More than a few Southern California homeowners are probably wondering by now if their insurance covers storm damage.
The answer is yes, probably. But not entirely.
Many homeowner policies cover damage from rain and wind. So if you’ve discovered a leak during all this rain, or if a tree has fallen on your house, it’s possible your insurer will help with repairs.
Flood damage is another matter entirely.
Most policies do not cover flooding (unless you’re required to have flood insurance because you live near a coastline or river).
That means if the damage to your home is coming from the ground up, rather than the sky down, you may be on your own.
You can buy flood coverage separately, but, like earthquake insurance, it’s expensive.
Most flood policies will cap damage claims at $250,000 for the structure, and $100,000 for what’s inside the property.
Also, don’t go thinking you can pull a fast one and buy flood insurance as the clouds roll in.
There’s usually a 30-day waiting period for coverage to prevent people from scoring policies while the storm is arriving.
Pro tip: Periodically contact your insurance agent and review your coverage in light of any home improvements or market changes.
Frequently, costs for lumber and concrete can go up after your policy was issued, and you may no longer have as much coverage as you thought.
Ask about add-ons to your insurance that can address unexpectedly higher commodity costs.
And make it a habit every year or so to walk around the inside of your home with your phone and video each room.
Documentary evidence can make things a whole lot easier when your insurer balks at covering your state-of-the-art home entertainment system or mega-stereo.