SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Many in San Jose’s flood zone are now wondering how they’ll pay for the damage.
Flood insurance may come to the rescue, for some.
One San Jose resident said, “It’s never been this bad.”
While he is counting his blessings — unlike his neighbors — his home narrowly escaped the flooded Coyote Creek.
He’s still overwhelmed with regret, saying, “That’s the main thing that kept me up last night, I was thinking that may have been the worst decision you made in your whole life, not to get that flood insurance.”
He’s lived here for 18 years and for most of them had to have flood insurance.
Homeowners in a high-risk flood zone, with a federally backed mortgage — most mortgages — are required to purchase flood insurance.
But he recently paid off his loan and owns his home out right, so when it came time to decide on flood insurance this year
“Decided, you know what, I don’t think I need it,” he said. “I think I’m going to call my insurance guy and say, hey is it too late, can I buy it now?”
And he’s not alone
“I don’t have flood insurance, but I do have insurance,” said another resident.
Unfortunately, a traditional policy won’t cover flooding.
The average residential flood claim is $43,000 and the average flood insurance premium around 700 a year.
And while much of the affected area in San Jose is a designated high-risk flood zone, many of the 14,000 evacuated do not have a mortgage, so flood insurance would not be required.
And renters are not covered under their landlords’ policies.
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said, “The federal or state government is not going to replace your home.”
Which is why Jones urges anyone, anywhere near a waterway to get flood insurance, even if it’s not required.
Jones said, “Though they may be outside of the map flood zone the water is going to go where the water is going to go.”
According to FEMA, 20 percent of all national flood insurance claims come from moderate to low risk areas.
Homeowners policies don’t cover flood or earthquake damage.
You can purchase flood insurance at any time, but there is a 30-day waiting period before a new flood insurance policy takes effect.
So even if you purchase it today, it won’t kick in before the next forecast storm.