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State to answer insurance questions for residents facing flooding

May 09, 2017 07:14 PM

There’s good news for folks in Greece: Insurance help is rolling into town in an RV. The New York State Department of Financial Services will park its RV at town hall Wednesday to answer your insurance questions from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

After the rain and flooding of the last few days, many western New York residents have lots questions. For answers, News10NBC talked to the Insurance Information Institute, a non-profit group that follows insurance trends and promotes public understanding of insurance.

This wet spring has been especially difficult for lakeside residents. For days homeowners have watched, waited, and prayed for the wind and waves to stop.

“It's really stressful the waves pounding and shaking the house. It's really been stressful," said Mark Barrett, a Greece homeowner.

It’s stressful because it’s his home - likely his most expensive asset. And as residents watch waves pound, they ponder how much repair is going to cost.

"Nobody knows how expensive this is going to be. Flood insurance won't cover it if it's not the structure or the building," said Michael Ronan of Greece.

He's right. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the damage to his land and dock will not be covered by flood insurance -- only the structure. But at least he has flood insurance, so many we've talked to do not. That's because many don't realize that your homeowner’s policy doesn't cover flooding.

"If there’s a rising body of water rising from the ground up, it's considered flooding," said Loretta Worters, vice president of the institute.

Worters said water from saturated soil seeping into your basement, an overflowing river, or waves from Lake Ontario are all considered flooding and require a flood policy.

But according to the institute, in 2015 only 14 percent of homeowners had flood insurance. Last year, even fewer had it -- only 12-percent. The institute believes rising cost is the reason why many choose not to get coverage.

But if there's anything that the weeks of rain has taught upstate New York residents, it’s that our lakeside neighbors are not the only ones at risk. Super soaking spring time weather potentially affects us all.

The institute recommends that every homeowner consider flood insurance. The annual premium for a basic low risk policy through the government's flood insurance program is $112.90. But it increases with your level of risk.


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Deanna Dewberry

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