I was driving in my old neighborhood of Hermosa Beach, California, the other day and reminisced about living close to the ocean. During my drive I observed signs much like the one depicted here:

I have seen tsunami warning signs before and know they are commonplace in coastal communities. I didn’t take much notice of them back then, but since I now concentrate primarily on property insurance law, matters that involve homeowners and insurance coverage always seem to emerge in my thoughts.

Not all homeowners know that damage caused by tsunamis is not covered under standard homeowners policies. Most policies exclude water damage resulting from waves, tidal water, floods and the like. Tsunamis for the most part cause flood damage and therefore, only a flood policy would offer protection and coverage for physical damage to a structure or personal property.

Despite living in areas vulnerable to tsunamis, relatively few people have flood coverage. Certainly, one has to individually evaluate the pros and cons of purchasing flood insurance. Usually the cost of additional insurance and the probability of a natural disaster such as a tsunami are determining factors.

Flood policies are available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which is administered by FEMA. For those who are interested in finding more about flood insurance, information can be found on FEMA’s website.