We have been wondering if we should buy flood insurance. Here is what we have learned so far. This info might be helpful to those with houses still standing in Big Tujunga who are concerned about flooding and debris.
Our house probably won’t have water coming in, but we are worried about mud and rocks. Flood insurance won’t cover mud and rocks unless it’s a cubic acre or more of it coming down (so the policy seems to say–another policy from floodsmart says ‘two acres’ of mud, but many landslides are specifically excluded–read it here ).
Another paragraph in the floodsmart policy says
“We do not insure for loss to any building or personal property located on land leased from the Federal Government, arising from or incident to the flooding of the land by the Federal Government, where the lease expressly holds the Federal Government harmless under flood insurance issued under any Federal Government program.”
All of these things make it pretty clear that we would not be covered by flood insurance unless our house was close enough to water to be completely inundated, so I asked about Fair Plan’s coverage.
Here’s what one agent said:
“The FAIR plan was helpful in researching the rocks. We studied the policy and decided it would provide coverage if the proximate cause of the falling rocks was Wind, Hail, or Fire. Rain and flood would not be covered.
We don’t have any easy solutions. Neither policy is designed for tumbling rocks caused by rain. The park rangers say there won’t be mud problems and hopefully they are right.”
I responded that the fire would indeed be the ‘proximate cause’, because it burned the vegetation that formerly supported the mud and rocks, so the agent called Fair Plan back, and here’s what he gathered:
Esty [CFP] went into more detail. If it can be proved that a falling rock was proximated by fire burning away the vegetation, then a case could be made for paying a claim. There is no time limit. Esty cited a December fire in the hills above a house. March rains caused mud and rocks to fall on the house. The claim was paid.
This agent was especially helpful. His info is below.
Brian Kinney, CSA
Broker Intermediaries Insurance Services LLC
1041 East Green Street, Ste. 203
Pasadena, CA 91106
More info he gathered for me:
NFIP Claims department was helpful. These are the people who pay flood claims every day, so they know exactly what to look for.
A rock pulled down the hill as part of a mudslide would be covered as “Flood Debris”, but it would require two acres of mud. A rock that tumbled down the hill by itself, even on a rainy day, would not be covered by a flood policy. The rock would need to cover two properties or two acres.