A New York and New Jersey Lawyer Who Represents Policyholders and Beneficiaries in Life Insurance Denial Cases

Hurricane Irene did not cause the devastation and loss of life that was initially predicted, but still, some areas experienced extreme flooding and property damage. One such area is New Jersey, where I am licensed to practice law (along with New York and Massachusetts).

Here are some tips for those who suffered property damage from Hurricane Irene. First comes the bad news. Most homeowner insurance policies cover damage caused by wind, but not water damage from flooding. In fact, flood insurance must generally be purchased from the federal government, since many private insurance companies believe that offering flood insurance is too risky. You may recall that after Hurricane Katrina, many insurance companies refused to pay claims on the grounds that the damage was caused by flooding.

As an aside, this is an example of how the market does not always satisfy our needs as citizens and consumers, and how sometimes government must step in to bridge the gap.

If you suffered compensable property damage from Hurricane Irene, you should take photographs of the damage and also create an itemized list of the property you will be claiming. Gather your receipts so that you can prove the value of lost items.

Insurance companies, under most policies, will reimburse a policyholder for the value of the damaged item, at the time it was damaged. So that $1,000 flat screen TV you purchased 3 years ago — you’ll ultimately receive whatever the present value of the item is. If you decide to replace the item, you can then make a claim for the replacement cost of the item. You’ll usually get paid only after you can produce receipts for the new item.

Don’t get short changed by insurance companies when making property damage claims. You may need to retain an attorney to help you negotiate with the insurance company, if you find yourself making little or no headway.

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