As floodwaters rise in California, flood insurance covers few homeowners

Flood insurance - Home near rising waters

Rainstorms have been soaking the state, placing property owners at risk of uncovered water damage.

Throughout the entire state of California, only about 230,000 homes and other properties are covered by flood insurance policies.

This coverage is not included in standard home policies, leaving Californians vulnerable.

Therefore, only about 2 percent of California properties have flood insurance coverage against rising waters from storms such as those that have been soaking the state in recent weeks. For most of the properties that are covered, the federal government is the insurer. About 191,000 of the properties covered against flooding are insured by the federal government’s program, as of December 2021, the most recent data available. The remainder of the coverage is sold through private insurers.

Flood insurance - Policy for insurance

Since Christmas 2022, California received 32 trillion gallons of rain and snow. It has knocked out power, created mudslides in regions recently parched and burned by wildfires, and roadways have been washed out. Of the 58 counties across the state, 41 have experienced damage from the recent rains, and at least 21 people have been killed.

As a drought-stricken state, many homeowners haven’t seen the value in flood insurance coverage.

California has experienced years of droughts, causing its residents to feel as though the risk of being impacted by flooding was slim or even non-existent. The majority of people will purchase coverage after having recently seen a disaster nearby or experienced it for themselves. They need to have felt the risk for themselves, said a recent report in The Associated Press.

As a result, without having experienced a history of flooding, most property owners across California have not felt that they would benefit from spending money on the premiums associated with a policy for coverage against overland floodwaters.

That said, even though most properties in California are far from being labeled as high risk flood zones by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) zoning maps, the recent rainstorms that have consistently struck the state have revealed just how quickly and intensely a situation can change. Drought-stricken California has greatly underestimated its risk of flooding. Now many are taking a second look at the importance of flood insurance in the face of heavy rains.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.