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The old saw, "if it's not one thing it's another," is alive and well in California as we rebound from drought induced wildfires to potential El Niño induced flooding. It was only a few weeks ago that we were concerned about wildfires and the ability of insurance customers to process and collect claims. (See our blog entries on "Special Procedures Adopted to Speed Insurance Claims in Valley and Butte Fires" on October 15, 2015, and "Living Expense Benefits for Wildfire Evacuation Victims" on September 13, 2015). 

This week the California Insurance Commissioner issued a news release warning Californians to review their flood insurance situation - "El Nino predictions bring advice to consider flood coverage," October 26, 2015. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is warning that El Niño driven storms could cause flooding in water-starved California, and Federal Emergency Management Administration officials have suggested that consumers consider buying flood insurance. California Insurance Commissioner Dan Jones reminds homeowners that flood damage is not covered by traditional homeowners insurance.

Commissioner Jones stressed that: "Flood insurance may be all that stands between you and devastating financial losses. I'm concerned that the above average temperatures that we have seen this fall could lull consumers into a false sense of security and that is dangerous. California has seen historic floods caused by devastating El Niño-driven storms in the 1980s and '90s. Heed the warnings and take steps to protect yourself and your biggest asset - your home."

The Commissioner's news release states that: "Flood insurance is only available through the Federal Flood Insurance Program," and that such insurance must be in force for 30 days prior to  a flood. So you should not wait until just before a storm hits to consider your options. 

And here are a few other tips: Review your existing homeowners policy to make sure you understand what is covered and what is not covered when rain storms cause damage apart from flooding due to rising water. Use your smart phone to do a home inventory and to document your possessions and then store that information in the cloud. Scan your deed, insurance policy and other important documents (including auto title documents and auto insurance policies) and store them in the cloud for access after the storm.

Don't be like so many consumers who fret about these issues only when the rains are falling. Consider them now, when you can make a thoughtful and fully considered decision.

For all of your insurance needs - life, home, auto, fire, flood, commercial - contact Pfeifer Insurance Brokers for prompt, courteous and knowledgable assistance.

Alex Pfeifer
Pfeifer Insurance Brokers
650 762-8070
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