In soaked California, few homeowners have flood insurance

ACAMPO, Calif. (AP) — On Sunday morning, Kyle Starks woke up to floodwaters that reached the door of his Jeep after yet another heavy rain storm drenched California. Emergency

crews showed up with boats to float Starks and other residents of his rural mobile home park in Acampo to safety. Beyond the physical destruction, the storm could pack a

financial hit: Starks does not have flood insurance. “I didn’t think it would flood this bad,” he explained from an evacuation center, worried that water damaged wiring and

air conditioning equipment. In California, only about 230,000 homes and other buildings have flood insurance policies, which are separate from homeowners insurance. That

means only about 2% of properties are covered against flooding. The federal government is the insurer for the bulk of them – about 191,000 as of December. Private insurers issued

the rest, according to the most recent state data from 2021. In California, 32 trillion gallons of rain and snow fell since Christmas. The water washed out roads, knocked

out power and created mudslides by soaking wildfire-charred hills. It caused damage in 41 of the state’s 58 counties. At least 21 people have died. It takes targeted study

to know the role of climate change in specific weather, but warmer air means storms like the ones that deluged California in recent weeks can carry more water. Yet

California's drought has dulled people's sense of the risk of flooding. People usually buy insurance after disasters when the risk is visceral, said Amy Bach, the executive

director of insurance consumers group United Policyholders.