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Homeowners endure long fight with insurers over hurricane damage

Homeowners all along the East Coast continue to struggle to get the compensation that they are entitled to under the National Flood Insurance Program following the tremendous damage done by Hurricane Sandy late last year. The National Flood Insurance Program is a government insurance pool that is administered by private insurance companies.

As many Florida residents know, flood and disaster insurance can be a tricky business and insurance companies will often seek to deny claims based on technicalities. In many flood insurance policies, there can be a dispute over what exactly is covered and how much it will cost to get the building back into pre-storm conditions. For older properties or buildings with unique elements like ornate woodwork or detailed brickwork, adjusters may not adequately estimate the full scope of the cost to restore the structure.

However, once an adjuster has entered an estimate it is often difficult to get the company to change the total payout for the repairs. In one case, a family who was affected by Hurricane Sandy says that an adjuster came to their home and made an estimate that was a fraction of what it would cost to make full repairs to the 1860s home they live in.

Particularly for homes, the delay in successfully getting a fair insurance payout can be extremely costly if mold or mildew set in and cause further damage to a structure. Many homeowners are forced to make the initial repairs out of pocket for fear of too much time passing and the damage becoming irreparable. Meanwhile, there is no guarantee that the insurance company will agree to pay for those repairs

Source: New York Times, "Fighting the Insurer Over Hurricane Sandy Damage," Tara Siegel Bernard, March 1, 2013.

More information about homeowners insurance claim denials can be found on our Florida insurance claims site.

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