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Consumer Alert Helping Californians recover from winter storms

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Consumer Alert for Helping Californians Recover from Winter Storms

March 20, 2023 - With winter storms continuing throughout the state and threatening homes and property, it is crucial California residents understand their recovery options following winter storms.

Many people may not be aware that homeowners’, renters’, and commercial insurance policies typically exclude flood, mudslide, debris flow, and other similar disasters, however they may cover water damage from wind-driven rain that occurs during a storm and damage from fallen trees.

The California Department of Insurance has posted a Top Ten Tips for People Affected by Winter Storms to answer questions about what consumers’ insurance policies may cover.

Consumers can take the following steps to recovery after a winter storm:

  • Obtain complete copies of your insurance policy and see what type of storm damage is covered.

  • Consult with your agent or insurance company to see if damage caused from fallen trees are covered under your insurance policy.

  • Check if damaged vehicles as a result of flood or fallen trees are covered under the “comprehensive” or “other than collision” portion of your auto policy.

  • Check your deductible and assess the situation. If the damage is below the deductible, the insurance company would not be obligated to pay. Of course, move forward to report the damages to your insurance company if the damages exceed your deductible.

  • Make temporary repairs to prevent your property from further damage. Take pictures and keep records of all clean up and repair costs. Don’t make permanent repairs until the insurance adjuster sees the damage.

  • Document all of your conversations with your insurance company/adjuster about your claim and policy limitations in a dedicated “claim diary.” If your adjuster says something is excluded, limited, or subject to certain conditions, ask the adjuster to point out the specific provision in your policy being cited.

The Department of Insurance can help consumers with insurance coverage or claim questions. Contact us at our consumer hotline at 800-927-4357 or through online chat or email at


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 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.

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