There are many people who suffered significant property damage when hurricane Sandy blew through New York on October 29 and 30, 2012.
I am one of those people.
A massive tree in my front lawn toppled over and crushed my garage, blew out windows, damaged both of my cars and damaged my roof. In most homeowner insurance policies, there is a standard deductible for any property damage. This means that before the insurance company kicks in and begins paying for your damages, you, the homeowner, are required to pay first.
The amount of your deductible will depend on your specific policy and what you contractually agreed to.
Years ago, when insurance companies suffered massive losses as a result of natural disasters, they decided to create something known as a “hurricane deductible.” This was designed to get a homeowner to pay substantially more money than they would otherwise ordinarily pay for their deductible. It was designed to limit and decrease the amount that insurance companies would ultimately have to pay to repair damaged homes.
The hurricane deductible in New York was designed to be a percentage of the home's assessed value. Typically that would be anywhere from 1%-5%. In other words, if your home was valued at $500,000, and your deductible was 5%, you would have to pay $25,000 out of your own pocket to fix your property damage first before the insurance company would pay a single dime.
Most New Yorkers did not pay much attention to that provision in their homeowners insurance policy since they never expected a hurricane to barrel through New York.
Governor Cuomo, together with the New York State Insurance Department has mandated that insurance companies who ensure homeowners in New York waive that hurricane deductible. This is a remarkable thing which will save homeowners tremendous amounts of money.
Property insurance companies are now required to only ask for your standard deductible payment before they contribute and pay for the remaining amount of your damages.
I congratulate Gov. Cuomo for this bold step. I for one am appreciative of this effort as we begin our repair efforts and put our lives back to normal.
Now if only LIPA (Long Island Power Association), our electric company, could do the same and live up to their promise to provide homeowners with electricity that we have rightfully paid for, that would make a lot of people, including myself extremely happy. Having had no electricity at home for 12 days straight and with temperatures dropping into the 30s, this is getting old really fast.
The governor has also set up a hotline in the event viewer insurance company disputes with Gov. Cuomo has done and you are encouraged to call them and e-mail them if your insurance company does not comply.
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