News from Sacramento

So far, 2023 has put us through a lot, weather-wise. We’ve had storm after storm, and while that may be great for our drought-starved reservoirs, it’s taken a toll on many of our homes, neighborhoods, and infrastructure. If you’re cleaning up after the latest round of wind and rain, or shoring up your home for the next storm, there are a number of resources that can help.

Are You Covered?

Most standard home insurance policies cover wind damage, but many consumers are surprised to learn that flood damage may not be covered without a separately-purchased policy under FEMA through the National Flood Insurance Program. If you have questions about your coverage, or want to file a claim, the first step is to call your insurance company. If you’re filing a claim, an adjuster will be assigned to work with you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and make sure that you take notes and keeps copies of documents.

Document the Damage

An adjuster may be sent out to take photos of the damage, but the best thing is to take pictures immediately of the damage done by the storm to show the cause of damage, if possible. For example, if a tree collapses onto your property, take photos of the tree and your belongings before and after the tree is removed. And don’t be afraid to take too many photos. Document the flood water lines, leaky areas, etc. It’s better to have these things well documented so there’s no question. If you are able to collect samples of flood-damaged items, such as curtains and carpeting, and it doesn’t pose a threat to your safety – save them for the adjuster to review.

Secure Your Property

Once you’ve documented the damage, get your property secure. Don’t wait for the adjuster to come out. Clear away the debris, move your car to some place safe, mop away pools of water – do whatever you have to do to protect yourself from greater loss. Keep in mind insurance may not cover ensuing damage if you have not taken steps to protect against subsequent damage.

Stay Organized and Hire the Right Person for the Job

Once you meet with your adjuster and have the damage assessed, you can work with them to have the repairs done. Before choosing a contractor, be sure to check a contractor’s license through California’s Contractors State License Board. You can either call their toll-free number at (800) 321-2752 or visit the website at It’s helpful to get multiple bids, check references, read the fine print and get everything in writing.  

Unfortunately, criminals often take advantage of disasters to scam consumers. To avoid being taken advantage of, ask to see the contractor’s “pocket license” together with other identification. If the person claims to be representing a contractor but cannot show you a contractor’s license or home improvement salesperson registration card, call the contractor and find out if the person is authorized to act on the contractor’s behalf.

California has protections in place to shield consumers from unscrupulous business practices. For example, a contractor is not allowed to charge you a down payment beyond 10% or $1,000 dollars, whichever is lower. To learn more about your rights and helpful tips for finding the right contractor for the job, visit the California Dept. of Insurance website Don’t Get Scammed.

Tax Relief

If you live in a presidentially-declared disaster area and you’ve been impacted by the winter storms, you may be eligible to claim a disaster loss deduction and may have extended time to file your taxes. President Biden’s recent declaration covers a number of counties, including Los Angeles.

Claiming a disaster loss can be done through either the original or amended return. Be sure to write the name of the disaster at the top of your return. You can find the most current state disasters declared by the President and/or the governor by visiting and searching for disaster loss for individuals and businesses. If you’re filing electronically, the software should have instructions to input the disaster details. If you get a late filing penalty or are penalized during the postponement period, just call the number on the notice and request your penalty be abated.

You can find more details instructions on disaster loss claims and taxes at

Tax Extension

The IRS has given Californians in disaster areas additional time to file tax returns and make payments. Individuals and businesses from California have until May 15 to file, if your deadline falls on or after Jan. 8 and before May 15. This includes the 2022 individual income tax returns due on April 18 as well as the quarterly estimated tax payments, which are usually due on Jan. 17 and April 18. More details can be found at

Stay Informed

You can also sign up for emergency alerts to keep informed about weather, health notifications, and updates from local, state, and federal governments. You can sign up by visiting Community Notification Enrollment (

Stay dry, stay calm, and please feel free to reach out to my District Office at (818) 558-3043 or for assistance. I wish everyone a happy and bright 2023.

Assemblymember Laura Friedman