April 21, 2023 - With the extraordinary rain and snowfall this season, the risk of spring flooding due to snow melt, as well as roof collapse due to snow build up, is very high. The melting snowpack can cause dams and levees to breach, and rivers and lakes to overflow. Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is urging Californians to understand the extent to which their property insurance covers this type of damage.
Many people may not be aware that homeowners’ and commercial insurance policies typically exclude flood, mudslide, debris flow, and other similar disasters, however they do typically cover roof collapse and related ceiling damage. Further, the California FAIR Plan, currently does not cover any storm-related damage including snow damage unless a consumer has purchased a supplemental “difference in conditions” (DIC) policy from another insurance company.
Flood insurance is typically purchased separately from homeowners’ insurance. Flood insurance is available through the Federal Flood Insurance Program and must be in force for 30 days prior to a flood, so experts are suggesting consumers, including those in traditionally low-risk areas, consider purchasing flood coverage before warm weather begins to melt the snow.
The Department of Insurance encourages consumers to review existing homeowners’ coverage to make sure they understand what is and is not covered when floods resulting from snowmelt, or roof collapse due to snow accumulation, occur.
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.
Check out this Flood Insurance fact sheet for more information. The Department of Insurance can help consumers with insurance coverage or claim questions. Contact us at our consumer hotline at (800) 927-4357 or online chat at www.insurance.ca.gov.
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.