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.
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Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP)
Phone: 1-800-434-0222 or (213) 383-4519
Web site: www.healthcarerights.org
If you have questions about Medicare, call the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program. HICAP has highly trained staff and volunteers that provide free, unbiased individual assistance with all types of issues affecting people with disabilities. They have offices in every California County.
CARe, Inc. (Community Assisting Recovery)
1-888-216-8264 OR 1-800-748-9791 (leave a message)
CARe’s mission is to provide FREE comprehensive information about disaster recovery -including the insurance claim process – to disaster victims so they may effectively reestablish their homes, lives and communities. Navigating the maze of recovery is an overwhelming task to many survivors. We help ease that burden by educating people so they can help themselves through the process. All CARe volunteers and staff have lost their homes and successfully recovered from fire or earthquake disasters. They’ve been there and understand the needs of disaster survivors. It is the passion for “paying it forward” that draws survivors back to our organization to help survivors of the next disaster.
CARe’s website is filled with helpful tips and links. For a list of their downloadable/printable handouts, go to:
California Department of Insurance
Wildfire Consumer Information
Phone: 1-800-927-HELP (4357) (Calling from within CA), 1-213-897-8921 (Outside CA), 1-800-482-4833 (TDD) Web site: http://www.insurance.ca.gov/wf-con-info/index.cfm
Consumer Communications Bureau (Hotline) The Department’s statewide toll-free consumer Hotline, 1-800-927-HELP (4357) provides callers with immediate access to current information on insurance issues. The Hotline is staffed by knowledgeable insurance professionals who can answer questions, give direction, and provide assistance to consumers who are experiencing insurance related problems or concerns. By calling the Hotline, a consumer can ask questions on insurance claims and underwriting practices as well as check the license status of his/her insurance company, agent, or broker.
Consumer Hotline: 1-800-927-HELP (4357) 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. M-F
The website has a number of printable/viewable PDF format files on subjects that include Insurance Company Contact Info (updated 9/1/09); Homeowner Bill of Rights for Insurance Emergency; How to File a Complaint or Send an Inquiry to the Department; Important Insurance Tips; Information Guides; Useful Links to Other Agencies Providing Assistance to Firestorm Victims; Frequently Asked Questions; and Wildfires: What to do – Before, During and After
Contractors State License Board
Web site: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/
The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) protects consumers by licensing and regulating California’s construction industry. There are more than 316,000 licensed contractors in the state, in 43 different licensing classifications. In addition to educating consumers about contractors and construction law, CSLB activities include administering examinations to test prospective licensees, issuing licenses, investigating complaints against licensed and unlicensed contractors, issuing citations, suspending or revoking licenses, and seeking administrative, criminal, and civil sanctions against violators. In FY 2007/08 CSLB obtained more than $35.2 million in ordered restitution for consumers.On this Web site you can find educational materials about hiring contractors and the construction process. You can also check the status of a contractor’s license, find other important Contractors License Law information and file a complaint.
LA County Consumer Affairs (Contractor Fraud)
Inside LA County: 1(800) 593-8222
Outside the County: (213) 974-1452
Web site: http://dca.lacounty.gov/
Better Business Bureau:
Phone: (909) 825-7280
Web site: http://www.la.bbb.org/Home.aspx
Unfortunately natural disasters sometimes bring out the worst in some people – people who take advantage of those who have already been hard hit by flood damage to their homes by inflating prices for materials and repair services and providing substandard workmanship. When considering hiring any particular contractor, be sure to get and check references from them get a written contract specifying a price and start and end time for the work, and make no payment until after work is completed. If you have any doubts about a specific contractor or believe that you have been the victim of fraudulent business practices by a contractor, contact your county Department of Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau for assistance.