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Foothill residents concerned about insurance

February 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
As some residents in La Canada Flintridge clear out mud and debris from their homes, many are wondering what will be covered by insurance, if anything.Many of the homes on Ocean View Boulevard suffered some sort of damage from the mudslides. Not only have houses been damaged, so have many of the vehicles along the street. Many of the homeowners have been calling their insurance companies, hoping to find out if they'll pay for it all.

"My agent called, and she said, 'You're not covered for flood,' and I told her that I'd call her back, and we'll go around and around for sure," said La Canada Flintridge resident Jeff Schroeder.

Schroeder is just one of many La Canada homeowners having the same discussion with their insurance agents, all wanting to know what damages suffered from the weekend rains, floods and mudslides are covered by their policy.

"Unfortunately, there is very little coverage when it comes to mudslides and landslides. It's a whole different issue, and in California, very few policies will cover that, so if homeowners had that type of damage, it might not be covered," said Pete Moraga of the Insurance Information Network.

However, if it's determined that the home and all of its contents were destroyed by flooding and they have a flood insurance policy, they might be covered.

"We do have flood and we do have the homeowners, so we're hoping between the two of them, we can at least get some assistance," said Cecilia Nava, a La Canada Flintridge resident.

While some houses may not be covered by insurances, chances are, cars most likely are covered, if they have comprehensive coverage.

"Mudslide damage, water damage, flooded cars, if a tree falls on a car, if a car crashes because it was carried by mud, in most cases, that kind of damage is covered by the comprehensive policy," said Moraga.

But for some of the storm victims, their only hope is that this area is declared a federal or state disaster. In the meantime, for homeowners like Skeet McCauley, it's only their own back-breaking work that can get their home back to normal.

"Friends, a pick, a shovel, that's how it's going to happen," McCauley said.

For the homeowners who are not covered at all by insurance, they may qualify for quite a deduction on their federal and state income taxes, but they will have to sustain substantial damage in order to get that.


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