Southern Brooklyn

Insurance Companies Draw Line Between Hurricanes And Floods

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Source: vcohen via Wikimedia Commons

Using logic that only makes sense on the 10th level of Hell, some insurance companies have told homeowners affected by Superstorm Sandy that their hurricane insurance doesn’t cover flood damage, according to a report in the New York Daily News. Of course, this comes as no surprise to any of us who’ve been grappling with it from day one.

Focusing on the devastating damage of local Rocakways couple Alex Savoie and Peggyanne Dubra’s home, in which a piece of the local boardwalk smashed into the side of their three story house, the report hammers home the callous and weasley legalese used by insurance companies to stiff them out of a payment. This is a reality faced by thousands of New Yorkers.

Savoie and Dubra, whose insurance company is Allstate, were told that because the huge piece of dislodged boardwalk was caused by flooding waters and not raging winds or falling objects, the conditions specifically covered by hurricane insurance, they were not technically covered.

The ironic thing is that flood damage wasn’t the main cause of damage to the couple’s house. Rather, hurling objects set loose by a flood across the street, caused by Hurricane Sandy, were. These are all events a sane person would conclude to be covered by the umbrella of hurricane insurance.

The actions of these slippery insurance agencies have forced an estimated 220,000 New Yorkers to apply for emergency housing cash from FEMA. The federal organization has already doled out over a half a billion in funds to cover the loopholes insurance companies have used to escape their debt.

Even still, FEMA is not a cure-all, as Savoie and Dubra learned. Because they rent out the bottom floor of their house, FEMA classified their dwelling as a business, even though the home is Savoie and Dubra’s primary residence. The only option available to the couple was to apply for a low-interest loan, a gesture that falls far short of the total overhaul they need to repair the house completely.

Have you found yourself on the short end of your insurance company or FEMA? Check out this local lawyer offering pro bono assistance for disaster victims dealing with FEMA and insurance claims by clicking here. For a comprehensive list of disaster recovery resource information, click here.

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