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FEMA Urges Californians to Consider Buying Flood Insurance Now in Order to Avoid a Legal Battle with Insurance Companies Later

October 27, 2015

This week brings a rare piece of advice from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency to California residents: “Buy flood insurance right now before it’s too late.”

FEMA’s advice comes on the heals of numerous predictions for potential record rainfall for the state of California due to a record El Nino brewing in the Pacific.

Roy Write, FEMA’s deputy associate administrator for insurance and mitigation, warned California residents at a press conference this past Friday that buying flood insurance at the last minute will not protect them with insurance coverage.

“You cannot get flood insurance at the last minute,” says Write. “There is a mandatory 30-day waiting period for new flood insurance policies to go into effect,” he warned.

So exactly how does flood insurance work and how are you covered? Flood insurance, much like earthquake insurance is not an insurance you can buy just before, or during the event being covered. Insurance policies have a 30 day waiting period for both types of insurance before coverage by the newly written policy becomes effective.

While no one can predict exactly when or where a disaster will strike, FEMA officials are concerned that should El Nino bring record rainfall and record flooding, that California residents will find themselves in a legal battle with their homeowners’ insurance companies over flood insurance that may not exist under their current policy - as most homeowners policies do not cover flood damage.

As Write pointed out at Friday’s press conference, flood insurance is funded through the federal government (through a 1968 law enacted when private companies declined to offer policies due to heavy loses).

Write also said that policy prices are meant to be affordable, with residents in high risk regions paying the most ($1,000 per year) and lower risk area residents paying less ($140 to $500 per year).

Write also pointed out in the press conference that flood policies can be bought in one-year increments, and said “If there ever was a year to buy a policy, this would be it.” The attorneys at Howard Law suggest that all homeowners place a 5 minute phone call to their insurance company to see if they are covered for flood insurance under their current policy; if they are not, then now would be the time to ask for that coverage to be added.

As attorney Vincent D. Howard puts it “In this case your best defense is going to be a good offense – be proactive and check what coverage you have and add what coverage you need, to be protected.”

Howard Law understands how to deal with insurance companies, and if you feel your insurance company isn’t providing you with what you were told they would, then you should our law office and let us help you. 1-800-872-5925.