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Consumer Confidential: Stormy tips for homeowners, unwelcome news for drivers

December 22, 2010 | 10:19 am

Stormpic Here's your wet-wet-wet Wednesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

-- With SoCal getting yet another drenching, here are some timely tips for homeowners. First of all, most insurance policies for homes will cover damage from wind or rain. So if your roof or skylight starts leaking, or if, God forbid, a tree falls on your house, you'll probably be OK, money- and repair-wise. The real curveball comes from flooding. If the water outside rises and comes in under the door, say, you might be on the hook for any resulting damage unless you also have flood insurance. Similarly, most homeowner policies don't cover mudslides, so that's something else to consider. California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner advises homeowners to carefully inventory their possessions -- a simple videotape will usually suffice -- so that you're in a better position to deal with insurance investigators if the worst should transpire.

-- And here's some unwelcome (but unsurprising) news for all you drivers. This week's storms will leave their mark in the form of hundreds or even thousands of new potholes throughout the region. Bill Davis, executive vice president of the Southern California Contractors Assn., tells me that this happens every time we get a serious soaking. He says this is because we've got a whole lot of sand beneath the pavement, and when it rains, that sand turns to mush. "And when that happens," Davis says, "you get holes in the pavement." So how long will it take to fill in all those nasty potholes? "The rest of our lives," Davies replies. "It's a constant thing here." Heads up, gang.

-- David Lazarus

Photo: It's important to prepare for the worst when storms hit. Credit: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times