Calif. Residents Reminded Fire-Ravaged Areas Could Possibly Be Hit with Floods

December 27, 2004

As winter storms approach California, homeowners in fire-ravaged areas are cautioned to guard their homes against the destructive power of flash floods, according to the Insurance Information Network of California (IINC). Recent fires have reportedly stripped hills of natural vegetation, raising the potential for catastrophic losses.

Most homeowner insurance policies 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 reportedly 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 the 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 the 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.

Though flood insurance is not included in a standard homeowner policy, it can be purchased through an agent from the National Flood Insurance Program. Premiums start as low as $300 for every $100,000 in coverage. While flood insurance can be purchased at any time, there is a 30-day waiting period before the coverage takes effect.

Landslides are not covered under a standard homeowner policy or a flood insurance policy. Inspect the land, and watch for trouble spots. Contact a specialist if seeing signs of loose soil.

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