Friday, January 22, 2010

It's snowing, hows your insurance?

It's snowing here in Yucaipa and that is pretty rare for us to have it stick.

So what about your insurance? If a tree, overburdened by snow, dropped a limb on your roof and damaged it you would be covered, even if it fell on a car parked in front of your home or on your neighbor’s property.

If you were in a car accident, you would be covered too.

What about when the snow melts? Do you live near a mountain side, a creek, or a low lying area? What if water, mud and other debris flow into your house?

You would most likely have little if any coverage.

Why? Because that is the definition a flood. Water flowing into your dwelling from outside, then receding or flowing back out. Homeowner’s policies do not cover flood and in California earthquake damage is also excluded. You have to buy these two policies separately in addition to your homeowners insurance.

But you are not worried. Your realtor would have told you if you were in a flood area, right? Certainly your lender would require flood insurance if you needed it, wouldn't they?

Ask the people of New Orleans. Many lenders did not require flood insurance on homes that were in a flood plain. Insurance carriers like State Farm and Allstate blamed as much damage as they could on flood waters so that they could avoid paying out.

Also, with revised flood maps, many homeowners are getting letters from their lenders saying they need flood insurance now when they have not required it in the last 5, 10 or 20 years. Adding to the anxiety is they very definition of a flood. Look at it again. It's says any water, debris, etc. flowing into a structure from outside. It does not define a cause. You could have a broken water main up the street, a fire hydrant get hit by a car, and you have a flood.

It's worth checking with your agent or your county flood control office to see what type of flood zone you are in and the decide if you want or need flood insurance. Many of us will be just fine with out it. But be aware of what your homeowner’s policy covers and what it does not.

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