If you’re a property owner in New York City, you already know the high cost of insurance in the city. If you have a mortgage on your property, you also know that property owners in a high flood-risk zone are required to purchase flood insurance. In October, FEMA announced it will revise its flood maps for New York City, following the 2015 appeal by Mayor Bill de Blasio that challenged the addition of 35,000 buildings to the highest flood-risk zones.
For anyone that suffered damages in Superstorm Sandy, you are probably aware that your homeowner or commercial business policy does not cover your property or contents for flood damages. In a July, 2015 report form the U.S. Geological Survey, it was estimated the aggregate losses in New York totaled $23 billion as a result of Superstorm Sandy. In addition, Superstorm Sandy produced the highest water levels on record in New York.
As a policyholder advocate, I worry that property owners will face another storm such as Sandy and not have the levels of insurance to cover their property for a loss. FEMA and NYC will take climate change and the future risk of sea level rise into consideration as the flood maps are reassessed, but how many property owners will be left vulnerable if they drop their flood coverage and a storm comparable to Sandy in size and strength hits the city again? As always, read your policy of insurance and know what you are insured for. If no longer required to carry a flood policy, realize that your homeowners or commercial business policy will not cover you in the case of flood or storm surge damage. And if you are still required to purchase a flood policy, make sure to discuss amounts and levels of coverage based on the value of your property. It might be in your best interest to purchase additional coverage for flood.