Climate experts are predicting a near 100% chance of a strong El Niño for California later this year. Although there is no guarantee that the expected El Niño will bring rain to California, even the possibility is welcome news to Californians coping with the ongoing drought.

If a strong El Niño impacts California with powerful storms, then the number of property damage claims will certainly go up. Homeowners often contact our office with questions about storm-related damage. Most frequent are calls concerning water intrusion caused when rain finds its way into the interior of the home, usually first through the roof. Not all homeowners realize that, with respect to water damage from rain, insurance coverage is not automatic. The majority of homeowner policies specify that for water damage brought about rain to be covered, the storm must have damaged the roof or walls of the property first, allowing rain access into the home. An example of a covered clam is where wind blows away roof shingles or tiles which allows rain to penetrate into the home. If damage preceding the rain is absent, then chances are there will be no coverage for any ensuing water damage.

Many times claims made for water damage after a storm are denied by insurance companies based on wear and tear to the roof. While that may not be true in every case, it is prudent for the homeowner to inspect or pay someone to inspect the roof every so often, especially if the roof is nearing the end of its useful life. Some preventative maintenance or repairs to the roof not only can reduce the likelihood of water damage from rain, but when there is damage, it takes away some of the guesswork as to cause and possibly the wear and tear exclusion.

The drought is getting bad in California, so much so many homeowners have resorted to spray painting their lawns green since watering has been curbed substantially. Anyhow, it will be interesting to see whether the scientists making the El Niño predictions are right about this year.