Most New York City basic property insurance plans don’t cover flood damage from tropical storms like Ida, but that’s not always hopeless.

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Abandoned cars are left on a flooded highway, as local media reported the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida bringing torrential rains and the threat of flash floods and tornadoes to parts of the north-central Atlantic, in the Queens neighborhood of New York in September. 2, 2021. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

  • New Yorkers may be wondering what to do if their insurance policies don’t cover flood damage.

  • Insurance claims are very situational based on factors such as location, risk, and total damage.

  • It helps to know what an insurance plan covers and what federal programs are meant to help those facing property damage.

  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

Many are still reeling from Tropical Storm Ida that swept through the New York metro area on Wednesday evening. Poignant videos show people wading through their apartments filling with water.

But what happens when you examine hurricane or tropical storm damaged items and wonder if insurance can help you recoup your costs? In short, the devil is in the details of your policy.

Take the example of New York, which is no stranger to severe hurricane weather. Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast hard in 2012, causing more than $ 70 billion in damage. New York’s ever-changing flood zones and unpredictable weather conditions have made it difficult for insurance companies to provide properties with comprehensive coverage against extreme weather conditions.

Few insurance policies for New York properties cover damage caused by flooding caused by hurricanes. Policies can also contain confusing language that has exceptions or weird rules. For example, many policies cover what are called “risks” or things that cause damage to what a person owns. But while “risks” may cover accidental flooding caused by a burst pipe, they do not include natural disasters.

“Let’s say your apartment is flooded from a weird storm surge – anything damaged is on you and is not covered by your insurance agency,” he states on Lemonade’s website. Insurance. “Flood insurance goes beyond the coverage of a standard home insurance policy,” according to Geico. Insurance companies like Liberty Mutual and Allstate have made similar warnings that exclude damage from massive storms.

In most cases, flood and wind coverage, which are two separate policies in themselves, are in addition to typical home and tenant insurance plans. These plans need to be added and can cost hundreds more per year. It also takes around 30 days to take full effect, which means previously uncovered New Yorkers who experienced Ida flooding are out of luck.

“Most people don’t understand their insurance policies, most people don’t read their insurance policies,” David Paige, a national insurance expert based in the New York area, told Insider. “Maybe the first page where it shows the main information and the cost, but they make a lot of assumptions about their insurance and sometimes they get it wrong.”

Filing a request for emergency assistance

It is important to read your insurance policy to spot gaps and shortcomings that can cost a tenant or owner hundreds or thousands of dollars. But for those looking for damaged property without the necessary insurance plans, there may still be another remedy before paying out of pocket.

People can file claims with emergency organizations like FEMA that work in New York City. For example, the National Flood Insurance Program maps areas prone to flooding and offers flood insurance to homeowners, tenants and business owners to help mitigate disaster relief efforts and increased recovery costs. Fortunately, the service is currently available in 1,466 communities in the New York City area.

“The best thing for people to do is file a complaint [with emergency relief organizations] and see what happens, “said Paige.” It’s a much better idea than assuming they don’t have the blanket. “

People work their way through precipitation from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on September 1, 2021, in the Bronx neighborhood of New York City.

People work their way through precipitation from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on September 1, 2021, in the Bronx neighborhood of New York City. David Dee Delgado / Getty Images

Going forward, Paige also suggests that homeowners and renters find an independent insurance agent who can better educate an insured on what’s included in an insurance plan and which business insurance plan is right for you. better.

New York also has several organizations that provide resources to help defend the rights of tenants and tenants across the city, such as the New York Legal Assistance Group, IMPACCT Brooklyn, and The Actor’s Fund.

“There are a lot of people in the New York area who have helped people, like charities,” Paige added.

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