Commissioner Lara provides insurance information for those affected by Tropical Storm Hilary
News: 2023 Press Release
LOS ANGELES — As Tropical Storm Hilary has moved out of California, and the state begins the recovery process, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is advising everyone to stay safe and take action necessary to prevent your property from further damage. It is crucial Californians understand whether their property insurance covers any damage from wind, rain and flooding caused by the tropical storm.
If a consumer’s or business’ property is damaged due to the storm, they should file a claim with their insurance company. If someone is unsure whether the damage is covered, contact your insurance company or agent or broker.
“This once in a lifetime storm brought rainfall and wind damage, so it is crucial consumers understand their insurance coverage and know they have options and support,” said Commissioner Lara. “I have alerted insurance companies to follow California law requiring they cover any mudslide, debris flow, or other damage that is caused by our recent wildfires so that people can recover quickly.”
Most homeowners’ and commercial insurance policies include wind and storm damage. Damage caused from fallen trees also is generally covered under all standard homeowner policies.
Many people may not be aware that homeowners’ and commercial insurance policies typically exclude flood, mudslide, debris flow, and other similar disasters — unless they are directly or indirectly caused by a recent wildfire or another peril covered by the applicable insurance policy. The Department of Insurance has posted a fact sheet for consumers to answer questions about what their policies cover. The Department of Insurance is here to help. Consumers should contact the Department at 800-927-4357 or online at insurance.ca.gov for assistance on what may or may not be covered by their policies.
Commissioner Lara issued a formal Notice to insurance companies earlier this year reminding them of their legal duty to cover damage from any future mudslide or similar disaster that is caused by recent wildfires that weakened hillsides.
A consumer’s auto insurance policy may cover their vehicle if it is damaged in a flood if they have purchased comprehensive coverage. While only liability coverage is required by law, they should consider comprehensive coverage to protect their vehicle in case of storm damage.
The California FAIR Plan, the state’s insurer of last resort, may have coverage for wind damage if the policyholder purchased extended coverage or if a consumer has purchased a supplemental “difference in conditions” (DIC) policy from another insurance company.
With any storm damage, you should call your insurance company to report it and take pictures and keep records of all clean up and repair costs.
Visit insurance.ca.gov to find more information or to get help in filing an insurance claim.
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Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at www.insurance.ca.gov via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.