Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano announced today that New York homeowners will not be responsible for hurricane deductibles on insurance claims that are being filed on the heels of Hurricane Sandy.
County Executive Mangano said that Governor Andrew Cuomo informed the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) that Hurricane Sandy did not have sustained hurricane-force winds when it made landfall in New York, therefore insurance deductibles would not be triggered. DFS then notified officials for the insurance industry that homeowners should not be responsible for paying the deductibles on their policies.
“This announcement is really great news for many homeowners who I am sure were concerned about the extremely high costs of deductibles for insurance claims from Hurricane Sandy,” said County Executive Mangano. “Every little thing that works in the favor of homeowners is a blessing. The devastation of this storm will be felt for weeks to come as people attempt to reclaim their lives. Having to pay exorbitant deductibles on top of the costs for personal loss would be adding salt to the wound.”
Many downstate homeowners have insurance policies that contain hurricane deductibles based on a percentage of a property’s insured value. The deductibles can range from one percent to five percent of that value. Therefore, a home insured for $300,000 with a five percent deductible would be required to pay the first $15,000 of the costs of damage. Insurers will be monitored by DFS to ensure that claims are being handled properly and that they are responding in an expeditious manner once a claim has been filed. DFS will be sending its mobile command center to areas that have been hardest hit to assist claimants with answering questions and handling problems.
DFS urged property owners who experienced losses to file insurance claims with their insurers promptly. They advised that homeowners have their policy number and all relevant information handy when filing the claim. All damages must be documented with photos or videos that illustrate the extent of the loss prior to clearing any of the damage. Only repairs, like broken windows, that are necessary to prevent further damage to property, should be undertaken. Permanent repairs should not be made until insurers have conducted a complete inspection. Any personal property that has suffered damage should be retained until an insurance settlement has been reached.
County Executive Mangano reminds homeowners to be cooperative and to maintain a log of all conversations they have had with their insurance agent, including the agent’s name and dates and times of the calls or visits. Those with flood damage should make claims through their flood insurance which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a federal program.
DFS has activated a Disaster Hotline to handle consumer questions and assist with problems. That number is 800-339-1759 and is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 am to 8 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm. Homeowners who are unable to resolve disputes with insurers can file complaints at http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/fileacomplaint.htm.
For more information on hurricane recovery efforts, please visit www.nassaucountyny.gov/hurricane or follow Ed Mangano on Facebook and Twitter.
Non-Emergency Hotline 1-888-684-4274