Some Thoughts On Flood Insurance In California

flooding I live in California, and it has been raining for days on end. This is the most rain, and the longest rainfall for consecutive days, that I have seen in the five years that I’ve lived in California. This is the sort of weather that makes citizens of sunny California wonder if they need flood insurance.

I am not a native Californian. I grew up in the Midwest, where what I think of as “real weather” actually happens. I’ve experienced rain that lasts for weeks on end, and loud and booming thunderstorms that knock out all the power for entire neighborhoods for a whole night and part of the next day. I’ve driven through worse rain than what we are experiencing this week, without a worry.

But, this is California. The slightest drizzle causes people to huddle in bookstores, and sit on the floor, like refugees from a hurricane. I’ve watched people stand, in shock, staring out the windows of a store, dumbfounded about how they were going to get home, now that it is raining a bit hard. I’ve seen adults run through the rain, to go from one store to another one that is only about seven steps away. It is as though these people are, in fact, made of sugar, and terrified that the rain will make them melt away. I am willing to bet that some people here are convinced that they will see The Arc floating by, in the slightly flooded streams.

In other words, it appears that these people, who hardly ever experience anything but sunny weather, have no idea about some basic, common sense things, that have to do with rainy weather. Fortunately, those who have homes located in flood plain are required to purchase flood insurance, just in case. But, many may be unaware that flood plains are not set in stone, and can change over time. If you’ve been in your home for a really long time, you should talk to your insurance company, and see if your risk of experiencing a flood has changed.

You will need a flood insurance policy to cover the damages caused by high water, due to a flood. A typical homeowners insurance policy isn’t going to cover that. Another thing to keep in mind is that there isn’t any form of insurance that will cover the damages caused by a mudslide. Mudslides do happen out here when it rains excessively. Another possible misconception is that buying a flood insurance policy means that it instantly takes effect. In reality, it takes around a month before the policy will begin to provide coverage.

These are some of the things that I would consider common knowledge. Not sure that many of the locals really understand these concepts, though. After all, the local paper had to point out to people that they shouldn’t go swimming in the overfull creek right now, because of the sewage that has gotten in there due to flood waters that have risen over the level of the sewers.

Image by Jessica Merz on Flickr