Thousands of people have suffered severe property damage following Hurricane Sandy, one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit the East Coast. In the wake of this storm, insurance companies are estimated to be liable for $10-20 billion in insured losses.
December 4, 2012 — Disputes likely to arise about whether insurance covers Hurricane Sandy damage due to wind or flood. Click here to read more.
November 30, 2012 — New York Governor Cuomo announces new rules to help regulate and expedite adjustment of Hurricane Sandy insurance claims. Click here to read more.
November 28, 2012 — New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance has received 491 complaints, including 17 formal complaints that have been assigned investigators. Many complaints involve insurance companies that are failing to act quickly to help insured homeowners. Click here to read more.
November 27, 2012 — Was your Hurricane Sandy insurance claim denied or rejected? Click here to read more.
November 26, 2012 — Insurance companies are estimated to be liable for $22 billion in insured losses. Click here to read more.
November 14, 2012 — Flood insurance claims to the federal National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are expected to exceed $7 billion, which is much higher than the $3 billion in debt the program is allowed to add to its $18 billion debt following Hurricane Katrina. More than 115,000 Hurricane Sandy insurance claims have already been filed, and thousands more are being filed every day. Click here to read more.
November 6, 2012 — With insured losses expected to be between $10-20 billion, it is possible that claims will exceed available funds. Many claims could be denied or under-compensated in the coming months, as hundreds of thousands of claims are filed.
Hurricane Sandy was a deadly, late-season hurricane that carved a 900-mile path of destruction across the East Coast on October 29, 2012. Some of the hardest-hit areas were low-lying coastal communities in New Jersey and New York, vulnerable to the storm surge (unusually high sea-levels spawned by hurricane-force winds offshore).
Hurricane Sandy was unique in many respects. The hurricane converged with a massive, low-pressure Arctic storm system, and it occurred when a full moon brought unusually high tides. Unlike most other East Coast hurricanes, which approach from the south and have a relatively small storm surge, Sandy veered west and aimed directly at New Jersey and New York, bringing a storm surge that reached 12.5 feet in some areas.
Approximately 100 people died during the storm or in its aftermath. Sections of the New York City subway system were flooded with corrosive saltwater. The electricity went out for at least 8.5 million people. Fuel shortages crippled the region’s economy. Thousands of people also suffered property damage.
Was your Hurricane Sandy Insurance Claim Denied?
Hurricane Sandy is estimated to cost the East Coast $50 billion in damage, including $10-20 billion in insured losses. As thousands of people seek compensation for their property damage, most expect their insurance company to act in “good faith” and compensate their claim fairly. Unfortunately, insurance claims are not always compensated fairly. Commonly overlooked or under-compensated damages may include:
- Loss of personal property (such as food, clothing, etc.)
- Structural damage to your home
- Exterior property damage or clean-up
- Removing fallen trees, debris that caused damage
- Roof damage
- Wind damage (broken windows, etc.)
- Fire damage
- Loss or damage of a vehicle
- Water damage from rain, floor, or storm surge
- Electrical, plumbing damage
- And more
No Hurricane Deductible for Sandy Victims
A unique aspect of the Hurricane Sandy disaster was that it was not actually a hurricane when it made landfall. Just before hitting New Jersey, Hurricane Sandy was downgraded to a “Post-Tropical Cyclone” because it did not have “sustained, hurricane-force winds.” Although the technical difference didn’t make a difference to the people in its path, the distinction is important for insurance coverage.
Most insurance companies require homeowners to pay a hurricane deductible (usually about 1-5% of a home’s value) before the insurance policy kicks in and pays for the rest of the damage. However, because Sandy was not technically a hurricane, government officials in New York and New Jersey have said that homeowners should not have to pay thousands of dollars in hurricane deductibles.
How to Protect Your Insurance Claim
Experts recommend taking the following steps to help protect your claim and ensure you are compensated fairly for your property damage insurance claims:
- File your claim with your insurance company promptly after the loss
- Provide all policy numbers and relevant information for the loss
- Only make necessary repairs to protect your property from being damaged further (for example, boarding up a broken window). Do not make permanent repairs until your insurance company inspects the damage
- Document the loss. Keep receipts. Take photographs or video before you clean up the damage. Keep documents in a safe place.
- Keep damaged property until after you reach a settlement for its value.
- Keep a diary of your conversations with your insurance company — including the name of the insurance agent, time, date, and subject of the conversations