News: 2011 Press Release
For Release: December 13, 2011
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Warns Californians to Prepare Now for Forecasted Winter Storms
Reminds Residents That Standard Homeowners Policies Do Not Cover Flood Damage; and Flood Insurance Policies Typically Take Effect 30 Days After Purchase
Weather forecasters predict severe storms will hit parts of already fire-impacted California early next year. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones urges residents to review their insurance coverage regularly, including supplemental policies like flood insurance, and to conduct an inventory to ensure that their home and possessions are properly covered.
"Flooding can occur anywhere," said Commissioner Jones. "I strongly encourage all homeowners to document their possessions before any type of disaster strikes. It's stressful enough to lose your belongings when severe weather hits. But being prepared by having good records, including serial numbers, so you can better replace your possessions can lessen the blow."
Commissioner Jones reminds residents that in California, most standard homeowner's insurance policies do not cover mudslides. Residents are urged to contact their insurers to determine exactly what their current policies will cover and if buying flood insurance is the right option for them. A flood insurance policy typically takes effect 30 days after it is purchased. So with heavy rains predicted in the coming weeks and during the first three months of next year, now is the time to consider your options.
In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance program (NFIP) in response to the rising cost of taxpayer-funded disaster relief for flood victims and the increasing amount of damage caused by floods. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flood insurance covers building contents. The cost is determined by several factors, including the region's flood risk, year the structure was built, and type of structure insured (residential versus commercial, single-family versus multiple-family).
FEMA manages the NFIP, which makes federally backed flood insurance available to homeowners, renters, and business owners in communities participating in the NFIP. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, in California, less than 255,000 households are protected by flood insurance, which equates to fewer than 2.5 percent of residents and business owners having flood insurance. To assess your need for flood insurance, go to the California Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Additionally, the NFIP offers flood related bulletins and newsletters.
For more information about documenting your possessions or to receive a free home inventory guide, call the California Department of Insurance at 800-927-HELP or visit our web site.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2012 the California Department of Insurance received more than 160,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $64 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Out-of-state callers, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
If you are a member of the public wishing information, please visit our Consumer Services.