It looks like Irene turned into a tropical storm before reaching Long Island's shores ["Tales from the tropical storm," News, Aug. 29]. Depending on their insurance coverage, Long Islanders may have dodged a gigantic financial bullet.
Most homeowner's policies have a 2 percent or 5 percent hurricane deductible. That's a percentage of what your house is insured for. So, if you have a 5 percent hurricane deductible, and your house is insured for $300,000, then your insurance company won't pay for any hurricane damage to your home that is less than $15,000!
In most but not all cases, tropical storms don't trigger hurricane deductibles, which means that the insurance companies should be paying for all damage to homes above the standard deductible, which typically is $500 to $1,000. That's a much more affordable position to be in.
We should all contact our State Assembly representatives and senators to tell them to get the insurance companies to offer "buybacks" of our hurricane deductibles, as they do in other coastal states. For a reasonable additional premium, we could reduce the hurricane deductible of many thousands of out-of-pocket dollars to our regular, $500 to $1,000 homeowner's deductible. That would be an enormous savings to all of us when the next hurricane arrives, and it will.
Otherwise, the financial impact to all of us could be more traumatic than the property damage itself. So do yourself a very big favor and talk to your insurance agent for clarification on how this affects you, and then contact your state representatives and ask them to go to work for you on this.
Charles Funk, Mount Sinai
Editor's note: The writer owns an insurance agency in Centereach.
As New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said, we are New Yorkers and we all will get through this. He is right, we New Yorkers are a tough and tenacious lot. Most of us did what we were told to do and followed instructions, and by doing so were prepared and did work together to get through this disaster.
In the aftermath, a lot of us lost power, trees were down and there was much flooding. But the bottom line is we did get through this and did survive because most of us worked together and showed concern for others.
My wife called a few neighbors to see if they needed anything; one of our elderly neighbors is over 85 years old. I have to believe many others did the same with their elderly neighbors.
The plans that Bloomberg, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Jay Walder and the city's Office of Emergency Management put together in advance, I believe, saved lives.
I also would like to commend the smart ones who lived in low-lying areas who went to shelters; they did the right thing. This took them out of a potentially dangerous situation.
"Good night, Irene." We were prepared for you.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Glen Oaks Village
While Irene did not cause the catastrophic flooding of lower Manhattan or the city's subway tunnel system that was originally feared, she still caused plenty of damage. Hundreds of trees were uprooted, falling on cars, power lines and homes.
The hurricane knocked out power to about 1 million homes and businesses throughout the tristate region. She caused a lot of coastal flooding and some beach erosion. It could have been much worse.
We should not be lulled into thinking that the next storm will be of the same strength. The 1938 hurricane that ravaged Long Island was a Category 3 storm. It is still possible for a storm of that magnitude to strike this area. Perhaps Irene was a good practice run for our area.
Kudos to all of our local government officials for ordering the necessary evacuations, and a special thanks to all of the emergency planners and local police, fire and emergency medical personnel, as well as the volunteers at evacuation shelters.
John Amato, Fresh Meadows
While the media and politicians get ready to congratulate New Yorkers on their actions during the hurricane, let me tell you what really went on.
During rush hour Friday night, cars blocked gas stations and entrances to grocery stores while people topped off gas tanks and grabbed enough food for three weeks.
On Saturday at 7 a.m., my usual food shopping time, the grocery store's shelves were empty. There were hundreds of people I never usually see, and all the shopping carts were in use. A woman was buying four gallons of milk, which would surely spoil if the electricity failed.
Please don't let me see stories on how wonderful we were.
Neil Goldman, Woodhaven