What You Need to Know About Flood Insurance as Storms Hit

The first of what's expected to be a series of major storms smacks into Southern California and forecasts suggest the coming months will bring a lot more of the same.

That means the risk of your home or car suffering flood or other weather-related damage could rise just as quickly as the water — but will your insurance cover your losses?

The I-Team says there's a strong chance the answer is no.

"A pipe burst, a break in the wall, that kind of water damage to your structure would be covered, but water from outside rising and flooding your home, is not covered," said Allstate Insurance agent Brenda Harries.

That's why the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is now urging Californians who don't have a separate flood insurance policy to buy one.

The average annual premium in the U.S. is about $700, depending on your home's level of risk, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. Insurance agents say renters can benefit from buying the insurance too.

"FEMA has different flood maps that determine what flood zone you're in, then that zone determines what your premium is," said Harries. "Two inches of water can cause up to $8,000 in damage to someone's home, so it can add up quite quickly."

Rising water can also inflict major trauma on your car, but here the news is better, as long as your policy includes comprehensive coverage, which usually will cover storm damage.

In California, comprehensive coverage will run you about $98 a year, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

To find out if your home is located in a flood risk zone, you can use this interactive tool.

To see the costs associated with flooding damage here.

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