Thursday, March 16, 2017

Flooding - California’s Real and Present Danger

It never rains, it pours. The rains that have hit California so hard over the last few months have caused major flooding and damage across northern parts of the state. The Governor’s office says that the cost of repairing flood damaged roads, dams and other infrastructure could be over $1 billion. Just the cost of repairing the Oroville Dam spillway could top $200 million. While all these numbers point to the magnitude of the problem, they do not include the damage and property loss that individuals and businesses have suffered.

What the State Government Says

The California Department of Water Resources says that “every year millions of Californians are at risk from flooding along thousands of miles of streams, rivers, lakes and coastline.” It goes on to say that no one can predict when flooding will occur – it could be a regular event or occurring after a gap of many years. What can be stated with certainty is that lives will be lost, homes flooded, damaged and destroyed, jobs and income lost and ecosystems damaged. Since 1950 flood disasters have been declared in every county in the state at least 10 times. Some counties have had up to 29 state and federal disaster declarations.

The Low Flood Risk Myth

Living in a low flood risk zone can instill a false sense of confidence about the why you do not need flood insurance. Low risk does not mean no risk. Those living outside high risk zones file over 20% of National Flood Insurance Program (NIFP) claims and receive one third of flooding disaster assistance. Bad drainage, heavy rain, snowmelt, and even something as basic as a broken water main, can cause flooding and severe damage. If you live on a hillside you may not be at risk of water damage, but a mudslide (covered by most flood insurance policies) could damage or destroy your home. The bottom line is that no one is completely safe from the risk of flooding. Being at low risk means only that the chances of being affected by flooding is lower. Are you willing to take a chance with your home and your family’s security?

Taking action to protect your home and family from the effects of a flood is not something to be ignored. You may think your homeowner’s insurance policy will help you to recover from a flooding event. But generally speaking, a standard home insurance policy will not cover flood damage and loss. And even if some protection is available, it may not be enough to help your family get back on their feet after the kind of major property and financial loss that a flood can cause. Flood insurance usually requires a separate policy and navigating through the often confusing world of insurance can lead to mistakes that you may only realize when the time comes to file a claim. That is why calling in on an insurance agent to check to see if you have the flood protection you need is the safest way to keep your home and family secure.

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