FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
INSURANCE DEPARTMENT ADVISES CONSUMERS TO BE PREPARED FOR FLOODS AND HURRICANE SEASON
Superintendent Gregory V. Serio today advised New Yorkers to be prepared this hurricane season by reviewing their insurance policies to ensure the protection of their houses and businesses in the event of a flood.
"In the wake of the severe flooding experienced in Florida, Louisiana and Texas as a result of Tropical Storm Allison last week, we would advise that New Yorkers take the time now to review their insurance policies and contact their agent or company representatives with any questions," Serio said.
Hurricane season, which started in June and ends in November, can result in tremendous property damage, so consumers are encouraged to review their insurance policies to make sure they are adequately covered. In addition, because standard homeowner policies do not include coverage for flood damage, it is important that homeowners and business owners review their need for flood insurance."
Flood insurance policies insure against damages due to:
The partial or complete flooding of normally dry land from the overflow of inland or tidal waters;
Unusual and rapid accumulation of runoff of surface waters from any source;
Mud slides or mudflows that are caused by flood;
The collapse or destabilization of land along the shore of a lake or other body of water, resulting from erosion, waves or water currents exceeding normal cyclical levels; and
Damage from sewer backup is covered only if it is caused directly by flooding. Some insurers that issue homeowners policies will sell, on an optional basis, sewer backup coverage.
Homeowners insurance policies typically cover damage to your home as a result of such perils as wind and falling objects, while policies for coastal area residents may have a separate windstorm and/or hurricane deductible. Coastal area residents may need a separate flood insurance policy for protection against wind-blown water damage.
Superintendent Serio recommends that consumers take necessary precautions before and after a hurricane and/or flood. To assist in proving a claim to your insurer, it is important to keep a written inventory of household possessions, receipts for the purchase of items, and/or a videotape or photographs of your household and possessions. If property damage occurs consumers should contact their individual insurer representatives as soon as possible. Also, every effort should be taken to protect their homes from further damage, such as covering any roof damage that has occurred as a result of the storms. Permanent repairs should wait until the insurance companys adjuster has inspected the property.
Flood insurance is available throughout New York State to homeowners and businesses in communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). For information about flood insurance and additional information on hurricane preparedness, consumers can contact the NFIP at 1-888-CALL-FLOOD or on their web site at www.fema.gov/nfip.
In addition, the Insurance Departments toll-free hotline offers assistance with hurricane-related insurance inquiries or complaints. The toll-free number is 1-800-342-3736. The Departments hotline is staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. by insurance experts from the Departments Consumer Services Bureau. Also, visit the Departments Web site www.ins.state.ny.us for more information about storm preparedness.