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Should you consider flood insurance for home?

December 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Many people are taking a closer look at their insurance policies after Wednesday's devastating floods and mudslides. Some things may be covered, others won't be.Jody Greeves has lived in Laguna Canyon for 16 years and see says she's seen it all.

"Between the fires, the mudslides and now this. It's been like every 10 years there's something," said Greeves.

These past three days the canyon was hit as hard as ever by Mother Nature. So was Silverado Canyon in Orange County and Highland in the Inland Empire. Damage to homes and businesses is estimated in the millions of dollars. Unfortunately insurance will not cover most of it unless the owners had flood insurance.

"If you have rising water or mud flow -- in other words, the river of water that we've seen go through homes -- for that you need flood insurance," said Candysse Miller, executive director of the Insurance Information Network of California.

Miller says a homeowners policy is limited when it comes to flooding and mud.

"Homeowners insurance covers wind-driven and rain-driven damage to your home," said Miller. "So that's like if a tree falls on your home from a storm or you've had damage to your roof from wind, that's your homeowners policy."

One Laguna Canyon home suffered some damage but if the damage was caused by mud or a landslide, then the family here would not be covered, even if they have flood insurance. There is no coverage for mudslides or landslides.

Jody Greeves thinks she has a way around the mudslide issue.

"Now we've learned of a new word. It's 'debris flow,' it's not a mudslide, it's not a flood, it's debris flow, and your insurance will pay for that," said Greeves.

Flood insurance is relatively inexpensive but it does take 30 days to get it. And by the way, cars that are damaged, no matter what caused it, if you have full coverage on your policy, your insurance company should pay for it.


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