Homeowners urged to buy flood insurance before El Niño strikes

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants Californians to buy flood insurance ahead of the predicted torrential rains from the strongest El Niño conditions in nearly 20 years.

“We encourage everyone to take the threat seriously,” FEMA’s deputy associate administrator for insurance and mitigation Roy Wright said during a news conference last week. “If there ever was a time to buy flood insurance, this is that time.”

Flood losses are not generally covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy, unless they are added by an endorsement. Flood insurance typically takes 30 days to take effect.

The persistent drought has changed the California landscape hardening the ground and drying up vegetation that has fueled wildfires.

“It’s almost like asphalt,” Wright said of parched earth.

Earlier this month, a downpour unrelated to El Niño trapped nearly 200 cars and trucks in mudslides along Interstate 5 and Highway 58. A taste of the potential havoc El Niño could bring this winter.

Read more at LA Times.com