Commissioner Lara urges California homeowners to get ready for major storms during Flood Preparedness Week

With Northern California storm forecasts marking the start of the rainy season, Commissioner Lara reminds Californians to review their coverage before disaster happens

LOS ANGELES — As California Flood Preparedness Week begins on October 23 and Northern California braces for major storms, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is urging homeowners to review their coverage for floods before disaster strikes.

Over the past 20 years, every county in California has experienced a declared flood emergency. Yet 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. This is particularly important for survivors of recent wildfires because 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.
“With climate change increasing the frequency and magnitude of flood events, it’s critical to understand what your insurance covers before a disaster happens,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, who created the California Climate Insurance Working Group focused on long-term solutions to combat climate change, including reducing risks to vulnerable communities as a result of strong storms and flooding. “Floods can lead to loss of life, injuries, property damage, and economic disruptions. Now is the time to review your coverage and make sure you have the protection you need.”
The Federal Flood Insurance Program currently provides the majority of flood coverage written in the state. Commissioner Lara encourages consumers to review their existing homeowner coverage to make sure they understand what is, and is not, covered when rainstorms cause damage other than flooding from rising water.
Commissioner Lara 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 and remotely 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.