not be covered by flood insurance. Homeowners’ insurance will only cover mudslides and debris flows if caused by a previous fire that has weakened hillsides, as in the Montecito mudslides in January 2018 that followed the devastating Thomas Fire months earlier.
The Commissioner also advises consumers to prepare for potential disaster by using their smart phone to perform a home inventory to create a record of their belongings and store scans of important documents that they can easily access after a disaster.
The Department has a number of resources to help consumers with insurance coverage or claim questions. The Department's consumer hotline is available toll-free at 800-927-4357.