El Nino and Flood Insurance
Meteorologists predict El Nino will likely bring heavy rains and flooding to many areas in the state. Flood damage is not covered by traditional homeowners’ insurance. Flood insurance is only available through the National Flood Insurance Program and there is a 30 day waiting period before the policy is effective. Californians living in areas with any risk of flooding should purchase flood insurance through the NFIP immediately. Learn more at https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/.
Fire Insurance: California FAIR Plan
With increased losses, due to more frequent and more severe fires, some insurance companies are not renewing policies or restricting where they write new policies. Consumers should always shop around for homeowners’ insurance. If they cannot find standard coverage they should ask an insurance agent or broker about the non-admitted (surplus lines) market.
The Legislature also established an insurer of last resort for Californians unable to find standard home insurance. Californians unable to find standard home insurance are entitled to purchase fire insurance from the California FAIR Plan. They can contact the FAIR Plan at https://www.cfpnet.com/.
The California Department of Insurance website provides a number of tools on its website to help consumers understand home/residential insurance so that they can make the best decision for their situation, including informational guides, a premium comparison tool, and a new coverage comparison tool that allows consumers to compare differences between insurance policies offered by insurers. Visit www.insurance.ca.gov for more information.
Insurance Questions and Complaints
The California Department of Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357 or www.insurance.ca.gov can assist consumers with questions about their insurance and coverage.