Most standard homeowners' insurance policies do not cover flood damage, an important issue to consider as property owners struck by Superstorm Sandy begin filing insurance claims.
When Sandy struck the East Coast on October 29, it caused a considerable amount of wind damage as well as flooding. New York City saw the worst of it, with the southern tip of Manhattan facing a record 13-foot storm surge. Water flooded subway and vehicle tunnels, rail yards and roads. The storm wreaked havoc across New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina – causing property damage in as many as 24 states.
It is estimated that as many as 200,000 wind damage and 20,000 flood damage insurance claims will be filed, though the numbers may be higher when all is said and done. It is difficult to say exactly how many property owners were affected by the post-tropical superstorm, though the total economic damage is estimated to equal more than $50 billion. This number includes both property damage as well as lost business caused by power outages, flooding and travel restrictions.
With all of these losses, property owners will be looking to their insurance providers to pay their claims in a fair and timely manner. But what happens if their insurance policies do not cover flood damage? Many homeowners are surprised to find that their policies do not cover this type of damage, which can be extremely expensive.
Even a few inches of floodwater can cause thousands of dollars in damage, with residential flood claims filed from 2007 to 2011 averaging nearly $30,000 a claim, according to the National Flood Insurance Program website.
Because of the high cost of flood damage, private insurance companies have had trouble staying in business when they offered flood coverage. Created by Congress in 1968, the National Flood Insurance Program is a government-backed insurance carrier that handles this type of insurance. Because it generally takes 30 days for a policy to go into effect once purchased, homeowners are advised to purchase flood insurance well before the hurricane season starts.
Though it may be too late if you did not have flood insurance coverage and your home or business was struck by Sandy, you are not necessarily out of options. Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik, LLP is currently representing policyholders across all states that were hit by Superstorm Sandy, and we can help with denied, delayed and underpaid claims for wind and flood damage. In fact, we recently launched a new website dedicated specifically to this topic. You can learn more about filing a claim for damage caused by this storm and what to do if your insurance provider is not treating you in a fair manner. Visit our Superstorm Sandy insurance claim site here: www.insuranceclaimlawsuit.com. You can also call our New York City headquarters at 888.870.2757 for a free initial consultation.