Calif. Hillside Residents Urged to be Prepared for Storms

February 3, 2004

As winter storms hit Southern California overnight, homeowners in fire-ravaged areas were cautioned to guard their homes against the destructive power of flash floods. Recent fires have stripped hills of natural vegetation, raising the potential for catastrophic losses.

Most homeowners insurance policies reportedly protect against rain and wind damage and burst or frozen pipes, but damage caused by flooding is covered only through a flood insurance policy. By taking a few simple precautions, homeowners can protect their property and prevent storm damage.

— Place sandbags strategically around the property to help divert natural flows of water from the hills and to protect areas where water could enter the home.

— Learn how to drain the swimming pool, and be prepared to reduce its water level as storms approach. Water damage from overflowing pools is not covered in your homeowners policy.

— Inspect any storm drains located on the street near the home. If they appear clogged or congested, report them to the city’s public works department.

— Inspect the trees on the property. Remove or cut back any branches that are rotted or could fall on the house.

— Inspect your roof for leaks and have them repaired immediately.

— Check the water pressure level in the house. If the level is too high, it could cause cold pipes to burst.

Finally, landslides are not covered under a standard homeowners policy or a flood insurance policy. Inspect the land, and watch for trouble spots. Contact a specialist if signs of loose soil appear.

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