With El Niño expected to bring a whole lot of water to the Southern California region this winter, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is advising residents to take the extra precaution and purchase flood insurance before the water hits.
Current predictions for El Niño
According to current predictions from NASA and NOAA, this winter’s El Niño is expected to be the most powerful storm of its kind to ever hit the state. Historically speaking, the rainiest time of the year in California is during the month of January, which means there is little time left for homeowners to get a policy in place before this rainiest time of the year hits the area. Of course, flooding can happen at any time, but the likelihood is even greater during the state’s El Niño years.
How to Protect Your Home
For most homeowners throughout the country, flood insurance is not automatically included in the policy. This extra coverage must be purchased as a rider. Since adding this coverage can take a bit of time to complete, with most taking 30 days to go into effect, it is important to purchase the coverage ahead of time rather than waiting until the last minute. This means that now is the time to purchase the coverage.
Of course, flood insurance is not cheap. Nationally speaking, the average premium is about $705. In California, the figure creeps higher to approximately $850. The higher prices in California are due to the fact that homes in California are more costly than the rest of the United States, making the cost of replacing them much higher. For residents seeking flood insurance coverage for a business, the cost can run substantially higher. Factors such as the location, the type of business and the items that are located in the building will all have an impact on cost.
The cost of flood insurance coverage is also impacted by the zoning of the home. Residents that are in low to moderate risk flood zones, policies may be available for anywhere from $150 to $450. If your home was recently mapped into a high-risk flood zone, you might be eligible for a discount through a special program. Prices do vary, however, those who are eligible for this discount typically pay anywhere from around $160 to $500 for coverage.
Given the recent housing boom in Southern California combined with the prolonged drought throughout the state, many homeowners who have recently purchased a property may not realize they are living in a flood zone. With the most recent major El Niño event taking place in 1997/98, those who purchased a home after those dates may also not fully realize how the storm may affect their home. It is also important to note that flood hazards are changing on a regular basis due to both natural and man-made changes, so flood zones can change.
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