After Sandy, state waives hurricane insurance deductibles

Crews clean up trees felled by Sandy along Crews clean up trees felled by Sandy along Tullamore Road in Garden City. (Oct. 31, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/ Audrey C. Tiernan

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State officials said Wednesday that consumers in New York wouldn't be required to meet hurricane deductibles when seeking reimbursement for damages from superstorm Sandy.

Spokesman David Neustadt of the State Financial Services Department said it held discussions with State Farm and other insurers, and they have agreed to the waiver.

In some cases, the deductible may not have been triggered anyway, said Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute in Manhattan. An Allstate spokeswoman said winds must exceed 100 mph, a speed not recorded in New York for Sandy, for its deductible to come into play.

Since the 1990s, most homeowner policies have included hurricane deductibles typically equal to 1 to 5 percent of an insured home's coverage. Those are in addition to basic deductibles in most policies -- typically $1,000, Crowley said.

In a statement issued Wednesday evening by the office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Benjamin M. Lawsky, superintendent of the financial services department, said, "We have informed the insurance industry that hurricane deductibles are not triggered because Sandy did not have sustained hurricane-force winds when it made landfall in New York."

The department has set up a disaster hotline at 800-339-1759.

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Homeowners unable to resolve disputes with insurers can file complaints at http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/fileacomplaint.htm.

 

Tom Incantalupo

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