As New Jersey was pummeled by ‘SuperStorm Sandy,’ some reporters were already investigating the financial fallout the storm could have on New Jersey businesses and families. Although Burlington County may not have been hit as hard as the rest of the New Jersey Shore, reports out of Philly.com indicate the clean up could be enormous for the county as it assesses the damage of hundreds of damaged homes and buildings due to the high winds and toppled trees and utility poles. Numerous homes have been damaged around the eastern shores and thousands are still without power.
One report claims that homeowners and business hit hardest by the storm will likely feel the brunt of the financial impact. The storm’s damage could reach as much as $20 billion in financial losses, with less than half that amount likely to be covered by insurance. The storm will have not only an emotional toll on families and individuals but likely a financial toll as well. Much of the damage will not be covered by renters, property and homeowners insurance as much of the damage can be blamed on flooding, which is not covered in many of these policies.
The nation has experienced numerous hurricanes and super storms in the past, and as many people may recall, there was a lot of debate surrounding damage from Hurricane Katrina being contributed with flooding versus high winds. Wind damage is generally covered by most policies, whereas flood damage often needs specific insurance coverage. According to the president of the trade group Insurance Information Institute, that question was answered when it was decided that a storm surge was and is a form of flooding, thus leaving many homeowners and businesses without critical insurance to cover their losses.
For homeowners and residents already struggling with financial challenges, this storm could just push many over the financial brink. It is important to understand your legal rights when it comes to insurance policies and seek assistance if you feel it is needed. It may also be beneficial to seek the advice of a bankruptcy attorney sooner rather than later if you may be facing a major financial loss in property and want to learn what your options are to either avoid a foreclosure, or get out from a mortgage where you owe more than the home is worth.
In times of distress such as these knowing all your options could be your first step towards recovering from the storm’s devastation.
Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek, “Storm-Surge Damage May Not Be Covered by Some Insurance,” Karen Weise, Oct. 30, 2012
Our Burlington County, New Jersey law firm helps businesses and individuals experiencing financial difficulties understand their debt relief options. Please visit our New Jersey Bankruptcy website if you would like to learn more.