Insurance Commissioner Urges Flood Insurance as El Nino Threatens
El Niño is on its way and promises to bring record-breaking precipitation to California and other southwestern states this winter. Recently, California state insurance commissioner Dave Jones urged consumers to consider flood insurance before El Niño hits.
Flood damage is not covered by a standard homeowners policy and is now one of the most uninsured natural disasters in the United States. According to government data, 10% fewer home and business owners are carrying a flood insurance policy then in 2014. Shockingly, 86% of Americans take a pass on flood insurance.
Experts predict the flood insurance gap will continue to grow as consumers drop flood coverage in an attempt to save money. The cost of flood insurance has increased dramatically since the Biggert Waters Act went into effect. The dramatic premium increases were necessary to make the National Flood Insurance Program financially viable.
Experts say that because it has been awhile since the last major hurricane, people have forgotten or downplayed the incredible damage that a serious storm and flooding can do to their homes and communities. A long period without significant flood damage often leads people to question whether they actually need a flood insurance policy.
It’s not only the California insurance Commissioner who is urging Californians to consider flood insurance, FEMA has also issued warnings. “If there was ever a time to buy flood insurance, this is the time,” said Roy Wright FEMA’s deputy associate at a recent press conference.
FEMA is even recommending flood insurance for homeowers that live in low or moderate risk areas. Wright reminded homeowners that time is of the essence as flood insurance has a 30 day wait period before it goes into effect.
While flood insurance can be expensive it is often the only thing that stands between homeowners and financial ruin. Floods can cause devastating damage and rebuilding a home without insurance can bankrupt most people.
Weather experts say that above normal sea surface temperatures will affect rainfall distribution in the tropics and there is a good chance that El Niño will last throughout the entire winter. Currently this year’s El Niño is considered among the strongest on record and is predicted to influence weather patterns this winter.
Climatologists are predicting that the first round of storms will start to appear November 1 and due to the severe drought conditions that have hit California in the last few years the ground will not be able to absorb all of the rain which could lead to severe flooding.
Flooding Safety Tips from FEMA
- A mere 6 inches of moving water can knock a person down, and 2 feet of water can sweep a vehicle away.
- If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground. Flash floods are the #1 cause of weather-related deaths in the US.
- If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, it is safe to abandon the car and move to higher ground. If the water is moving, do not leave the car.
- Know where to go if a flood strikes. It may be necessary to reach higher ground quickly on foot.
- Build an emergency preparedness kit. It should Include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
- Disconnect electrical appliances and never touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
- If instructed by authorities turn off your gas and electricity at the main switch.
- Return home only when authorities say it is safe.