Two weeks ago Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced that, just as those in New Jersey, Maryland, and Connecticut, homeowners in his state will not have to pay hurricane deductibles for their Sandy-related claims.
Speaking to the press, Governor Cuomo said, “Homeowners should not have to pay hurricane deductibles for damage caused by the storm and insurers should understand the Department of Financial Services will be monitoring how claims are handled.”
Many homeowners insurance policies in the affected region contain hurricane deductibles which are based on a percentage of the property’s insured value, typically from one to five percent, so on a home insured for $300,000, the homeowner could have to pay the first $15,000 of damage.
For those affected by Hurricane Sandy, however, New York Financial Services Department Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky (and his counterparts in the other affected states) have informed the insurance industry that since hurricane force winds were not sustained when the storm made landfall, the hurricane deductible did not apply.
Lawsky also spoke to the press, saying, “We will be working with insurers to help them respond as quickly as possible to homeowners who need to file claims. And we will be sending our mobile command center to hard hit areas to help consumers with insurance questions and problems.”
Insurance regulators across the eastern seaboard are urging homeowners who experienced losses to file their insurance claims as quickly and completely as possible, and to have pictures or videos showing the extent of the losses made before any cleanup is undertaken.
As well, regulators advise, only those repairs necessary to prevent greater damage to the property (like fixing broken windows) should be delayed until after insurance adjustors have inspected the damage. Likewise, damaged personal property should be kept until after a settlement has been reached.
Homeowners are also cautioned to cooperate with their insurance provider, and to keep a log of all conversations with the insurer, including the name of the person they spoke with, and the times and dates of all calls or visits.