Over the past month, California has received some record-breaking rain and snowfall. Throughout one weekend, the Lake Tahoe area received 16’ of snow. In Colorado, recent wildfires were limited because of a storm. For many states, the wet winter is a blessing. Those farmers that have been struggling due to droughts and water restrictions will be able to increase production, which will also provide some relief for consumers at the grocery store. Additionally, those states that struggle with wildfires will benefit from greener trees and grasses.
Something to consider when these storms hit is flooding. For those states, like California, heavy rainfall may cause mudslides because of wildfires. One thing that often occurs when heavy storms move through your area is clogged storm drains. When driving, you may have noticed a small “lake” form around a storm drain after a storm. These clogs are caused by falling leaves, sticks, trash, etc. Whether these clogs occur in your neighborhood or on the road to work, they present a flood exposure. This exposure is not limited to traditional flooding.
Depending on where you live, you may have been required to purchase flood insurance by your lender. This requirement is based on the floodplain/flood zone developed by FEMA. Recent events have forced FEMA to review these zones. You may be familiar with these flood events – Houston, Natomas, New Orleans, etc. Your commercial property and/or homeowners policy excludes flood coverage. According to California’s Department of Insurance, flood is defined as “A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) from:
• Overflow of inland or tidal waters
• Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source
• Mudflow – Mudflow is defined as: “a river or liquid and flowing mud on the surfaces or normally dry land areas such as when earth is carried by a current water. Landslide, slope failures, or saturated soil moving down a slope are not mudflows.” (“Flood Insurance Fact Sheet”)
Although your lender may not require flood insurance nor you are in a flood zone, you may want to consider purchasing flood insurance. When speaking of these storm drain clogs, this may result in a flood claim under what California defined as “unusual and rapid accumulation…of surface waters.” (“Flood Insurance Fact Sheet”) Consider a clog that occurs in a storm drain, and the water accumulates causing water to enter your garage of an inch. Now it may only be an inch, anything on the floor may be damaged or ruined. Additionally, if you have a finished garage, the water may cause damage to your drywall resulting in mold or dry rot. Under your homeowners, this claim would be declined because the cause of the damage was a result of a flood. Without flood insurance, you would be responsible for the items and/or damage.
Now, we (Northgate) do not want to scare you into purchasing another policy if it is not needed. We ask that you consider your exposure. If you are concerned, please reach out to your agent or contact Northgate for any assistance. Flood insurance is administered by the federal government and pricing is flat depending on the amount of coverage. Northgate just wants you to protect your assets and consider your exposure.
“Flood Insurance Fact Sheet.” California Department of Insurance, www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/140-catastrophes/FloodFacts.cfm