New York Hurricane Insurance Laws – What you need to know:

There are two main causes of damage for those who own property in New York state that was in Hurricane Sandy’s path: damage caused by wind and damage caused by flooding. Whether one is covered by resulting damage from wind or flooding may be different depending on who the policy is through and what the terms of each particular policy are. However, standard homeowner’s policies will cover damage caused by wind but not by flooding. If damage to one’s house, or other attached structures, is caused by wind, the cost of one’s deductible is based on whether the storm was classified as a hurricane.

“New York Hurricane Insurance Laws”

Hurricane deductibles are problematic for most as they are calculated as a percentage of the dollar amount coverage of a house. In most cases, those who make an insurance claim to fix their house find that they have to pay thousands of dollars to cover their deductible when a hurricane hits. In New York state, hurricane windstorm deductibles have been approved by the Department of Financial Services in two cases:

• Category 1—or higher—hurricanes making landfall anywhere in the state as determined by the National Weather Service.

• Category 1—or higher—hurricanes making landfall outside the state but have created losses within New York state.

Luckily for residents of New York state, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared that Hurricane Sandy did not make landfall as a hurricane. Therefore, insurers are unable to charge more expensive, hurricane deductibles to those making claims. Unfortunately, Governor Cuomo’s declaration that wind velocity did not reach hurricane status does not help those who did not have flood insurance.

“New York Hurricane Insurance Laws”

If you did not have flood insurance, there are a couple of things you need to know. First, you may qualify for loans to help you rebuild from organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program (FEMA) or the U.S. Small Business Administration. Also, in situations where the cause of damage is in dispute, one should hire an attorney to argue that wind was the proximate cause of the damage, even though flooding may have been a contributing factor. While some insurance policies have exclusionary clauses which address these situations, not all do. It would be in one’s best interests to hire a professional to make such an argument.

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