If you’ve lived in California, you know that the state can be literally shut down due to the rain. We’re not talking about just traffic, we’re talking about how rain causes system failures and havoc in our parched desert land of Southern California. When it rains, even our underground phone lines go haywire. As we enter an El Nino year, the rainy season of winter has begun and within the first rains, Southern California is already experiencing property loss and devastation in various communities.
The downpour of rain from last Thursday evening into Friday morning was so heavy that the ground became saturated in various communities. In the community of Camarillo Springs, many homeowners are experiencing a total loss from mudslides and rocks from the hills above. The first reports of burglaries were reported this morning. Homeowners of properties that have been red-tagged are re-entering their home to collect whatever possessions are salvageable only to find they are also theft victims.
On August 5, 2014, I blogged about California Monsoonal Weather Brings Mud Property Damage to Southern California, But Is It Covered Damage? In that blog I discussed the difference between mudslides and mudflows. After the events of the last week in Camarillo Springs, it is likely that most insurers will look at the situation and deem this as "mudslides" over "mudflows" due to the amount of land coming down from the mountain above. Again, I remind homeowners that mudslides are often considered earth movement, so a regular homeowner’s policy will not cover the damage from the mudslide without an earthquake policy in place. Having the right insurance policy and finding the exact cause of damage for the insurer to afford coverage properly under a homeowner’s insurance policy is key for those devastated in this community.
With last week’s rains, freak tornados appeared in South Central Los Angeles while Newport Beach communities experienced a water spout which dumped water into communities, causing structural damage and power outages in its paths. Californians are shy about the rains because our communities have such adverse effects after our hillsides were just destroyed by the wildfires this fall. More rain is predicted this week and we are looking forward to our reservoirs filling to end the long drought in California. As we leave 2014, it’s time for Californians to take a hard look at their insurance policies to see if they are adequately covered in the event of extreme weather, because we are just beginning the El Nino rainy season.