Sunday, June 6, 2010

Spring storm damage a harsh reminder of insurance needs Storms that hit New Jersey in March caused an estimated $45.5 million in damage in Bergen County. For some homeowners, damage to their property was covered by insurance; for others, it was not. With concerns among some scientists that climate change will increase the severity of storms, now might be a good time for homeowners to check on what their insurance covers, and consider buying added coverage.

"We represent multiple insurance carriers doing multiple things," said David Sayles of Sayles Insurance Services in Glen Rock. "Some offer very broad policies that cover everything under the sun; others write a traditional homeowners policy with limits. No one policy can cover all exposures. You should try to look at a contract and buy the broadest coverage you can afford. You don't want to leave yourself with a $10,000 uncovered loss."

On the other hand, there can be a fine line between what's covered and what's not. "Flood is traditionally an excluded coverage under a homeowners policy," Sayles explained. "This is not recent, it's forever, and I've been 26 years in the business. If water comes up through the floor, it's a flood. But some companies will provide coverage for sump-pump failures. You can add sump-pump coverage to a base policy, and a preferred policy throws some in automatically, but some companies don't offer sump-pump coverage."…

Sayreville, NJ, April 15, 2010 -- Carpet damaged by flooding in mid-March. FEMA Community Relations specialists are going door to door to inform residents about the assistance available. Michael Medina-Latorre/FEMA

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