CASTELLI: INSURANCE CLAIMS, GUIDELINES,
CRUCIAL IN RECOVERY
In the wake of the devastation left behind by Super-storm Sandy, Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli (R, C – Goldens Bridge) is reaching out to members of the community with crucial insurance claim information that will be critical to individual efforts to repair, recover and rebuild.
“Since the night of the storm, I’ve been busy traveling around from ice distribution centers, to town halls, to emergency operations centers, to shelters and have maintained constant contact with NYSEG, Con Ed, and the Governor’s office assisting in the coordination of repair and recovery efforts from the storm,” Castelli said. “While we are anticipating a protracted period without power and all indications from Con Ed and NYSEG indicate that this period may go through the 7th to the 9th of November before a full restoration, we need to look at the potential for recovery and the critical issues for repair and replacement once we are returned to a condition of normalcy.”
Prior to the hurricane, Assemblyman Castelli sent out an automated call to the entire district advising people of the nature of the emergency and helpful tips and phone numbers in the event they found themselves without power.
“Sandy has now been determined to be the worst of these storms to hit our area in decades and restoration of safety has been the primary concern for police, fire, EMS, municipal officials and public utilities,” Castelli said. “Once safe conditions are restored and road openings have been completed, power restoration will begin.”
Each day, Assemblyman Castelli and all the municipal officials throughout Westchester hold conference calls with the Westchester County Office of Emergency Management, NYSEG and Con Ed to obtain updates of the specific conditions needing to be addressed in each community.
Castelli noted there are several important points we need to consider to recover damages from our insurance companies and several important guidelines to follow when attempting to repair homes and other damaged property that is covered under one’s insurance policy, including:
Permanent repairs to damaged property should not be undertaken until one’s insurance carrier is sent to survey the damage, and many pictures should be taken for reference;
While the extent of widespread damages may delay the ability of an insurance carrier to dispatch a claims adjuster to one’s home, property owners should use caution when engaging with a public adjuster, as they are entitled to a portion of the claim settlement. It is advisable to receive an assessment from your carrier and only turning to a public adjuster if you feel that your carrier is low-balling your claim;
Due to the fact that Sandy made landfall as a hurricane in New Jersey and not New York, it is important to review the clauses involved in any hurricane deductible arrangements between you and your insurance carrier; and
As flood insurance is not covered under standard home insurance, but rather issued through FEMA under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), property owners should contact their carriers to delineate how to properly file flood-related claims. In order to avoid problems that arose in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, property owners are advised to obtain copies of all information used in an adjuster’s claim evaluation as well as their name and contact information.
Should the Department of Financial Services (DFS) be deployed to assist local property owners, important contact information is as follows:
DFS telephone numbers for consumer assistance: 800-342-3736, 212-480-6400, 518-474-6600;
DFS Storm Hotline: 800-339-1759; and
DFS Disaster Assistance web link: http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/disascon.htm.
Important links for homeowners filing flood claims include:
NFIP Homepage: http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/;
After a flood: http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/preparation_recovery/after_a_flood.jsp; and
Filing a claim: http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/preparation_recovery/file_your_claim.jsp.
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